Should I buy Dyson Sphere Program? A review from a Stellaris Fan

stellaris 1 - Should I buy Dyson Sphere Program? A review from a Stellaris Fan

Greetings fellow Gas Giants and Xenos,

Over the weekend, Steam's recommendation queue hit me with a new game called Dyson Sphere Program. Perhaps you've seen it. I was impressed by the 'Overwhelmingly Positive' review score (97% at the time), and decided to drop $20 on the Early Access game. Since then, I've logged over 30 hours in the game. These are my impressions, I hope this is useful to anyone who was considering doing similar. I am posting this here because Stellaris and Dyson Sphere Program share many similarities.

By way of background: I picked up Stellaris back in 2016, have purchased every expansion and content pack, and have played >1300 hours in Stellaris. It is hands down one of my favorite games of all time.

Dyson Sphere Program shares a space theme with Stellaris, and similarly is a story of going from a sub-Type 1 Civilization to a Type 2 Civilization, and beyond. THe end goal is to build a megastructure, specifically a Dyson Sphere. The scale is more limited: You are a robot tasked with building a dyson sphere for your creators (perhaps humans?) to provide energy to the homeworld. You are plopped in a sector of up to 64 stars connected by warp lanes. You start by manually mining resources, then building extractors, conveyerbelts, and supply lines. Your supply lines must scale massively and get more and more complex to accomplish your end goal.

The game has been described as Factorio gameplay meets Planetary Annihilation art, and I would add that some of the scenes you end up creating look like they are straight out of Homeworld. Imagine a partially constructed dyson sphere, with rockets and solar sails flying towards it from various planets, each buzzing with activity and ships travelling between them. It's beautiful. There are a number of screenshots over at dysonsphereprogram.


What impresses me most is the scale and polish of the game. This is an Early Access title developed by a 5-person team in China, yet the game is remarkably well polished– I haven't encountered any gameplay altering bugs yet. The game has helpful recipe guides and an in-game encyclopedia to explain the role of each item you build, although they do use a bit of broken English in the present version.

But the SCALE of this game is just insane. I've seen others complete one run of this game in ~200 hours, and I imagine it will take me a bit longer. It's hard to judge how close you are getting to completion, but the easiest mechanic I have to track this would be what type of research cubes you are using. To do research, The game has you build 6 different research cubes, which are represented by colored glowing tesseracts and are called Matrix cubes:

  1. Electromagnetic Matrix (Blue)
  2. Energy Matrix (Red)
  3. Structure Matrix (Yellow)
  4. Information Matrix (Purple)
  5. Gravity Matrix (Green)
  6. Universe Matrix (White)

In 30+ hours, I've just now gotten production of #3 scaled enough to slowly progress on more research. I haven't unlocked #4 or above, and each one seems more involved than the one before.

And again, this is an early access game. In the present build, you and your buildings are indestructible, there is just building, and no combat at present– although the developer notes have indicated combat is part of the 1.0 roadmap. And honestly, I'm not sure I want combat– so it will be interesting to see how the game evolves if that happens. But as is, this is an amazing game with a lot of depth and promise. If you're interested, I'd give it serious consideration– It was $20 well spent in my book.

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