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4X Pax Nova - new space 4X with hex ground maps

Hellraiser

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https://www.iceberg-games.com/pax-nova/









Apparently it is coming to early access next week on the 9th of May.

So after years somebody is actually trying to again marry Civ style surface maps with space 4X. Or to put it bluntly a 4X games that might have actual ground combat that does not suck and more involved city/resource management after hitting the colonize button, avoiding the one planet one city cliche. Those happen to be my biggest gripes with space 4X games.

In general it looks like Civ V style combat for both space and ground, the question is if has one unit per tile or not. Would be particularly terrible if it does have 1 unit per tile for spaceships in space.

3-8 colonizable planets per system and 20 systems per game as a "standard" map size. Planet surface maps have about 3k hexes (~55 rows and columns if represented as a rectangular map). Supposedly the typical empire size when winning the game is about 10 cities across 3-4 planets. Of course that is the experience of the game designers/testers.

This has potential even if modders will have to fix it. Could end up being a decent multiplayer title. The developers track record so far is barely inspiring but they do have some good ideas so who knows. The bar for a good modern space 4X has been set pretty low for years anyway.
 
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Hellraiser

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Nobody interested in this game? Looks neat.

Biggest problem: I already have Endless Space 2.
The game is currently not priced too badly at €21.99 on steam so I might get it anyway.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/804850/Pax_Nova/

The game has a ton of things missing and the devs could not be arsed to post the roadmap, despite promising it "next week" when the game was released in early access (first week of May). I would call that a red flag given the developers' track record with 2-3 (depending how/who you count) abandoned 4X games under their belt.

Some examples:

No ranged units in a game with one unit per tile (CiV at least had aircraft and other indirect fire). Current metagame is just build the tankiest unit with the most HP and a healing ability (it costs essence or whatever per use, later on you have a ton of it anyway as combat grants it and some tiles). It helps that unit experience increase unit health substantially.

No proper air units. Ships can land, move and fight on planetary surfaces but they are effectively expensive amphibious land units. By which I mean they cannot fly over mountains.

Speaking of which the game has no naval units proper while there are oceans. It just has embarking.

RNG seems to have issues spawning colonizable planets.

By the time you get into space you will most likely steamroll all local opposition and there is no reason to go there. All biomes spawn the same resources so the starting planet biome does not matter. Space itself has no resources.

No way to transport ground troops to other planets. Apparently the correct way to invade is to either do it with ships going to the sruface (expensive) or by setting up an outpost on the world you invade with a dedicated invasion ship (a base that can build units, slower than a city with a military district but can also hurry with cash)

The blur is hard on the eyes.

It does do some things well:

seals are an interesting mechanic (gaining a factions unique bonus by diplomacy or conquest, doubles as a victory condition).

You can only swap government types if you have enough affinity points - liberty for demokwacy, pragmatism for some corporate government. You get the affinity by quest decisions and passing applicable edicts.

"Unity" is mana used for either diplomacy or edicts.

I like the city development system. It feels like I am really making meaningful choices and pop-growth is not piss easy.

Each race has multiple factions with different ideologies. There are also two alien corporate factions, one specilizing in commerce the other in industry. Some factions might seem derpy (Tibethan Space Monks?) but they are less bland and uninspired than Civ: Beyond Earth or other current year game design nonsence. Eastern Europe gets a whole faction of rough partisant types :obviously:

One human faction is a thinly-veiled Illuminati order complete with XVIIIth century secret society origins :M
 
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Beastro

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In general it looks like Civ V style combat for both space and ground, the question is if has one unit per tile or not. Would be particularly terrible if it does have 1 unit per tile for spaceships in space.

I really wish someone would resurrect Birth of the Federations combat system.

BotF was far from a perfect game, it had a lot of bad (awful AI being the worst), tedious and poorly thought out things, but what it did well was what made me come back to it. Combat was quick, fun, could be quite tense and allowed player involvement that, while it might now many battles auto-resolve couldn't win, it allowed you to effect the outcome to at least minimize your losses or maximize the enemies as you played a war of attrition, all while staying in a simple rock paper scissors framework (Your choices of attack were RPS, not the ships themselves. This allowed you to punch above your weight if you countered correctly or did things unconventional like I did, like make kamikaze task forces of cloaked scouts to deliberately target and knock out vital enemy ships like troop transports or capital ships to effect the strategic landscape of the war being fought).
 

Riso

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Shame the game isn't what I hoped it would be (yet).
Thanks, I will stay away for now.
 

Hellraiser

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They want to release the final version in Fall. Want to bet this will slip to Q1 2020 at least?

Oh look, it slipped to Q2 2020.

So, anyone played that?

I'll give it a spin and see if they managed to improve it or not. But if the game still doesn't have units that can do indirect fire/ranged attacks, then it is objectively shit. That feature is not rocket science as far as including it in a game is concerned.

EDIT: Seems they did add ranged attacks.
 
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i gave this a... try. it gathers many of the best ideas of the latest years and completely forgets an usable interface. i mean, there's no visual indication of your income, you have to move the mouse on your total money and wait for the bottom of the tooltip to check.
the game is littered everywhere with such idiotic ideas (as in "no focus on a city which just finished its build queue" idiotic), anything good it might have to offer goes completely squandered.
 

Hellraiser

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i gave this a... try. it gathers many of the best ideas of the latest years and completely forgets an usable interface. i mean, there's no visual indication of your income, you have to move the mouse on your total money and wait for the bottom of the tooltip to check.
the game is littered everywhere with such idiotic ideas (as in "no focus on a city which just finished its build queue" idiotic), anything good it might have to offer goes completely squandered.

The UI is indeed idiotic. Want to skip turn with a unit? Press k, not space like in civ.

Want to exist the tech screen? Escape doesn't work, gotta click on that cross in the top right. And it is not even in a box or circle so that you know where the collision area is.

Also it has the same problem as Civ: Beyond Earth, almost fucking nothing happens in the first 100 turns. To fix the "spam a million cities on the starting planet" problem which made colonizing or conquering other planets meaningless, they just capped cities per planet. You can increase the limit with tech (it starts at 2), but meh. This further adds to the first 100 turns problem, since the era system means you cannot just beeline to spaceships and need to first research 10 other techs IIRC before you can research the 2nd era upgrade.

Personally soon after I launched the first ship I decided I rather play Arcanum and throw molotov cocktails or grenades at enemies at point blank range, rather than finish and see how 1.0 looks like.

The game is extremely not challenging. In Civ you at least get raped by barbarians if you get careless or the AI murders you.
 
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Hellraiser

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Oh and forgot to add what really pissed me off about skipping turn with units, as it wasn't just the "k" key. It doesn't automatically cycle to the next one, so you can by accident end up cancelling your skip turn order for the unit. You need to click on some icon (or maybe press some obscure key) to go to the next unit without an order.
 

Jeskis

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I have had this on my wishlist for ages, should I dump it at last?
 

Hellraiser

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I have had this on my wishlist for ages, should I dump it at last?
I'll say it like this, it cured me of thinking that a 4X where you can do hex-based ground combat, exploration and empire development across multiple planets would be a great idea.

In any case I couldn't be bothered to give it another shot ever since that post I wrote 3 and a half years ago and I have a high tolerance for jank/flaws as long as a game has anything at all I find rewarding. This game seemed to lack it. I wouldn't bother with it.
 
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I'll say it like this, it cured me of thinking that a 4X where you can do hex-based ground combat, exploration and empire development across multiple planets would be a great idea.
Sounds like a great idea to me, just not done well here, no?

Also been a while, might be worth for someone to check it out, heh
 

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