Further Expansion: Distant Worlds – Legends

Maybe they're just very small worlds

I conceal my love for Distant Worlds quite well by never actually mentioning the game but I do love it, very much. If I actually owned a physical copy rather than a digital download, I’d probably give it a hug occasionally. Now, the gigantically scaled but manageable space strategy behemoth has received a second expansion pack, following last year’s Return of the Shakturi. The core appeal of the game is its representation of a living universe, with the masses of information made vibrant by effective visuals and customisable automation levels. It’s easy to build an empire and then sit back and watch it function in meticulous detail. The Legends expansion should add to that appeal. Details below.

Although it does add new events and technologies, the bulk of the expansion appears to be the addition of characters, from leaders down to individual scientists. These characters have abilities and traits, as well as the potential to change over time. It sounds a little like Crusader Kings in space, with a bit more personality being thrown into the strategy. It also sounds like the perfect excuse to head back to far away stars and conquer them anew.

The price is a rather steep £13.99 and you will need the base game and Return of the Shakturi to play. Buy both expansions to make a saving. There’s a holiday sale at Matrix Games, so Distant Worlds itself is only £18.99 at the moment.

Looking forward to seeing how much fun these additions are.


  1. Vinraith says:

    I’ll hug my boxed copy for you, Adam.

    I’m very pleased to see this get a front page mention. Distant Worlds is very cool and wholly unique, very much the kind of indie project that deserves more exposure than it gets. That they’re actually putting out honest-to-god-full-sized-expansions is just one more indicator that Code Force are the good guys.

    Anyway, buying right now.

    • LintMan says:

      Vinraith, have you gotten SoTS2? I’ve heard it’s in bad shape, but I’m curious of your take on it, since I know you were a big fan or the original.

    • abremms says:

      I’m not Vinraith, but I do own SotS2, so I hope you don’t mind me offering up my answer regarding said game.

      Its geting better every day, It was released early, broken, and incomplete. since its ill-fated release Kerberos has put out 2-3 patches a week and its in a reasonably playable state right now. Next week will be the 4th week since release, supposedly thats thier deadline for turning it into the completed game they wanted to release. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like, I can’t imagine they will have ALL the issues ironed out by then, but they are squishing bugs with impressive speed and determination.

      Its in a playable state right now, but still has a ways to go before I could recomend it. Good news is that there is a really impressive game under the debris, a sort of diamond in the rough that could be truly great if Kerberos keeps working hard at it.

    • Vinraith says:


      I preordered SotS2, on the strength of the original, figuring that for the 500+ hours of entertainment I got from the first one they were welcome to another $40 even if 2 didn’t deliver.

      It was released unfinished, plain and simple, and Kerberos essentially said that they’d have it in more playable, properly complete form by the end of this month. Taking them at their word, I honestly haven’t tried to do much with it. Based on what little I have seen, there’s a genuinely brilliant design underneath the mess, and I’m confident that Kerberos will get that brilliant design to the surface given some time.

      In short, I pretty much agree with abremms. I couldn’t recommend it based on what it is right now, but I’d certainly advise you to keep an eye on it. If Kerberos actually gives it the level of polish it deserves (and I expect they will) it will be one spectacular 4X game.

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      theleif says:

      And I agree with abremms and Vinraith. I’m having some fun with it even in it’s current state, but i wouldn’t recommend someone to buy it now, unless you are truly ready for a very rough gem or if you’re a sucker for 2 free cosmetic DLC:s.
      So there you have it.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      This, unlike Sh.t of the Stars, is actually quite a lovely game. Most especially because you actually get to control your spacecraft and targetting etc.

      And it is just great fun to design your stuff yourself and try and see if you can find that little bit of “cheese” to outdo the AI. You’re not crippled down to dragging sliders from the left to the right and vice versa. There’s actual stuff to do.

      A good 4X game in my opinion, and one of the few ones that are actually fun and sort of addictive.

      I do hope they eventually end up on steam so I can buy the now extended bundle for a fiver. :P

    • LintMan says:

      Thanks for all the replies, guys! I came really close to pre-ordering SOTS2, but was overloaded with games unplayed games I have already purchased. So I was really disappointed to hear about the state of SOTS2’s release. It sounds like they’re progressing, though, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

  2. Richie Shoemaker says:

    It’s a great time to be a 4X fan, to be sure.

  3. frenz0rz says:

    Why have I never heard of this?! I am intrigued!

  4. Dreamhacker says:

    I just wish it was turn-based and not real-time… :(

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s real-time in the same sense as Europa Universalis, very slow and very adjustable. The pacing is very much like a turn-based game, it’s never going to rush you and you can pause at any time. In fact, you could easily play it like a turn-based game (the way many people play EU) by pausing, doing everything you want, running time forward a bit, and repeating.

  5. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Why have I not heard of this? Why was I not notified?

  6. tedesco says:

    Best space 4x game in a (too) long time. :)

  7. LintMan says:

    Sounds cool, but I need them to have a combo pack deal. $56 for the set feels a bit steep and is out of my budget right now in any case.

  8. cptgone says:

    sounds like my kind of game. not my kind of price though.
    i have plenty games as it is, so no worries to me, except for the fact it saddens me somewhat to see all those matrix/slitherine games banned to the ghetto by the self fulfilling prophecy that is “niche games pricing”.

    • Myros says:

      Exactly right. Ive always thought that about matrix pricing models and philosophy. There are about 10 games in their catalogue which I would have purchased if not for the heavy price mark-ups due to them being “niche.”.

      Rubbish I say, stick them on steam at a reasonable price and they would sell at least an extra few thousand copies is my guess.

    • MellowKrogoth says:


  9. grundus says:

    Ok, I’m completely new to whatever game this is… Is it anything like Escape Velocity? In case you don’t know what EV is, it’s a game where you’re given a crappy little shuttle and you have to work your way up (or sideways) through trading, missions, ferrying passengers, courier work, pirating and mining, but it’s all single player. I’ve been dying to find (well, stumble upon whilst not really trying to look for) a game like it that isn’t EVE Online because of the associated subscription fee and the fact that I’d be new and everyone would be like look at my massive fleet and now you’re dead because you were pissing around in a tin can with a gun on it (I presume).

    So, yeah… Or is this just a combat strategy game thing?

    • Zeewolf says:

      It’s a strategy thing. But as far as strategy things go, it’s very, very cool. Sort of a make your own space opera kit.

      Sounds like you’re after something like Space Rangers 2 or maybe SPAZ, though.

    • abremms says:

      I don’t think distant worlds is anything what you describe, its more akin to Galactic Civilizations, Sword of the Stars, or Sins of a Solar Empire. I never played EV,but it sounds fun, not really sure where you’d find a game like that thats is single player only.

      for what its worth, your presumptions of EvE online are kinda wrong. The way EvE is set up, any pilot can succeed at some level regardless of how much skill training they have. even the cheapest frigate can contribute in a gang. 1v1 you’d be at a disadvantage against an experienced pilot in an expensive ship, but honestly if you are fighting 1v1 in eve you are doing it wrong. Its a very social game. i’d recomend getting in there and joining a good player corp, lots of good times there.

    • grundus says:

      That’s the other thing that put me off, it seems like you HAVE to join a group of other players or you’ll just die, but then I guess that’s what real space is like. EVE is a no-go anyway because of the fee, I can never commit myself to one game enough to pay regularly for it which is a shame because I’m pretty sure that once I got the hang of it, I’d get a lot out of that game… Well, no, I would have done a few years ago when I had time to spare, I can’t even play Minecraft any more because I don’t have the time to put into it. Oh and also I didn’t really make it obvious but I meant I’m trying to find an EV-like game that is online OR offline, not just offline.

      Seriously though, if you’ve never played EV you should give it a gentle look, it’s great. I think someone (or someones) modded in Escape Velocity and EV: Override, the two classic Mac-only ones, for EV: Nova which is Mac and PC. It is quite old, but given that I can’t find another game like it, it might be worth checking out all the same.

      In fact I’m going to go and see if I can use my Mac key to workulate it on my PC right now, as if I even still have that email.

    • horsemedic says:

      Escape Velocity was indeed fantastic. One of maybe two or three great Mac-only games I could name offhand (Marathon being one of the others.) It was an RPG in a sense, because despite tons of prewritten missions, you could really become anything you wanted so long as it took place in a spaceship.

      Rent a fleet of cargo ships and become the galaxy’s premiere traveling merchant, then use your profits to buy a battlecruiser and recruit a space navy. It had a flawless faction system that let you join any one of several warring sides, or none of them, or a bit of all of them. You could declare war on any and all star systems by just flying up and shooting things. Shoot down all the system’s defenders, and congratulation, you own a planet. I remember spending years (in-game) preparing for an assault on Earth.

      Graphics ain’t shabby either 15 years on. If it came out today as an indie release (which it was back then) I don’t think you’d know the difference.

      EV :)

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Worth pointing out you need an old version of quicktime installed to get EV:Nova installed and running right. Which you can find at oldversion.com, strangely enough.

    • SpecialCookies says:

      You might like the X series (latest release was “X3 – Terran Conflict”). NAEV is very similar to EV and EV Nova, though last I checked it was rather unfinished (still lovely to play around in, and hey, it’s free). Also look into Evochron, I’ve only played the demo but it seems rather nice and you might be less of a cheapskate than me and fork out the money to buy the full thing. :D

      Space adventure(?) games like these are mostly dead nowadays and have become even more of a niche market than space 4x games. Hope that helps!

  10. Zeewolf says:

    I love Distant Worlds too, it’s dynamic in a way very few strategy games are. I hope they release a Gold version featuring both expansions at some point. It’s a game that many more people should experience.

  11. 2guncohen says:

    Watch out for the modding community ofor Distant Worlds : Its a very active group :p

    • abremms says:

      If I can’t pit a deathstar against a borg cube while a battlestar readies vipers to defend against a daedalus class carrier and its compliment of F-302s, I will be very dissapointed in the above statement :P

      cross-universe fan fiction aside, that is very encouraging.

  12. mcol says:

    The pricing is a disappointingly high bar to entry on this as a newcomer, given the expansions read as though they’re hugely significant improvements to the base game, as well as ‘extra stuff’, making them essential.

    Needs a bundle price, or gold edition.
    For UK it’s currently £53 for everything, at sale prices.

    • armaankhan says:

      Just over CAD$71 for me. It seems like the kind of game I’d love, but the price is too high for me. Too bad there’s no demo available :/

    • Danny252 says:

      What really put me off was the comments on their forums about why there’s no demo. The answer was basically “other games have losts sales due to having a demo, because people said they were crap” – better make sure your demo/game are good, then!

  13. Brian Rubin says:

    I can’t waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait to play this after the holiday. Wheeee!

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    theleif says:

    I’d love to have this, but so far, you can only buy the expansions at the Matrix store. The base game is on Gamersgate as well. With the 1 download policy, unless you pay more that Matrix have i can’t allow myself to buy it digitally from them. I simply don’t trust myself enough. And the boxed version is to expensive for me with the shipping fee to Sweden.

    • Vinraith says:

      Just burn the installer to disc, along with a text file containing the key.

    • Premium User Badge

      theleif says:

      I’m just not organized enough for that to work for me. Basically the only thing I manage to keep in order in my life are my computer, my boxed games and my board game collection. Zip lock ftw.

    • Iain at Slitherine says:

      One thing I wanted to clarify. We do not have a 1 download policy. You can download as many times as you like forever. We also do not use DRM so just use the serial number to install on your PC, laptop or whatever. You can reinstall as many times as you like if your PC dies or you upgrade it etc. The system is still under construction so some users have to mail us to reactivate download links but there is no charge for extended downloads. You can always re-download your games purchased direct from us.

  15. Arona Daal says:

    Distant Worlds has some interesting gameplay mechanics,for one population growth and emigration is quite slow and colonies take a long time to get really going,so a rapid expansion is not that useful population/tax wise.
    On the other hand raw Materials are essential and a whole independant economy is simulated with highly variable prices for minerals/gases/metals and soon.
    Unlike most 4x,where expansion and tech is usually important factor, this also puts an emphasis on balanced *economic* expansion.
    I had,for example, a few games where i could beat the AI ,which was several times ahead of me in tech and size,by raiding specifically the mines producing a rare mineral he needed to produce his high tech components,therefore skyrocketing his production and maintenance prices.
    I lost 10 ships for killing one of his,but could produce them at much lower costs, as my low tech ships were *designed* to take advantage of the market prices of the available raw materials in my Empire.

    Of course it has all the other stuff like Pirates,Space Monsters,Abandoned Starbases,Space graveyards,Dearhstars and so forth.

    Beside being Singleplayer only, the only bad thing about DW is that planetary invasions are way to efficient.
    Theres no rebellion/Resistance,hardly production loss,no lengthy sieges,Planets just change the owner.
    This coupled with the fact that even midgame about 2/3 of Tax is produced by the Homeworld,makes AI Empires very easy to defeat by simply ignoring outlying colonies and blitzing their Homeworld thereby breaking their financial Backbone.

    Nonetheless, a good and unique 4x.

    Just dont try to micromanage everything,you will go insane.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      That you could micromanage everything was what made my OCD control freak obsessiveness enjoy it all the more.

  16. MadMatty says:

    Thx Arona, was wondering how this compared to Star Ruler

  17. Dariune says:

    This has been my fave 4x in the last 5 years i reckon.

    Gonna get Legends ASAP!

  18. adamsolo says:

    Hi guys, my first post here. I’m a space strategy games enthusiast and critic also (I run a blog about space strategy games). In my opinion Distant Worlds w/ the Return of the Shakturi expansion is one of the best 4X space strategy games of all time (and most probably the best recent experience).

    I wrote of Distant Worlds Legends preview on my blog in case you want a bit more info. No review yet sorry. There’s no such thing as quick reviews in Distant Worlds ;)