Shadow Empire

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a game by VR Designs
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: RPGs, Simulator Games, Strategy
Shadow Empire
Shadow Empire
Shadow Empire
Shadow Empire

If you’re the type of player that’s on the lookout for a lax, pick-up-and-go experience in the RPG and 4X genres, then keep on looking because Shadow Empire from VR Designs is probably not the game for you. It may seem harsh to start off this way, but my reasoning behind this lies in the fact that Shadow Empire is deeply thought-out, challenging to play as a beginner, but wildly addictive nonetheless. Calling back heavily to the golden age of 4X strategy games, this title is teeming with life as you assume control as the ‘supreme leader’ of a small empire faced with endless life or death decisions and constantly at risk of losing the support of your own people.

Recover from Civil War

Shadow Empire is set 6000 years in the future, right after the events of a merciless civil war have ravaged a once great galactic empire. Its now up to you and your advisors to rebuild civilization to the best of your abilities by utilizing your military might to defend against raiders or rival empires, exploiting the planet for valuable resources, and keeping the peace amongst your people by managing conflicts and keeping them well fed. This game achieves the merciless (read: lacking in-depth tutorial), nostalgic feel of 90’s strategy games like Rimworld and combining the creativity of Warhammer.

Establishing Your World

Before you are thrust into the hotseat of your supreme leadership, there are several choices you are given right at the start. There are 9 classes of planets to choose from, a myriad of generation settings regarding the planet, planetology, geology, the biosphere, colonization, and the apocalypse scenario your people have survived. Even just listing all those causes a bit of exhaustion, but each option will have diverse impacts on how you expand and survive in the wastes of your planet. Additionally, you will get to craft the history of your people which will grant you certain bonuses depending on your decisions. All this completed, you are dropped into the action awaiting your commands.

Commanding an Empire

This is where things may begin to get complicated, at least for me since I am not a seasoned 4X veteran. You now have access to every mechanic that Shadow Empire has to offer with little explanation of how to best utilize them. Though this is not inherently a bad thing, it leaves a guy like me with more confusion than anything, but it sates a major appetite for immersive gameplay.

Along with following (or ignoring) the suggestions of your advisors, you will also be expected to keep an eye on the happiness of your people/military, tracking the movements of rival empires and crime syndicates within your own cities, and procuring resources by mining, exploring ancient ruins, or pillaging enemies to prevent societal collapse.


Likewise, logistics are incredibly important when it comes to maintaining your empire – failure to do so has dire consequences. If you can keep things peaceful on the home front, expanding using your military might, including a staggering 30 different unit types, will be your next steps to securing the planet for yourself and achieving victory in this post-apocalyptic hellscape.


  • Complete control over the action, hundreds of mechanics to learn
  • Strong RPG elements allowing for infinite replayability
  • Each decision counts; everything is connected and will have consequences
  • Story is rich – always watch your back, even with your advisors
  • Dev team is dedicated to fixing bugs


  • True original 4X strategy with little description of mechanics
  • A HUGE chunk of your time will be spent reading manuals how to play
  • UI can be intrusive, likewise graphics are outpaced by other games in genre
  • Challenge is good, but even AI on Regular difficulty are unforgiving – be prepared
  • Some mechanics are never introduced to the player, but have profound effects on progression
  • Slow burn gameplay; extensive match times

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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