Master of Orion and the Case for Simple 4X Games

The 4X genre has grown into a complex arrangement of microsystems and micromanagement, and more simple 4X strategy games could be what the genre needs to push forward.

For the most part, an overwhelming majority of old school 4X fans want to see more complex and harder to understand systems. They want to be forced to think constantly, to strategize, and to completely bury themselves in the micromanagement of their empires. However, not every 4X game released needs to be a new Civilization or Stellaris.

The simplistic approach to many of Master of Orion’s systems are what make it such a strong contender in the 4X arena. Additionally, while it may not be as complex or driving as Stellaris, it offers a great way to relax while and enjoy the depth of a challenging strategy game without all the extra headache.

There is a lot to be said for simplistic games that allow you to play them with your brain cut off. This is part of what makes social games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and even Farmville so popular among online users. The innate ability to simply login, play for a while, and then walk away is tempting, and offers a great way to immerse yourself in a game or two while you can. In fact, this is one reason fans have flocked to Master of Orion the way that they have.

Not only is it a more simplistic approach to the 4X genre, but it also offers that feeling of ‘just one more turn’ that 4X games have become so well known for. This is a feeling that many other genres of games have failed to really attach to, and is part of what makes 4X games so popular among gamers.

But how can a simple game like Master of Orion stand up to some of the more complex titles in the genre? The short answer is it can’t; at least, not in the same fashion. You see, Master of Orion is a completely different breed of 4X and is meant to give players a stepping stone into the genre. It allows people to come home from a long day at work, load up the beautifully detailed and lore-filled world, and conquer the galaxy.

The beautiful visuals, interesting characters, and simple strategic gameplay allow you to just sink into your chair and forget about your troubles for a little while without requiring you to watch forty minutes of tutorial videos just to survive the first 30 turns.

More simplistic 4X games like Master of Orion may not be exactly what everyone wants. Nevertheless, in a genre that relies far too heavily on vague game mechanics and overly complex microsystems, Master of Orion is a welcome jaunt through a less than serious world that still allows users to dive into the goodness of a 4X title without all the extra headache. It’s a huge plus in our book, and we’d love to see more 4X games embracing the simplistic approach that lets you sit back and enjoy the beauty of 4X strategy without all the complex microsystems that make things in the genre feel so crowded.