If you’ve ever wanted to live atop a giant space whale (and who hasn’t), Beyond These Stars is here to fulfil that fantasy. The new Steam city building game from indie strategy publisher Hooded Horse and developer Balancing Monkey Games promises a galaxy-spanning adventure as you ride the colossal cetacean across the stars in search of new planets packed with resources, alien life, and adventure.
Taking charge of a species called the Peeps, you’ll have to build not only your city atop Kewa, the giant, sentient space whale in question, but also your relationship with Kewa itself. As a living creature, you’ll have to make sure it’s as happy as the rest of your population. While you can opt to exploit Kewa’s resources or try to force the creature into going where you want, a more mutually beneficial relationship might be the smarter approach.
The city building itself takes place on a top-down hex grid that will be very familiar to strategy game and 4X fans. You can reshape the land and place down structures to build out your settlement, though that won’t be enough to establish a thriving civilization alone. As you journey, you’ll also be able to set up outposts on other planets you visit, and you’ll meet other creatures along your travels that can be interacted with in a variety of ways.
While the focus is on city building – managing resources, designing your settlement layouts, and so on – you’ll also have to deal with other factors such as the relationships between the Peeps and Kewa. You’ll want to keep sustainability in mind, along with potential problems such as pollution. There’s also seasonal hazards to contend with – as Kewa soars across the stars, its proximity to suns will cause fluctuations in the environment and weather.
It’s all looking rather spectacular so far, with a clean artstyle that allows for shifts between the close-up view of your civilization’s spreading structures and the wide shots of Kewa in space. This is complemented by some lovely artwork for some of the alien species you’ll come across as you expand, which can be seen in the announcement trailer above. We’re certainly excited to get hands-on for ourselves and make Kewa our happy home.
If you just can’t get enough exploring, expanding, exploiting, and exterminating, we’ve got more of the best 4X games on PC in 2023. Civ 6 DLC Rulers of the Sahara is the latest update to one of the best of the genre, and we’ve got plenty more great space games if you fancy a wider look at some PC favourites among the stars.