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Play OverviewPlay Overview

X4: Foundations (2018) is a space adventure where every element, from planets to ships to finance, is simulated to create a living universe where actions breed deep consequences. Play is varied; you can fly every ship, explore anywhere, trade, build a space station or manage an empire. Other games make similar claims, but this is a long way from a web of pre-determined paths, this simulation stands out for how your actions impact far and wide.

It's a game made up of thousands of ships and stations trading, mining and producing, all realistically simulated on your computer. Because everything is really happening in the universe you can grow from a lone fighter pilot to managing a vast empire with a fleet to command and space stations to design.

When you begin you have your character with their own role, relationships and ship technologies. You can seamlessly explore everything from the planet to outer space. Focus on exploration, make money with illegal trading and theft, command large battle fleets or become the greatest entrepreneur ever. It's all up to you to decide.

As you progress the open-ness of the game starts to hit. Perhaps you have had enough of flying your ship. You can leave, climb down a ladder, walk over the dock of a large space station into another ship you may have parked there and replace the pilot that was working for you just by clicking on his chair.

Because finances are simulated along with everything else, you can leverage the economy of computer characters to turn a profit. Once you have traded (or stolen) enough money you can establish your own economy to wield wider influence. You can drag and connect different modules to make your own base. At the same time though, other races and factions are also building and expanding their empires based on supply and demand. Influence this in the right way and you can tip things in your direction. Get it wrong and you can find enemy factions suddenly got more powerful.

The result looks like many other space-based video games - but is actually very different. Other games offer choice and consequence through interweaving missions and stories, but they rarely simulate the actual impact you are having on the world around you. X4: Foundations, building on the previous games in the series, offers adventures that emerge from dynamic systems. It sounds complicated, but it boils down to a game where anything is possible and outcomes often surprise the developers as much as the players.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked X4: Foundations 8 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 4 months ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to X4: Foundations. Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is an Action, Simulation and Strategy game with Adventure, Collecting, Sequencing, Shooting, Traversal and World Building elements. This is a single-player game.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: This game will take between 42 hours and 47 hours to complete. Because the game is different on each play-through many people spend hundreds of hours with the game.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 7 for implied violence to humans and pictures likely to be scary to younger children. When a spacecraft is hit there is a flash of light, followed by an explosion. No characters are shown being injured or killed. Any violence to characters is therefore only implied. The overall tone of the game is quite dark, with ominous music, and some of the alien characters could be scary to young children.

Skill Level

12+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although younger players could engage with the game, to progress you need to be intentional in how you play. Understanding multiple systems and the consequences of economic decisions, as well as being good at shooting, all help enjoy the game.


X4: Foundations usually costs £39.99.

X4: Foundations

Steam Store PC £39.99
App Store Mac -
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
You can buy additional content that provides new ships, locations and storylines.
  • X4: Kingdom End
  • X4: Tides of Avarice
  • X4: Cradle of Humanity
  • X4: Split Vendetta
  • X4: Foundations Collector's Edition - Extra Content
  • X4: Community of Planets Collector's Edition - Bonus Content 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 30/11/2018

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Action, Simulation, Strategy (Adventure, Collecting, Sequencing, Shooting, Traversal and World Building)

Accessibility: 28 features

Components: 3D First-Person

Developer: Egosoft (@Egosoft)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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