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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Stellaris (2016) is a strategy game where you play a space-faring empire seeking to expand your territory. It offers complete customisation of your civilisation, with different sets of ethics and morals to choose from that change how you play, from limiting your interaction with robots to being unable to restrict their use and more. This freedom to choose how you play extends to the expansion of your dynasty, where you can befriend or enslave competing civilisations. It's a unique game that puts you and your choices at the forefront, to offer countless winning strategies.

You can pick a starting species, or create your own from scratch. You pick positive and negative traits for your species to possess, that affect everything from fighting to diplomacy. You then choose the ethics and guiding principles that govern your new empire. Each principle grants you certain enhancements, but also restricts how you play. A spiritualist empire, for example, can't use robots. You can also pick the origin of your empire, be it a fractured people's desperate escape from a dying world or a powerful dynasty built on slaves.

Play starts on a single world with a few resources and ships, but soon expands into the galaxy. Your final goals is dependent on your principles and ethics, be it peaceful coexistence with neighbouring systems, total domination or a small but wealthy colony bursting with resources.

As you progress, you fight other worlds in real-time combat, where the focus is on the bigger picture rather than individual ships. Each opponent requires a different strategy, or possible a diplomatic solution. Finding ways to share power and resources with the other planets and civilisations is a great benefit. But don't forget to look after your current worlds, assigning governors, collecting tributes and more.

It's an incredibly deep and complex game, where the power is in your hands to forge a story of your own making; be it one of total domination or simple living.

Our examiner, Ben Kendall, first checked Stellaris 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 15 months ago.
There are lots of games similar to Stellaris. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Collecting and Strategy game with Action, Communication, Fighting, Role-Play and Shooting elements. You can play this by yourself or as a 32-player online game. You can set up a multiplayer game, where you give out a password to other players you want to join, and can either work together co-operatively or fight as bitter enemies.

Cross-Platform: Play between Mac and PC

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: This game will take between 40 hours and 300 hours to complete. Given its open-ended nature, you can play the game for as long as you want, constantly expanding your empire, and spend many hours at a time playing.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 7 for Violence. When space battles are being waged, you can see the violence in real-time. You can manoeuvre your ships, position them in different formations etc. The ships fire automatically at their targets. Weapons can variate from lasers and missiles to bombs. Once the targets are destroyed, they explode and disappear. You can also bomb/invade a planet to remove the species living there. You can call up an overview to see the statistics of your forces and the enemy. No casualties are seen. The word “d*mn” is used a few times in certain text bubbles.
User-Generated Content: This game includes content created by other players, such as maps, outfits and items, that are not reflected in the game rating.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

Account Rating

  • You need be 18-years-old to to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold for online play, but can then configure family accounts for younger players to play online with Xbox One.
  • You need be 18-years-old to subscribe to PlayStation Plus for online play, but can create sub-accounts for younger players of 7-years or older to play online with PlayStation 4.


Stellaris usually costs £34.99.


Steam Store PC £34.99
Steam Store Mac £34.99
XBox Store PC Free Free

Xbox Game Pass

XBox Store Xbox One -
PlayStation Store PS4 -
There are the following additional costs associated with this game:
  • In-Game Purchases: Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.
  • You need a subscription to play online:
    • You need to purchase a PlayStation Plus subscription to play online with PlayStation 4.
    • You need to purchase a Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online with Xbox One.
There have been several expansion packs to the game which have added more content and ways to play.

On consoles, there is also the choice between the Deluxe and Standard Editions, the difference being that the Deluxe Edition comes with 3 of these packs (Plantoids Species Pack, Leviathans Story Pack, and Utopia expansion) pre-installed, but you can still buy them even if you get the Standard Edition. 
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DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 09/05/2016, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Players: 1 (32 online)

Genres: Collecting, Strategy (Action, Communication, Fighting, Role-Play and Shooting)

Accessibility: 24 features

Components: 2D Side-On and Grid

Developer: Pdx Interactive (@PdxInteractive)

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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