Is IXION, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
IXION is a good game, but it could have been so much more if the developers had focused on accessibility instead of artificial difficulty.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Management
Developer: Bulwark Studios
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 7 December 2022
Supported Modes:

Artificial Difficulty.

For those unaware of the meaning of the term artificial difficulty, it can best be explained as the method used by some developers to make a game last longer without incorporating new mechanics to sustain it.

A perfect example of this can be found in many strategy games where making progress is punished by a wholly unrealistic debuff, such as villagers requiring an extra unit of good per villager once the amount of total villagers exceeds a certain number.


If a player has 100 villagers, each villager consumes one unit of firewood and one unit of food per day for a total of 100 wood and 100 food per day, however upon reaching 101 villagers, each villager now consumes two units of wood and two units of food per day for a total of 202 wood and 202 food.

Changes such as this are not grounded in any real-world logistics; the presence of extra villagers would in no way necessitates that each villager now eats twice as much per day, similar to how many games have morale dropping once the population reaches a certain level.

Can you imagine any real-world scenario where the entire village (well fed and provisioned) becomes catatonically depressed due to a new person moving in or being born?

Mechanics such as these serve exactly one purpose: to slow down player progress and make a game feel more challenging without the developers needing to invest in more challenging content.

Unfortunately, IXION is a perfect example of artificial difficulty in action, with worker morale being heavily affected by various conflicting variables; most noticeably, workers are unhappy if follower survivors remain in cryogenic pods and equally unhappy when they are thawed out and join the workforce.

Another example of this is the hull integrity of the player ship degrading rapidly if the workers are unhappy; while I can understand unhappy workers may not work as hard as happy ones, no one wants to die a cruel death in the vacuum of space, and why exactly a spacecraft is in constant need of hull repairs while remaining in orbit of the earth I have no idea.

When combined with excessive micromanagement and unbalanced requirements to progress, IXION feels like a game that punishes a player for advancing instead of rewarding a player for overcoming obstacles.

This has led to an unfortunate exodus of players, with roughly 95% of the player base quitting in just a few months, with many people stating that “IXION is too difficult to be fun” and that it “punishes player progression”.

I usually find such statements to be hyperbolic, but my findings have reached a similar conclusion, IXION is a game that places (artificial) difficulty ahead of player enjoyment, and as a result, it makes it very difficult for me to recommend IXION to anyone when there are so many better balanced and more rewarding on the market.

In some cases, the infrastructure required to support certain buildings is greater than the maximum possible output of said building, resulting in it running at a  (resource) loss until late in the game.

A prime example of this is the steel mill, which requires a large amount of power and 30 workers, despite not producing enough alloy to cover the additional hull degradation caused by the presence of its crew and the buildings and workers required to support them until multiple advancements have been researched in half a dozen categories.


Workplace Accidents.

While accidents can happen in even the most safety-conscious work environment, the rate at which they occur in IXION is alarming, with accidents occurring multiple times per day in sectors with optimal working environments and more frequently fatal accidents in overworked sectors, with some players reporting as many as 16 deaths per day in sectors where every safety precaution has been accounted for.

While I understand the developers did this to guard against overpopulation, there is no reason any workplace should encounter such a high rate of accidents, especially one staffed by colonists supposedly hand-picked to continue the human race.


Slow Research.

IXION has one of the slowest research systems I have seen in any game, with even relatively simple advancements such as an insect farm appearing to baffle scientists on a space-faring intergalactic colony vessel, with players being forced to salvage various ruined planetary bases for research if they wish to proceed due to the abysmally low base rate of 1 research point per in-game month (30 cycles), requiring players who do not have access to further events to spend upwards of five hours real time to research even the most rudimentary advancements.

While further advancements in tech make this more manageable in the mid-late game, an equal increase in the amount of research required for each advancement nullifies any perceived gains.


Micro Mangement Busywork.

IXION requires players to manage a wide variety of raw and processed materials, and that is exactly what is to be expected of a game in this genre; unfortunately, IXION also requires players (at least initially) to maintain separate stockpiles of these resources and the buildings required to store (and sometimes produce them) in each sector.

Because of this, players need to manage not one single unit but five distinct microcolonies, resulting in sectors requiring pixel-perfect placement of structures to ensure that basic needs are being met.

This forces players to overanalyse decisions and create a complicated, finely-tuned resource and personal transfers between sectors. Allowing players to have dedicated residential and industrial sectors would have been more realistic and less confusing.

This extends to all areas of the game, where even simple tasks such as scanning for resources require players manually send out dozens, if not hundreds, of probes while relying on a barely functional and poorly designed UI that requires players to keep their eyes focused on both sides of the screen at once.


No Longer Fun.

I enjoy challenging games, and yet IXION has found a way to turn challenging into mentally exhausting monotony, and I find IXION more mentally exhausting than anything else, with no payoff beyond facing increasingly artificially difficult challenges; I have no motivation to continue playing IXION and looking at the massive drop off in players, It’s clear I am not the only one that feels that way.

Narrative Excellence.

IXION’s narrative is surprisingly good, and honestly, I feel disappointed that it is locked away behind such tedious gameplay mechanics.

Players are rarely treated to a “lost in time and space narrative”, and I would have loved to have been able to enjoy it.



IXION is a management video game developed by Bulwark Studios and published by Kasedo Games, it was released on 7 December 2022 and retails for $34.99.

Platform Availability.

IXION is available exclusively on PC.

How Long Does IXION Take to Complete?

On average IXION takes between 50 and 100 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 50 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 50 Hours.
  • Completionist: 100 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

IXION is unrated and contains no mature content.

Final Verdict.

IXION is too difficult to be fun, and while some people will still enjoy it, some people also enjoy doing spreadsheets. The average gamer will find it difficult to engage with IXION due to its over-reliance on artificial difficulty and unbalanced gameplay mechanics.

Is IXION Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "IXION" a rating of 4/10, which means that it has some small redemptive value, but we cannot recommend it as we feel it is not worth playing for the average gamer.

You Might Be Interested In: