Geneforge is an Indie fantasy role-playing game, the first game in the five-part Geneforge Saga. It features an enormous world, the ability to create your own army of lethal, totally obedient creatures, and a cunning enemy AI with foes who can go on patrols, stalk you, and run for help. Geneforge has a huge and open storyline.
User reviews:
Very Positive (194 reviews) - 95% of the 194 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 1, 2001

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Packages that include this game

Buy Geneforge Saga

Includes 5 items: Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow


About This Game

Geneforge is an Indie fantasy role-playing game, the first game in the five-part Geneforge Saga. It features an enormous world, the ability to create your own army of lethal, totally obedient creatures, and a cunning enemy AI with foes who can go on patrols, stalk you, and run for help.

Geneforge has a huge and open storyline. You have the freedom to choose your own path and decide how the story will turn out. You can fight the evil overlord or you can join him. You can help the peasants or you can torment them. You can be the bold hero or you can just try to get away. No matter what you choose, Geneforge offers an enormous adventure with plenty of replay value.

System Requirements

    • Operating system:Windows® XP / Vista™ / Windows® 7
    • Processor:1.6 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB
    • Hard disk space:300MB
    • Video: OpenGL compliant graphics card
    • Sound:Sound card
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (194 reviews)
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175 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
104 of 108 people (96%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 12, 2014
Geneforge presents an original setting, masterfully blending sci-fi with fantasy. Here “Shapers” are humans able to create and shape life through magic, raise armies of creatures to work and fight for them, and even genetically alter plants to serve as tools and weapons. Everything about the world seems exotic and well-thought, and it’s very interesting to learn about its lore and workings.

The story starts with your character being washed in the shores of a mysterious island, where rogue creations run wild over abandoned Shaper ruins. As you explore the massive island in search for a way back home, you’ll find the truth behind the abandoned ruins, and will decide the fate of the various factions that inhabit it. The writing is solid, and the game asks you to make some seriously complex decisions, without any banal morality judging you. I’ll add that Geneforge is the only game I ever played where the NPCs managed to change my mind with solid arguments (instead of bribes) after I had decided on a set course of action.

Combat is turn-based with action points, and although it has some annoying limitations (like only one attack per turn), it’s solid. There are three classes to choose from, and they give you freedom to fight any way you want, being able to create hordes of weak monster to fight for you, focus on a large and powerful creatures, cast spells like firebolt and fear, or simply hack and slash your enemies. Non-combat skills like Leadership and Mechanics are also important, as they provide unique ways to avoid conflicts and solve quests. And although it may not seem obvious at first, there’s a great deal of reactivity here as well.

When this was release, back in 2001, cRPGs fans had their mouths full, being spoiled with the release of classic such as Arcanum, BG2: Throne of Bhaal, Morrowind, Wizardry 8 and Gothic. So it is understandable that Geneforge, with its unattractive graphics and puke-green UI, went by undetected by most. But it’s a damn shame, and you should fix that now.
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46 of 53 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
55.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 19, 2014
“… she stares up at you with awe, as if her god has stepped down to earth to face her. Maybe it has.”

Geneforge is a great turn-based role-playing game experience with a deep and meaningful story in combination with a unique take on magic. What it lacks in graphics it gains twofold in detailed descriptions of events throughout the game.

Your decisions have major impact on the game’s conclusion and gameplay is vastly different depending on which of the three classes you choose.

The almost total lack of music and no voice acting should be mentioned as the disadvantages of this classic RPG.


The attempt of futuristic weapons with devastating effects that simultaneously felt sensible and maintained balance were one of the most difficult gameplay issues the developers had to resolve.


The game has no Steam achievements.


Geneforge 5: Overthrow (PC)
Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy + Science Fiction) – 2009

Geneforge 4: Rebellion (PC)
Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy + Science Fiction) – 2007

Geneforge 3 (PC)
Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy + Science Fiction) – 2005

Geneforge 2 (PC)
Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy + Science Fiction) – 2003

Geneforge (PC)
Classic turn-based role-playing game
(Fantasy + Science Fiction) – 2002
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35 of 37 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
An amazing addition to the RPG genre it takes a turn away from party character development focusing on the world, your actions in it and the repercussions of said actions. This gem from Spiderweb allows for a multitude of choices in your actions and playstyle in and out of combat. Do you think that creatures made for the sole purpose of manual labor should stick to manual labor? Do you think that prefrabricated beings can change and evolve acquiring ideas and motivations of their own? Do you like planning out each combat turn by turn or maybe you like to fly by the seat of your pants trusting in the intelligence of your handmade monsters? All of these and many more are choices you can and will make if you choose to step into this colorful world, and I certainly hope you do. As ever the first game is the roughest but as the series continues the story and gameplay improves adding in new monsters, classes and spells which you will use alter the path of the world.

A fantastic story with moral questions relating to the inhabitants of the world as well as to yourself
A solid number of monsters to summon allowing you to customize your party for the situation at hand
(For fans of turn based) Solid turn based gameplay factoring in speed attributes and action points causing a more cautious approach to your actions

Graphics are a bit dated which for some can be a stickler
The game's difficulty does not scale per se so if you push on too fast you will feel the pain but if you take your time you can breeze through areas unless you alter the difficulty
The Shaper/Rebel faction dynamic can be a pain at times barring you from acquiring the last rank of a spell or summon key to your personal strategy

Overall it is an extremely enjoyable series that I've spent many hours on before it came to Steam and I would suggest you pick it up if you are a fan of Turn Based RPGs in general.

*And worries for some gamers
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30 of 31 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
70.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 6, 2014
This is an interesting one, although not really a great one.

The world and lore it establishes are well-done and interesting. You get to encounter different sects, and you can ally yourself with them, betray them later, and then change your mind and do what they probably would have wanted if you hadn't already massacred their town. All of these actions have consequences within the world and how that world reacts to you. Those consequences follow through all the way to the ending of the game, which has a pretty impressive variety of outcomes. This is probably the strongest part of the game and what makes it worth playing through.

The growth and progression of your character is also well done. You can choose to play Geneforge as three quite different "classes". Every level up you get a set of skill points that you can apportion as you wish. The class you choose doesn't dictate what you can do, but it does make it easier/harder to level up certain skills. Skills range from physical combat, magic spells, the ability to "shape" creatures to fight for you. General skills, such as Leadership and Mechanics, are also available. Pleasantly, these are actually very useful to find non-combat methods to progress through the game.

Again all of these things are well done, and are what make the game worth playing. Where it falls apart a bit, is in the interface and to a certain degree, the combat.

Combat is turn-based, and on the surface, can be quite tactical. Timing, and awareness of the positions of both your allies and your enemies are all quite important. Particularly, when you do have allies (such as the creatures you can "shape"), you do have to take into account whether or not you or your creatures are blocking a path forward. You can use this both to your benefit and your detriment, by funneling enemies down a corridor into one of your stronger creatures.

In theory anyway.

The problem is that, at least in my experience, the game is rather easy. So, tactics more or less go out the window, when you can just click-click-click your way to victory. Positioning at that point becomes more of an annoyance, as you try to coax the pathing algorithms to make sure that you don't waste a turn because you clicked slightly to the left of something, so it paths all the way around and your turn is wasted. And it's even worse that the punishment for this is not death, but a test of your patience, more often than not.

Towards the end of the game, the challenge is upped, but by presenting annoyances, like poisoned areas that do damage to you and your creatures for just being in them. There is an optional area towards the end that serves as a pretty robust challenge, but again, the tactics aren't really that interesting at the end of it. It's more a battle of attrition that you just need to push through.

Overall, the combat side of this game seems like it would be great on paper, but it ends up being boring most of the time, and annoying some of the time. Very rarely is it actually much fun.

I should mention that the presentation of the game is quite old-school, and to top it off, there is no music aside from the title screen of the game. You just get some ambient noise in towns, and sound effects for all the actions. That's it. Honestly, some music would have made some of the more annoying slog parts of the game much more palatable. I mean, it helped a lot when I was just listening to a podcast or some music when I was doing it.

That being said, despite all the gripes, I would still totally recommend the game. Normally, I'm a gameplay over story/presentation guy, but in this case I can overlook it. What it does right, it does very well.

From what I've heard, the series just continues to build on itself as it goes on. Based on what I played, I'm very much looking forward to eventually going through the following games in the series.
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25 of 25 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
50.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
what to say about Geneforge? To put it simply: It's an oddly fantastic game.

Having never heard of the series, I purchased a bundle with all 5 Geneforge games. I really enjoyed my playthough of Geneforge 1, despite the difficulty and dated feel of its isometric graphics. Many of the sound effects are terrible and yet somehow memorable and enjoyable. The entire gameworld is immersive, and the creators succeed at inviting the player into a curious world unlike anything I've found elsewhere.

The turn-based combat is unique and seamless with world exploration; no cutscenes to a battlefield. Feel free to disagree, but this games combat feels a lot like what Dragon Age would have been (without the dragons) in 2001. You set your party into a formation (some strategy), you scout bad guys, you draw them into battle and then the turn-based system engages right where the characters are standing, based on the players/enemies speed as determined by stats. The balancing is steeped against the player and pots/items/spells saved my creations several times. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? You're a Shaper, a god-like race of techno-religious beings who fashioned slaves through genetic engineering, albeit 150 years ago before much of the technology was abandoned, ship wrecked on an island populated with the decendants of those slaves. If you want to know more, or about what the Geneforge is, buy the game!

Aside from combat, content-wise it's pretty dense. I was able to get up to 50hrs in a single playthrough, although I explored just about every square inch of map and tried multiple different endings. The story is pushed by text-narration as opposed to characters rendered in 3D, animated w/ voice acting. This makes it impenetrable to many spoilt by games such as Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Bioshock, but nevertheless it has it all. Political intrigue, factions, tons of choices that shape the world and your standing within it, hundreds of items and creatures, and dungeon after dungeon to crawl through.

I can't speak to the whole series, although I may play them through in the future, but IMO Geneforge 1 is worth your time for anything under $3. I think I got it for a buck in the bundle and was pleasantly surprised.

Ultimately, I give "Geneforge 1" 7/10, would genetically modify self again.
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22 of 25 people (88%) found this review helpful
109.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 16, 2014
This game is truly a work of art, as are all of Spiderweb Software's games. The graphics aren't very good (and don't progress very much between games) but the story is brilliant, fascinating and at times can actually have you wondering which side to choose. I would recommend this game to anybody interested in a good story with fun gameplay.
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20 of 23 people (87%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
48.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 5, 2014
If you're the sort of steely-eyed well-endowed RPG luddite who can't get it up in the morning until he peers owlishly at a fixed isometric camera angle and parses more text than the annotated edition of Infinite Jest then will this be a treat for you.

+ Well written, challenging (sometimes too challenging), multiple endings, fascinating world and story elements.

- Chunky clunky and all round dated UI design, doesn't exactly look like Skyrim.

A niche title to be sure, but the first in a sprawling series of turn based RPG epics that appreciators of the form (i.e; me) will find much in to enjoy.
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16 of 16 people (100%) found this review helpful
49.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 21, 2014
Probably one of the best RPG's I have played in some time. It's incredibly simple in mechanics, an has the most basic of graphics. It's quite long, quite cheap, has some interesting concepts, plenty of areas to explore, creatures to discover and shape. A great isometric RPG.
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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
All of Spiderweb Software's titles are low on graphics and, as the oldest title available on Steam, Geneforge 1 is no exception; however, it was never built for that. Regardless of what year you play this game, the amount of raw depth and story is outstanding. It has been ten years since I first played this game, the Geneforge series remains one of my favorite games of all time, and I can't recommend it without advising players to start at the beginning.

Although the events in this game are clearly felt in the sequel, it also has the least connection with the outside world. Leaving your discovery of who you are, who you work for, and what Sucia Island is all about up to intensive study, exploration, and imagination. It's because of that feature that this might be the best introduction to Geneforge, even though it has the most clunky interface.

I won't pretend to give an in-depth analysis of this game, I just wouldn't know where to start. If Steam was able to record how much I played this game when it first came out, it would be over 350 hours. Despite that, all I can do is recommend that you try it for yourself. If you're on the fence about whether or not you'd be interested, visit and download the demo. If you enjoy it, come back.
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
80.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 21, 2015
Classic, old-school, isometric, turn-based RPG in a unique fantasy setting. Open-ended, plenty of feeling of agency - choices have consequences and rewards. Loved every bit of it. Of course I used the Geneforge, then handed everyone's carcass to them in a sizzling, melted pile. I'll be plowing through the rest of the saga post-haste, and in order. What fun we'll have regrowing ourselves into gods.

10/10 Will try to unring a bell again.
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Captain Dogmeat Belmont
0.5 hrs
Posted: October 9
Search for items.
I put my pants on!
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7.1 hrs
Posted: September 27
I give the game +1, but I don't recommend it for purchase.

Too much of the game isn't explained to the player, so you learn everything through trial and error. You will be dying a lot. You will be reloading a lot, and saving a lot. And I'm just not a massive fan of that mechanism of playing games.

There were a lot of cool things in the game - like NPCs that take your exp to give you items, and there are small factions you can become allies with. You can do pretty much anything, but this game is over 10 years old and it shows.

If it's on sale buy it and try it. I like playing older games because I like to see how they were designed and how they function. Upon purchasing this game I had no intention of actually finishing the series, and after my first few hours I think I've found a vast majority of what the game has to offer.

A good game as a case study, but not something I would recommend actually playing to have fun.
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39.2 hrs
Posted: September 23
-Immersive storytelling
-Solid plotline and setting
-Nonlinear gameplay
-Choices affect the ending and the game itself
-Three very different classes
-Small learning curve
-Fun gameplay
-Create your own servant creatures

-Potato graphics
-Outdated everything
-Needs more autosave
-Entirely text reliant

Overall: Geneforge is one of those gems that sat in my games library forever that I swore I'd get around to eventually. I'm glad I finally did. When I first tried to play it, the graphics and sound and simplistic gameplay turned me off, and I put off playing the game. However, having picked it back up, I can happily say that the game makes up for the lack of graphics and sound with excellent gamplay and a cool new world to explore. I was surprised that such a simple design could give so much freedom to the player in how they interact with the world.

The fact that it's so simple actually works in the game's favor. Gameplay is straightforward and challenging, but not because the controls are clunky, but because every situation requires careful planning. The plot is good enough to keep you invested, and at least for me, the gameplay was entertaining enough that I kept playing long after I could have ended the main plotline just because I wanted to explore the world more.

If you have trouble with games that rely on text to tell the story, this might not be for you. If you have trouble with older looking games, I'd encourage you to give it a shot. I'm glad I managed to look past the graphics long enough to let the game grow on me. And this game has sold me on playing the other four as well.

Just remember to save.

Bottom Line: Definitely worth the money. You can usually get the whole saga on a heavy sale, too.
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24.1 hrs
Posted: September 12
I Origionally got this game as a demo as a teenager, and for a while thats all I played. I couldn't find it. Then one day to my plesent suprise it showed up on steam. Though I havent finished it yet I've really loved replaying it. I would recomend it to anyone who like old topdown rpgs such as fallout or arcanum, mind this was made by one person.
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0.3 hrs
Posted: September 11
A unique game, that's for sure. A healthy mix of fantasy and sci-fi where you play as one of three classes; shaper(mage),guardian(warrior), and agent(rogue). They can all use magic, however the shaper is the strongest when it comes to casting spells and shaping. Shaping is a type of magic that is the main bread and butter of the game because you get to create your own minions,pets,followers,soldiers,etc. to fight for you. Eventually you can level up your creations' stats, for example you can increase their strength to make them more effective in a fight. However be prepared to read, cuz this game is like a friggan book. What this games lacks in cutscenes and or intricate animations, makes up for in highly detailed descriptions.
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0.7 hrs
Posted: August 13
Thanks for making me who I am, Spiderweb.
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37.4 hrs
Posted: July 15
10/10 game.
I got all five for 6.99$ great gamez
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Hippias Minor
100.5 hrs
Posted: July 14
tl;dr: If this review is too long for you, you probably aren't going to enjoy this text-heavy game. But you can skip to the summary at the end.


Go back to the very early stages of this millenium (when this game was released), and you might remember two things: (1) fascination with emerging medical technologies surrounding genetic modification and (2) the Infinity Engine at its zenith. Both of these influences can be found in Geneforge, which takes genetic modification as its theme, and uses a Baldur's Gate-like mechanic for its gameplay (although shorn of D&D rules and a conventional fantasy setting).

Like the Infinity Engine games, Geneforge is an isometric, story-driven RPG which actually respects the *R*. It takes place in several discrete zones spread out over a world map. It is text-heavy. The basic mechanics are much simpler here, however--simpler, but complicated enough to admit of sophisticated strategy. It is also quite robust, giving many hours of gameplay to anyone interested in exploring everything.

As an indie game, however, it is graphically ugly. Much of the text exists to describe what more graphically advanced games would show without words. The interface is sometimes incovenient, and you'll naturally find yourself irritated with some of the aspects of inventory management--although my own irritation might have a lot to do with my neurotic hoarding/organizing addiction. (For a reference, check out some of the screenshots posted in the Steam community to get a sense of how loot can get away with you.)

The open-endedness of the world can also be a curse as much as a blessing: about halfway through the game, it's easy to lose focus on where you ought to be going. (There's a nice FAQ out there, however, which can help out. If nothing else, check out the Matt P's numeric rating of the difficulty of each zone--this can give you a sense of what areas are best to tackle next.)

To my mind, there are two main selling points to this game: (1) the novelty of creating and modifying creatures to aid you as you go about, and more importantly (2) the story. But the attractiveness of the story needs some unpacking.

The story is open-ended, and it involves you responding to some events on an island surrounding competing factions with conflicting motivations vying for power. That's nice and all--although you can get that kind of fare elsewhere. That's not where the real juice of this game lies. The best part of the story isn't the plot proper, which concerns your character. It's what has already happened in the *past*, and which you discover incrementally as you proceed.

Think of yourself as a kind of archeologist, doing a dig. You dig at a site, and discover what a certain society was like. But if you dig a bit deeper, you might see the remains of a civilization that existed at an even earlier time. Dig even deeper get the idea. The way I counted, there were *four* layers of history contained in this game, from the truly ancient to the recent past, and you fill in the pieces of this rich puzzle of what has happened on Sucia Island as you proceed. (Incidentally, I have no idea if this pattern continues for other games in this saga, although I suspect not.)

If the idea of playing the role of archeologist sounds like your cup of tea, pick up this game. (You might also want to pick up Steven Erikson's fantasy novels, but I digress.)

One final note: This is the first of a long saga of 5 Geneforge games. I haven't played those other games, but GF1 is quite satisfactory all on its own as a standalone title. So, don't feel that you *need* to get drawn into the larger saga to enjoy GF.


+ Open-ended, with interesting moral themes
+ Simple but sophisticated gameplay
+ Great story
+ The novelty of shaping/creating your allies

- Ugly
- Lacks direction at times
- Interface can be clunky

I'd recommend this game to anyone who can appreciate its intellectual flavor and doesn't mind primitive graphics.
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44.5 hrs
Posted: July 7
One of my favortie games of all time.

World, Setting, and Story: You're a shaper (magical sorcerer people who can create life from humaniods to drakes to raptors) about to be some apprentice when ship gets attacked and dies with you on a quarintined island. You find huminoid creations that your ancestors left behind have built 3 separte sects with different philosophies, and that there are human invaders (not your people) on this forbidden island. Learn the secrets on why the island was barred and fight to survive (or use diplomacy). This game has more possible endings than a top rate visual novel.

Gameplay and mechanics: excellent leveling system. boost stats with points earned from level up. level from completing quests, killing things, and unlocking things. use magic, use physical combat, use your creations, it's up to you. combat involves an action point system. It's turn based, but you have action points to limit what you can do. Move, use an item, or attack. Your creations that follow you also get their own turn (and really, who doesn't want a pet raptor).

Buy it. It was good enough for several sequels.
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8.3 hrs
Posted: July 2
Bow and scrape, creations, for your Shapers have returned to you!

Only gotten to Pentil so far, but damn I love this game.
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