Top-down 2.5D action that combines old-school shooters like Star Control, action-RPGs like Diablo, with a system that evolves unique weapons to player preferences. Single-player and 32-player online coop and PVP.
User reviews: Mixed (56 reviews)
Release Date: May 31, 2014
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Recent updates View all (33)

February 5

Steam Patch 7 February

Patch 1.26h scheduled for Feb 7th:

  • Camera shake on collision with large objects and nearby explosions.
  • In-game links to development road map, help wanted section, and YouTube channel.
  • Some mission text edits for newer features such as wormholes.
Help wanted! Looking for a few good game devs:
  • Want to contribute some cool code, art, music, or sound effects to GAR? Contact us at
  • Large enough contributions will get a percent of sales. But all contributions will get in-game credits, web site credits, and will look good on a resume.
  • We will consider all original ideas or give you a list of specific stuff we are looking for. More details coming soon.

1 comments Read more

January 28

Steam Patch 28 January:

Patch 1.26J:

- a mysterious wormhole has opened in Cygnus Alpha
- weapon bank now displays both ship and bank weapons
- upgraded radar fidelity
- planet ring graphic upgraded
- prevent possible progress loss by saving character when MP connection interupted, before dump to main menu

Upcoming patches:

- wormholes will be populated, several per patch
- new Science Mission track which will run parallel to existing Navy missions track, will be populated with wormholes

0 comments Read more

About This Game

Pilot a gun ship and battle aliens, pirates, and other villainous enemies, to gain levels, skills, and most importantly, discover unique and potentially more powerful weapons. Through the unique cgNEAT content-generation technology, new weapons are constantly created by the game automatically.


A key objective of this game is to explore the potential for automated content generation technology to intelligently create content for games. In GAR, all player weapons are generated by the cgNEAT algorithm based on weapon usage statistics. However, cgNEAT does not simply respawn weapons that people like. Rather, it creates new weapons that elaborate on those that have been popular in the past.

Game Mechanics

GAR combines elements of old-school space shooters like Star Control, action-RPGs like Diablo, and open-world space adventure games like Freelancer. The graphics are fully 3D but in top-down or "2.5D" mode. The chase camera and movement interface is similar to many online RPGs such as WoW. Earn ranks and credits by completing missions and destroying enemies. Use the credits earned to upgrade and customize your gun ship.


The game progresses through different and increasingly challenging solar systems. Throughout the galaxy are various factions, both friendly and hostile.

Game Modes

GAR game modes include (1) single player campaign mode, (2) instant-action system defense mode, and (3) multiplayer mode for up to 32 players with both coop and PVP. You can run your own Galactic Arms Race galaxy by downloading the standalone server. A simple windows GUI makes it easy to administrate your galaxy.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Direct X 9 compatible graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 160 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
98 of 141 people (70%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2014
It is the exact same game in pretty much the exact same state that was free 4 or so years ago.
The only thing that they seem to have improved in any way is the UI.
All the outstanding issues, such as enemy bases spontaneously spawning behind you exist.
They just took what was version 1.1 alpha back then, added some buttons for facebook and whatnot, and slapped a pricetag after changing the versionnumber to 1.0 release.

The game disappeared off radar about 4 years ago, with no signs of updates or whatsoever after 1.23 hit (which changed next to nothing, by only adding a pointless arena mode, but took down the official servers). There were talks also of the university where they developed this game actually actively denying them the possibility to go on Steam, or offer the game away, but i can't find the archived version of that.
Here's proof of it being just that old, and being offered for free:

As far as the procedural weapon generation, it's in its alpha state still, and nothing has changed for that. There are just a few different subtypes of weapons you can get, of which one in a hundred are plausibly usable. The hands down best weapon types for everything still are the starting weapons, or weapons with even tighter grouping of bullets than that.
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32 of 45 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 7, 2014
Disclaimer: I was in beta.

What the game is: Old school space shooter but in 3D with evolving weapons and WASD movement. Has a decent amount of ship customization but mainly it is just mindless fun blowing stuff up, getting levels, getting upgrades, and getting weapons. The core gameplay is pretty satisfying and and the music is awesome. It is casual friendly at the start but gets pretty difficult later on.

What the game is not: It is not an in-depth space sim. There is no RPG space-opera story line (although there are structured missions). There are no Eve-Online bottomless skill trees or crafting. You are not going to start a trade empire or negotiate peace treaties with alien races.

Bottomline: Certainly worth the price ($3.99) just for the COOP. The multiplayer is more fun than it should be.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
I think this game is best summed up as a very competent, fun little time sink. The visuals are far from HD, the RPG elements are by no means expansive or deep, the narrative is nothing noteworthy, but all the mechanics are solid and it’s a great bit of fun.
I could easily pick at this game for tons of little issues like the ship sizes being a bit small, the difficulty being inconsistent at best, or the solo campaign being nothing more than a to-do list; but regardless of it’s shortcoming, it has a very rare charm to it, and is a perfect title to pick up on sale and save for one of those gaming droughts.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2014
Galactic Arms Race,
Players fly a space ship, destroy enemies, earn money and experience, gain levels, find items, and upgrade their ships.

+ Easy to learn how to play it
+ Achievments for steam
+ Leaderboard
+ Cheap game for
+ Servers for up to 32 players
+ Challenging shooter
+ Level up
+ The galaxy map is based upon levels, so, if you are at level 4, you cannot warp to another sector until you reach level 5
+ System Requirements(only 256MB RAM) can be played fro old systems

- The graphics are more functional than fancy
- free only in 2010
- The game runs on Windows only

At present it is a fun simplistic 2D shooter, with the potential to have a lot more depth added in later versions
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18 of 32 people (56%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 5, 2014
The fact that weapons are randomly generated isn't as exciting as it seems. There isn't as much variety as other games that offer random weapon generation. It is similar to Drox Operative, but not as good.
That being said, this is still a fun game and 32 player multiplayer would make this game really fun if I had the connection to enjoy it so I won't include that feature in my consideration for recommendation.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
21.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 23, 2014
this is a game most people dont seem to recognize as a game of good fun and potential addiction
as i've played this game i cannot seem to stop playing it.. i hope a good sized community grows off this game
good luck to its developers please dont stop improving and expanding on this game

you get my thumbs up!
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 19, 2014
I played it during the beta, and honestly it didn't changed that much now, but i found both the previous and this version of the game pretty entertaining, although very repetitive.

It's an MMORPG in space, that gives great customization chances, thanks to different weapons and the possibility to modify their shoots direction. The equipments drops and the upgrades let you have a totally casual and, for the second choice, a personal power style of your ship.

The skills are few and with high cooldowns, but helpful and strong enough to let you escape or win on hard situations. After these, you should rely on dodging or hitting enemy projectiles with your's.

The "quests", which will involve only a kind of storyline, may not be really clear for their goals, but they will anyway involve only in killing a certain type of enemy, which will be the same at the first 50 levels. These are needed to proceed in every level.

Technically, the game runs very well, that without modifying any setting my computer didn't had any CPU usage from this game at all.

Very well optimized, almost unique in it's genre, but can become tedious after a while.
I think it's worth the 4$ to give it a try, if you didn't had the beta already.
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14 of 25 people (56%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2014
The game is quite fun and very colourful. It is like pretty fireworks in space!
It can be quite a challenge to find the right weapon for the job and some skill and tactics are required-
the game is certainly not too easy.
Compared to similar games- it is more colourful than both The Last Federation and Drox Operative,
but without any of the depth that both games provide. There is also not too much of a story to it.
But for the price it is a nice challenging and colourful space shooter, if you need a break from more
serious games like TLF and Drox Operative.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2014
This game has good potential for crazy multiplayer space battles, though it is a bit rough at the moment. Not really my cup of tea for single player, but worth a look for the long-run mulitplayer - they're actively updating it and have come a long way.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 18, 2014
A cheap game with a very, very interesting weapon generation system. Weapons are assigned a "fitness" rating depending on how much you use them, with "fitter" weapons being used more as the base for the weapons dropped by enemies. The generation system is used to great effect in the weapons lab, where you can mutate your weapons, randomly switching which values are used in generating the shots and how they are altered. What's so great about this game is that you can devise devious tactics using the features of one weapon and improve it as time goes on as you get more weapons dropped which complement that strategy.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
Good fun with confusing weapons
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 16, 2014
This game is OK, but not the greatest example of it's type. It basically seems like some genetic algorithm researchers wanted to experiment with GA based content generation, so they decided to create a more modern version of the old xtrek game in order to do so. Unfortunately the genetic algorithm stuff isn't that interesting (it basically just determines the pattern of weapons fire based on "mutating" the parameters of trigonometry functions) and nothing else in the game seems terribly new or innovative.

In short, this game is probably only worth getting if you're a fan of 2D space combat/trading sims with multiplayer support, especially if you're looking for one that's relatively simplistic. But there are better games of it's type out there (such as Ring Runner) so I'd only buy it if it's significantly discounted. (I got it in a bundle.)
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13 of 26 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 8, 2014
Is it worth $4? Maybe. Is it worth your time? Probably not.

Galactic Arms Race is built around a really cool core idea. Weapons, thousands (millions? trillions? bazillions?) of them are procedurally generated and evolve based on your preferences. As a tech demo for an advanced kind of procedural content generation, GAR is impressive. As a game, not so much.

The weapons, which are the sole focus of the game, are at the same time impressively varied and boringly repetitious. The variety of projectile patterns is astonishing: your shots may be concentrated straight ahead, in a spread pattern, out behind your ship, in a circle around it, in a snakelike wave pattern, in a seemingly random corkscrew, in a defensive wall in front of you, and other patterns that I don't have words for. The variety of colors, while maybe not astonishing, does seem to cover the entire range of human visual perception, so there's that. So what's the boring and repetitious part? For all the variety in their movements and colors, in almost every other way, every weapon in the universe is identical. They all fire three shots. Those shots all do the same damage. They all have the same rate of fire. Their projectiles all have the same lifetime.

So although some weapons are objectively "better" than others, it's only because of their movement pattern. No weapon fires faster, or fires extra shots, or does more damage. I understand the academic appeal of GAR (and indeed these guys are academics who have an upcoming article about it in an IEEE journal), but in my opinion it doesn't translate into a fun game. I never really get to feel more powerful. Every sector looks the same and all the enemies are similar. I have to look at the numbers on the screen to see that I'm making any progress. I didn't get any new abilities until level 50, which took a couple of hours to reach, and when I did finally get that warhead launcher, I was totally underwhelmed. I quit playing shortly thereafter.

As an academic myself, I found some interest in reading about their cgNEAT algorithm and CPPN's (compositional pattern producing networks). But as a gamer, I have to say that its low price only serves to put GAR into that increasingly crowded category of Steam games that are not exactly a waste of my money, but are certainly a waste of my time. Pass on this one, and get a game that's an actual game, not a research project. Trust me.
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7 of 15 people (47%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 14, 2014
Fun game, definitely worth the 4$ spent :)
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6 of 13 people (46%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 14, 2014
On the first glance its a nice space shooter with cool weapons. Unfortunately after you play for a while you find out its extremly simplistic and boring.

- once you get past tutorial you get a cycle of missions: kill 10 aliens, kill 10 pirates, destroy some blob or elite, deliver package to next system;

- ship progression is simplistic as every next ship has stats at 150% of the previous one. There is no choice of what you want and your only decision is if you want to upgrade or wait for next one for cash efficiency;

- actually you only rarely change weapons once you get something you like, since most modes are pretty situational and eveolving your main weapon is actually risky;

All in all its not a bad concept, but for now its more of a demo then a full game.
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4 of 9 people (44%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 26, 2014
I completed the first version of this game in single player and not sure why they had to release the final version under a different steam ID. This is your basic 2.5D isometric view space blasting game with mild ship upgrades. Although I haven't tried it, the game seems to focus more toward multiplayer. And there honestly really isn't anything that makes me want to try it.
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3 of 7 people (43%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 24, 2014
Tried single player mode, quit after half an hour because I hadn't seen a single reason to keep playing. Slow and sluggish action with inaccurate controls and unsuitable camera angle, boring incremental upgrade system, no plot or characters to speak of, cookie cutter quests of the "kill 5 bears" variety.
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2014
i got this game from a giveaway so obviously i didnt spend any money on this game

but still, at the state this game is currently on, it kinda sucks. i know the game is only for like 3$ but it seems like the devs dont really spend much time on this game anymore. would be pretty nice if theres weekly updates to make the game better. the game looks like itll be good if only they would put more time into it.
graphics isnt really all that great if anything this game looks like its from ps1. im not sure if its just me, but the game runs in a jittery below 30ish fps which is a bit unpleasant for the eyes, makes it feels "laggy".
there is multiplayer for this game although its barren.
its pretty neat that you can change your weapons by getting loot drops from enemies but some of the guns have this wavy pattern which is sometimes annoying since they tend to dodge the enemies
gameplay wise its not very compelling and you will get bored in a few minutes. the missions early on also feels like a chore. might fix this if you play with a friend though.

not really recommended, even for $3 . i feel they might as well make this a free to play game since there are f2p games out there thats way more fun than this. if it goes f2p , you could give it a shot, maybe its your cup of tea.
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 29, 2014
Playing it since beta, the game ain't that bad itself, it's really good instead only thing it lacks is population.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 6
I've bought this game three times to support the developer. It's a university based project and the research into procedural generation alone could have significant impact on the gaming industry and it seems that with games like Limit Theory and No Man's Sky on the horizon along with the mainstreaming of procgen rogue-likes, GAR is in the metagame at the right time.

Games have become very predictable in virtually all genres and while GAR seems like a simple space shooter, there's a lot more going on but you have seek the treasures. Back in the ancient days, developers created astounding games on the legendary Amiga computer. They took chances with games like Mindwalker, Vyrus, Archipelago, Sentinel, and many more. GAR would have been nothing short of revolutionary even in those heady days and there is astounding potential still for this game to grow into something insanely explorative and if the developers would provide some modding support, a mission editor, and a few more game modes, this game could easily compete with any AAA game out there in ANY genre.

If you are the type of gamer that NEEDS GPU melting graphics then look elsewhere. But, if you like a clean aesthetic with graphics that for this type of game ARE rather nice, then give GAR a go! The most important component of any game is the core gameplay and the developers of years past understood this. The proliferation of older games being updated for modern systems and their success thus far proves this.
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