Pandora: First Contact is a science fiction 4X turn-based strategy game on a planetary scale. Our Earth has been exhausted and colonial attempts on other planetary bodies have been in vain. Finally, after decades of exploration, an interstellar probe has brought promise of a new world many light-years away.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (315 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Buy Pandora: Complete Edition

Includes 2 items: Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira, Pandora: First Contact

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Recommended By Curators

"Duncan, Sjin, Lewis and Parv revelled in Pandora's civ-like strategy. It's 4X turn based strategy on a galactic scale."
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Recent updates View all (15)

June 19

Eclipse of Nashira Version 1.6.3 Released

* AI will make slightly fewer formers.
* AI will make even fewer formers once it has the advancement that increases the working speed of formers.
* AI will use significantly more miners and workers instead of scientists when they require buildings and units and can keep pollution at bay.
* AI will consider standing more important in its decision to go to war.
* AI will slowly drop standing on a player that has a weak military compared to themselves.
* AI will no longer issue pillaging tasks to artilleries.
* Added a small offset to the AI army evaluation for relationship decay and war declaration in order to prevent it becoming an issue right of the bat.

Change log history.

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June 15

Version 1.6.2 / 1.4.5 Released

Updated Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira to version 1.6.2 and First Contact to 1.4.5.

Version 1.6.2 (Eclipse of Nashira)
* AI is now less likely to use nukes and black holes on an opponent when it is far superior in conventional military. This is to not have to clean up so much waste after capturing the cities anyways.
* AI now prioritizes building Colony Ship Dismantling over getting the minimum amount of units.
* AI now prioritizes flat-boni from buildings according to how much of a resource they already have.
* Improved AI building priorization.
* AI will no longer diversify its troop composition before it has made contact with other factions. This allows them to better handle the aliens on bigger map sizes.
* AI will be slightly more aggressive towards players whose economy is worse than theirs.
* AI will now handle ruins with the attack agent, giving them a much higher priority than before.
* AI will now value negative habitat higher when it comes to how fast it expands. This results in faster expansion.

* Fixed crash when researching Nukes with French localization active.
* Fixed a possible crash connected to Agents in Transports.
* Fixed an issue where Agents in Transports of the AI would stop doing anything.
* Fixed an issue where Agents of the AI would not use all sorts of operations after the changes of success rates.
* Fixed an issue where the AI would forget that it wanted to retreat a unit once it entered a transport.
* Fixed an issue where naval artillery of the AI would not retreat to a city while kiting.

Version 1.4.5 (First Contact)
* Fixed crash when researching Nukes with French localization active.

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Includes Free Add-on: Return of the Messari

The ancient Messari return to Pandora with all their might, deploying portals and terrifying ion storms. From these portals come forces never before seen by mankind, and an infestation spreads across Pandora. The strongest factions are the ones that have to fear them most, but they will spare no one.

About This Game

Pandora: First Contact is a science fiction 4X turn-based strategy game on a planetary scale.

In the future, factions have risen up from opportunities and ideologies independent of governments. Private corporations and religious movements have started wars over greed, ideology and power. Many have died and many lands lay in ruin. Planet Earth has been exhausted and colonial attempts on other planetary bodies have been in vain.

Finally, after decades of exploration, an interstellar probe has brought promise of a new world many light-years away. The most powerful factions have gathered their best men and women to send on a long journey to Pandora.

Far from desolate, the earth-like planet has been found to host a plethora of indigenous life forms. While the gigantic monstrosities inland and at the oceans seem relatively calm, human-sized bugs and fungus are threatening to stop mankind's expansion.

As the various factions strive to take control, each will research and develop numerous new technologies, discovering new weapons and industry, whilst opening trade agreements and forging alliances with other factions to gain a foothold. As they spread, they will discover ancient ruins from alien civilizations that will grant them advantages over their rivals.

Key Features

  • Explore a new world harboring a variety of eco-regions, from the frozen ice lands of the north, to vast deserts and lush tropical forests in the south.
  • Survive encounters with the planet's dangerous wild life. Deadly swarms walk the lands and agile predators fly in the skies. There is even talk of a giant creature in the oceans.
  • Live in harmony with nature or use it to further your cause. The indigenous life will react to your actions and treat you accordingly.
  • Discover ruins and artifacts, the relics of an ancient alien civilization long forgotten that can give you an edge against the planet life and other rivaling factions.
  • Found new cities to expand the borders of your empire. Manage cities by adjusting the tax rate, choosing production and assigning colonists to jobs.
  • Operate a fully globalized and pooled resource and growth system. Specialize one city to harvest minerals while churning out units in another.
  • Adapt your empire to pressing demand. Your colonists will migrate between cities based on factors such as pollution and living space.
  • Shape the landscape with terraforming, construct farms, mines, forts, and other improvements to increase the productivity of your colonies or to fortify positions.
  • Progress through a vast randomized research tree spanning dozens of technologies providing operations, buildings, units, weapons, and more.
  • Negotiate trade and research pacts with other factions for mutual benefits. Forge alliances to stand united against common foes.
  • Design your own units by choosing from a range of different classes, armors, weapons, and devices to maximize the strength of your forces.
  • Command vast armies across the battlefield against enemy factions, making use of the variety of terrain types to gain an advantage.
  • Unleash hell on your opponents with powerful military operations, ranging from drop pods behind enemy lines to black hole generators eradicating entire landscapes.
  • Prove yourself in multiplayer with friends or strangers and discover entirely new strategies.
  • Customize your experience through easily moddable XML data and well-known image and audio formats.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 / Vista
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.8
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Linux
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Linux
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
180 of 224 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 17
I will preface this by saying that the game has promise. However, that promise does not compensate for Pandora's failings.

1. The game world is beautiful and interesting to look at.
2. There is a randomized tech tree that jumbles up the techs. This allows replayability as no two games will have the same tech trees.

1. Because the tech tree is randomized, the randomness could seriously gimp a game as there are a lot of inferior techs in Pandora. Sometimes the player will have a lot of great techs on the way up the tree until the tech they are trying to attain. However, sometimes that same tech will have completely inferior precursors. It's all luck... which can screw with gameplay.
2. Native life: This ruins the game. First, even though a player may have alien life aggression set to very rarely, built the Xenobiology project (-25% alien aggression), did not attack one of the aliens at all, and are the Gaian faction (even more alien aggression reduction), random event of increased alien aggression overrides it all and they will attack. It's completely ludicrous and needs to be removed from the game.
3. The AI is oversimplistic. Essentially, military power = godhood. That's the only thing they look at. If the player has more power than the AI, then they're friendly. If the player has less, then they become more demanding. This functions mainly with the military and faith-based faction which are far mor warmongering. However, it's still within the rest of the factions' coding and if the player loses a lot of military power from, lets say the ludicrous alien swarm random event, then even the most peaceful factions (Gaian) will start demanding or declaring war. It's bad game design.
4. The spying in this game is completely broken. First, there's no inherent city defense against spy units. So, a player has to actively keep military units in either chokepoints or totally around a city to prevent spies from even touching the city. Second, they are extremely overpowered in what they can do. Steal or destroy a majority if not all of a faction's credits and research, cause massive unrest, destroy buildings and production, and even set off nukes. The only contributing factor is the percentage chance the spy will succeed in the specific sabotage which is dictated by their veterancy. It's completely broken.
5. From what I've read, everything I listed above will not be fixed by the devs as the devs have already moved on to other projects. So sad as if the problems would be fixed, then the game would be a lot better.

It's a mess and I would avoid it in it's current form.
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A developer has responded on Jun 5 @ 11:49am
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64 of 77 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
269.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
I have been playing 4x strategy games for 23 years. I remember installing Civ 1 and gluing myself to the screen. My parents would threaten me with "No civ!" from time to time and boy that worked. I went on to play and enjoy every other version of the game, extensively, despite the changes that frustrated many.

Alpha Centauri was my jam. I probably had thousands of hours played, and I STILL have it installed and still play it; in my opinion it was the best in terms of immersion and strategy. I would LOVE to see steam carry it, it would sell very well and I would have people to play with multiplayer again.

ANY WAY, this game is the modern sequel to Alpha Centauri in spirit; If you haven't played Alpha Centauri, I apologize for the reference, you should go look it up and get your hands on it. It's brutal, immersive, and has endless playability, as is Pandora. The game is not perfect, and is still being devved and updated (I trolled their forums a bit and their devs actively respond to questions and comments), but is still beautiful and brutal at the same time.

Strategy wise, it is incredibly complicated however you can start out simply till you learn the ropes. Customizable units means that you can get intel on what your oponents are using (with your nifty satellite recon operations, which are very useful), OR you can out tech everyone and have mega upgraded units that are good against everything and nearly immortal. The latter is much more difficult and expensive. It is easy to learn but hard to master, I still find myself changing my strategy mid game; discovering a new technology could change the tide of battle very easily. Getting intel that an enemy fleet is about to hit your mainland when your army is off fighting on another continent? No problem, you can research drop pods to recall your troops back to the mainland, and watch them drop from orbit to obliterate your foes on the beach.

Mid and late game can be VERY VERY HARD if you don't know what you are doing, which is something they are working to patch. The eclipse isn't so bad, but the messari invasion can be very frustrating. Here's the thing though, if you stick through it, it will make you a better 4x player. Every game you lose you will learn something from... And YES, you will lose at first. I recommend starting on very easy and low aliens until you get the hang of it. Learn to skip techs that you know you do not need based on what your armies and infrastructure need. It will take a few playthroughs to get the hang of this... The random tech tree was odd at first, but I ended up liking it very much, it gives a very unique feel to every single game in terms of the strategic decisions you make.

It is a very immersive environment, beautifully however simply rendered. Watching leviathans in the water waver, surfacing a bit and then going back down to a silhouette. The combat could be done a bit better in terms of animation, but it is not too lacking, and I can't be quite that picky as simplicity is beauty. This is a game I play on a 7 year old desktop, and it still looks good and lags just a tiny bit late game. I love watching the world darken for the eclipse, and then re emerge to light afterwards. Clouds of ash and infestation encircle the world and darken it a bit again for the messari invasion. Late game is my favorite... Dropping nukes on people, turtling then dropping massive surprise armies on people's continents, and if you are lucky enough to survive late enough and tech up well, you can SUMMON TACTICAL BLACK HOLES!!! Alternatively, ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ enemies off whom have out teched you will result in a very depressing loss via having your cities obliterated by enemy black holes. Such is life in Pandora.


It could use more music tracks and animations for leaders, and I'm sure they could afford like... Sir Patrick Stewart to do some voice overs for them.

Espionage is OP and defending against it can be frustrating. Surround your cities, and keep an eye on the events log to see when they are spotted. Espionage is getting re worked in a patch at some point, so I have heard.

Unit stack can be crippling. Being a veteran to 4x will help with this, but you can go half a game successfully and then have a very tragic loss via an insurmountable wall of enemies. In Pandora's defense, this is counterable by having good intel and making sure your armies are diverse enough. Also, orbital bombardment via satellite and artillery units are good counters to this.

The AI is dumb in the water. They will leave unit stacks in the water while moving troops, and this leaves them very vulnerable. Much similar to Civ 5.

Diplomacy could be more diverse and useful.

The AI likes to plant cities in your territory if you don't fill gaps between your cities. This is VERY frustrating, but again hopefully getting patched.

The Messari invasion will kill you until you learn to prepare for it. This, again, is getting patched (they need to either make it later or have a difficulty setting specifically for it). Preparing for it mean covering your territory, and having a diverse (and not small) army and enough production to continually resupply yourself with troops.

This is way too long of a review I need to stop typing. 9/10!
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74 of 94 people (79%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
236.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
This is a solid game in its niche marked of 4x games, and more specifically, 4x games with space age human colonization. With its only direct competitor being the blatant AAA cash-in Civ: Beyond Earth, it is clear that this dev does not have much to compete against.

Let's start with the bad, because everyone else starts with the good, and I'm a unique and interesting individual, as well as a special snowflake, so I go out of my way to be different in ways that try to be clever but miss the mark entirely.

-Lack of diversity and depth
This has been said since the beginning, and it still applies. Units lack variety, game mechanics are simplistic, factions are flaccid copies of their Alpha Centauri counterparts, and buildings have few functions. The game replaces real depth and variety with gimmicks like the Messari Invasion and the Nashira Eclipse (both paid-for DLC, of course), which get old and tired quickly.

There are only a few types of military unit: Infantry, Scout Vehicle, Tank, Mech, Helicopter, Boat, and Artillery. All factions have the exact same units, with the exception of the Messari, who have their own units, and the aliens, who also have their own units. Units all have a linear upgrade path of three tiers, corresponding with the three epochs of the tech tree. These units have Attack, Defense, Rank, Movement, and Health stats. These stats are boosted by a linear path of weapon and armor equipment, as well as gadgets, which are not linear and each grant unique abilities to the unit. The narrow scope and linear progression limit gameplay options and make unit customization a chore rather than the fun and interesting experience it should be. It also makes war less interesting. There is also little reason to have any meaningful combined arms force. There is no bonus or strategic incentive to have a variety of different types of units. This means, in theory, if you have an army of only scout vehicles against an army of helicopters, infantry, tanks, and artillery, you will win given you have the numbers, which is not at all realistic or interesting.

There are three kinds of combat: direct attack, artillery strike, and orbital strike. You will have no meaningful use of air force (since the only air unit in the game functions the same as the ground units), unit supply/logistics, morale, or other such thing that would add depth and realism to warfare.

There seems to be absolutely no effort on the part of the developers to add real depth to the game as they clearly favor gimmicks that sound cool and people will buy just because they sound cool.

-Limited Diplomacy
Diplomacy is very limited in this game. It very much comes down to agreeing not to attack each other, attacking each other, and open borders. Anything else is too hard to achieve or too useless to mention. People will complain that the AI puts too much emphasis on another faction's military power, but I have no problem with this, as it adds a competitive edge to the game as well as gives it some semblance of realism (let's be honest; when you have an ideology different from everyone else's and a ♥♥♥♥ poor military, even the Gaians would want to gobble you up.) However, I do agree that it is too simplistic in this regard. You get no sense of geopolitics, where the different factions would take into account supply and demand for resources, the layout of the land, etc. What you get is a sense that you're surrounded by countries each led by a schoolyard bully, and the only way to win is by being the biggest bully in the playground.

-Lack of mod tools/support
The devs champoined their use of the .xml format in making the game more customizable, but anyone who has attempted to mod this game will quickly discover that there is only so much you can do with them. You can change stats, you can add new techs, and other small things. But there is no way to change the UI, there is no way to make meshes/models for new units unless you have programming knowledge and patience for navigating the xml's mess of verticy coordinates, or other actually useful things if you're serious about modding. This game is not friendly to modding to any significant extent.

-Blatant cash milking
As mentioned above, depth is replaced by gimmicks. These gimmicks come in the form of DLC that you pay for. They add nothing of substance to the game. The weak espionage system introduced in the latest expansion is also little more than a gimmick.

-Solid mechanics
The game suffers from few bugs, and there is no game-breaking mechanic to make this unplayable. It's not the most fun, but it's not completely unplayable.

-Well designed atmosphere
The music, sound effects, art style, the factions, the alien life, all flow together fairly well. At first glance, it can actually be impressive. And even when that inevitable point in time comes when you get bored with it and it becomes old (because it does get old), it's at least not intolerable.

-Comprehensive UI
Unlike other games (*cough* Beyond Earth), this UI is informative and not invasive. Nothing is hidden from you. However, there is an issue with the game encyclopedia being limited to things that you've already discovered, which is frustrating for anyone who's done more than three playthroughs.

This game's selling point is that it's the spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. It very much uses the reputation of Alpha Centauri as a crutch to keep it standing, rather than standing on its own merit, which is actually quite mediocre. And of course, the devs don't plan on doing anything about this. Aside from the devs' love of gimmicky DLC, they also love to handle a bunch of projects at the same time, ensuring that none of them get the TLC they need to be worth any significant amount of time or effort. After all, why stick to a game to make improvements and developments when you can crank out half-baked cool ideas and make more sales?
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20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
52.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 19
As of now this game is gameplay wise better than beyond earth due to more extensive economy, research tree is easy to master instead of a resears circle or how i call it "bubble". Lore is actually apparent in this game due to you can actually find it when you look through some tabs there will be a tab that says "Story." This game doesnt leave you hanging and having to guess what each faction leader did in thier life or how the faction came to be. Pandora first contact lore in a nutshell, it is an alternate version of history where humanity was more enticed with space travel and drained earth of its natural resources. After searching through nooks and crannies of space they found a planet that they called pandora and sent colony ships to it. they get there on December 2107 AD and that is pretty much where the game begins. Players are not the only threat as the natural aliens will try to kill you after you A. kill aliens B. do rapid expansion and pollute. C. they will turn agressive on their own terms. Then there is and alien invasion that will come when you explore a random ruin so it is impossible to know which ruin will summon the invasion "space russian roulette!" Over all it is a good experience that is fun. Think of this game as Beyond Earth executed better not perfect though as i do have minor gripes.

My minor gripes with this game. Diplomacy is lacking though seeing as how you cant directly trade resources to people and such. a diplomatic victory is pretty much non existent seeing as how military force/ war drives the game forward. Science is just a factor to keep your cities happy, lower pollution, and keep a higher production and pump out more military units. Speaking of military units you have to have a large military on standby so it can flex its various muscles so it keeps people away. AI needs some improvement but good thing that is coming so they are still making this game better and improving the experience. I will give away one faction to be careful around which is pretty much a religous extremist group who is always hated by other factions because it keeps declaring war on everything. That large military i mentioned you need it so that AI wont attack you. Im not the most religious person on this planet but isnt that faction's AI making referance to the mentality of convert or die? At least toning down its agression would be nice because it is always the first one to die. I wonder why?

I give this game a 9/10 for better execution of concept than what Beyond earth did. I cant wait to see more improvements in the future.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
94.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 24
So I've owned this game since it first came out, or at least shortly after, either way, I'm a huge fan. The AI was better than most, the aliens were able to range from slow and dumb to fast and devastating. The game is well made, and I daresay Civ:BE stole some ideas from Pandora. The new, current version of the game is too advanced for me, which I regret admitting, but I have three AIs building nuclear facilities before I can even exit the first tech era. This game is not for the average Civ player. This game is for Pandoran survivors. How exciting can a 4x be? Well, you have the always grim threat of hostile aliens who can, and will, overrun your defenses and destroy your cities, along with massive sea beasts that will decimate entire fleets, all with giant aerial monstrosities that aid in your downfall. Want that power? Kill one and get the tech to turn aliens to your side, and use them to crush your foes along with your army. After establishing yourself, ancient beings who once presided return to their former home, hellbent on removing you and your rivals, creating a common enemy, forming a shaky peace between you, in which you will all burn and die, or triumph and sigh in relief only to have to turn your eyes to the horizon to confront your newly militarized neighbor. This is no ordinary 4x, no ordinary survival, no ordinary diplomacy. This is Pandora. Confront the new world with open arms, or bear down on it with a big stick. Form alliances to stand strong, or pick up arms against everything that moves. Be a hero, or be a monster. Either way you will never have anything go as planned, so be prepared for a hellish ride in a strange place full of enemies.
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