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 (316 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 (16)

July 13

Eclipse of Nashira Beta r5851 Released

Opt-in to the beta version by right-clicking on Pandora in your Steam library, choosing Properties and selecting the beta under the Betas tab.

* Increased research costs for mechanization and transcendance eras.
* AI now considers the cost of a technology instead of its tier when weighting its value against other technologies.
* AI now considers defensive buildings as vital.
* AI will now build less units with flamethrowers once mechanical units are available.
* AI will now only stop to heal their colonizers when they are severely damaged.
* AI will now be more likely to fight with damaged units when they are in a city under siege in order to try and break the siege.
* AI will now be even more careful about using artilleries.
* Aggression value now plays more of a role for the AI to decide whether to go to war, making peaceful factions much less likely to go to war.
* AI will prefer defending with biological units while sending tanks to the attack.
* AI considers technologies that grant flat bonus buildings more valuable. (This will help the AI get the Recycling Tanks from the AC Factions Mod, which they would often ignore before.)
* AI now considers the safety of a city location in regards to aliens much more important.
* AI will now again send the closest potential defender to an undefended city instead of the best.
* Replaced complicated calculation intense military allocation formula by an extremely simple one, that does the job just as fine.
* AI will now make two cycles for rushbuilding in order to prioritize buildings and advancements over units.
* AI now only considers cities it actually knows when deciding whether to build naval or land units.
* AI now makes the same considerations about building Colonization Fervor that it does when deciding whether to build colonizers.
* AI will no longer acquire targets with its land artilleries that it cannot reach.
* AI will no longer attack unaggressive aliens when it would win but could lose its unit in the process.
* During a siege the AI will now retreat units that could be killed by the city's defenders.
* AI will no longer try to heal its damaged units while enemy units are nearby.

* Fixed an issue where damaged AI units would walk all the way back home instead of healing where they are.

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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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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
90 of 115 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person 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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21 of 25 people (84%) 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 10 people (70%) 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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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
13.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 22
Actually quite enjoyable. A lot of depth, I like the randomized tech tree as it allows for serious differences in tech/military between empires/playthroughs. Some of the high level techs are a wee bit OP, like the black hole generator - seriously, it kind of defeats the purpose of having armies.

But, yeah, it's a fun game and it's not the sort of thing you'll play once and drop. I'd have more hours logged but this thing sucks up time like nobody's business so I have to be careful or else I find myself losing an entire weekend to it.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
6.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 14
TL;DR: Is this game a just a cheap copy of Civ: Beyond Earth? No, it's better.

I'm only a couple of hours into my first game, and I already know that this is a game I will spend a lot of time with.

First off, yes, it looks alot like Civ: Beyond Earth. The Civ games are what got me into the 4X genre, though not until Civ 4, so I'm a little late to the party. I played Civ: Beyond Earth for a few hours during a free weekend. And, like most, I wasn't very impressed.

The first thing I noticed that sets this game apart from Civ games is the city management. I really like how I can arrange my population to focus on producing food, minerals, science, and production. If I need to produce some units quickly, I can ramp down science, minerals, or food temporarly and focus on production. Then ramp production down when needed. This makes it easy to balance your economy.

I also like how you can upgrade units to have better weapons and defenses. Galactic Civilizations and some other 4X games allow this, but IMO upgrading your units can get way too complicated. Unit customization and upgrading in Pandora: First Contact isn't nearly as complicated. Though this may come as a con to some of the more hardcore 4X players.

Another difference is that the tech tree is randomized. I'm only on my first game, so I'm not sure how much this really effects things. If I hadn't known that the tech tree is randomized, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

I'll update this review as I progress though my games.
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