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 (197 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Buy Pandora: Complete Edition

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

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Recommended By Curators

"It's everything you'd want in a sci-fi version of Civilization: aliens, future technology, and mysterious ruins to discover as you colonize a new world."
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Recent updates View all (8)

October 9

Eclipse of Nashira Version 1.5.3 Released

Added:
* Added button to toggle grid in the world screen.

Changed:
* Changed steal / sabotage modifier from 25% - 100% to 25% - 75%.
* Increased upkeep for suburbs and purifiers from 2 to 3.
* Building suburbs now requires Pandoran Construction.
* City tile now provides +1 food and +1 minerals.

Fixed:
* Fixed a single drop pod being able to drop an entire unit stack.
* Fixed amphibious formers not being able to explore ruins.
* Fixed crashes and empty strings for diplomacy actions involving third parties in multiplayer.
* Fixed incorrect hotkey listed for the grow fungus order.
* Minor language fixes.

Change log history.

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October 4

Multiplayer Gathering Today!

We're playing some grand multiplayer matches in 3 hours (4 pm CET), so come join us on Teamspeak www.the-battlefield.com if you want to chat or play. Everyone welcome.

See http://steamcommunity.com/app/287580/discussions/0/613936673579329797/ for more info.

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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

PC
Mac
Linux
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • 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
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • 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
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • 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
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
If you liked Alpha Centarui or any Civ game for that matter, you will love this game.

Like others have said, it isn't really fair to compare Pandora to Civ as there are minor differences, but the genre and feel are definitely nostalgic, and reflect on older Civ games in a good way.

After 10 hours of playtime on a campaign (Huge map, long settings, all factions) I havent run into any game-breaking frustrations. The only one that I can think of is that the game starts to take awhile between turns the further you go, but honestly thats an issue all games of this genre have (when you reach the point of the entire map being colonized and hundreds if not thousands of units running around, etc.)

Cool community. Theres a nice competitive scene out there if you are interested in that sort of stuff.

10/10.
Posted: October 9
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
The game has a lot of potential, however the AI seems to have a mind of it own and your strongest and most trustworthy ally can turn against you in one turn.
Resource production on each city seems to do whatever it likes, no matter how many times you change it to suit your current needs...I believe its default setting is STARVATION!
I do enjoy the game, it reminds me of the fun i used to have back in the days of CIV 2 and Alpha Centauri (CIV 2 was my first CIV game and therefore new and exciting at the time).

I hope the few problems this game has are ironed out soon as I do thoroughly enjoy it...I just hope it doesn't get overshadowed by its already popular rival CIV: Beyond Earth.

I believe this game will miss out on many sales due to the imminent release of CIV:BE and it's asking price (almost that of its formidable and (normally) brilliant rival).

It's hard to say if it's worth the money at the moment, as there are many good aspects of the game; Unfortunately the diplomatic and economic aspects of the game are nowhere near the grade you'd expect.

I'll probably play this until I buy CIV: BE (probably next payday)... I doubt I'll play much after though.
Posted: October 1
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
27.2 hrs on record
A great 4X game, what I used to cure down my hype in waiting for the release of Beyond Earth.
Although the game has quite a steep learning, REALLY took me alot of playthroughs and restarts ("rage quits" you might call them) to get things going right in the game (e.g. Prioritizing the wrong things).

TL:DR;
Like it or not, Military is VERY IMPORTANT in the game; you arrive on this new planet, Pandora; peaceful at first (depending on your alien agression difficulty), but eventually the planet will become very hostile towards you (and other factions). Aliens (Native Wildlife) in the game behaves similarly to Barbarians in Civ, their main purpose is to cause trouble and possibly wreck havoc in your new cities (with the exception that Aliens can actually raze entire cities in a turn). However, Barbarians will always attack you, but their not that strong, usually a good combination of 2-3 units can deal with most of those issues. But for Aliens, they won't attack you right from the start (that's why exploration is safe and actually a necessity); but when they do, they can be really troublesome; barbarians quite often invade in individuals, but aliens invade in large groups. Have a bad military and your city is prone to destruction. Other more powerful aliens (e.g. Galeths, Aspidochs) attack you much later in the game, prioritize the right things (e.g. research on weps) and you can deal with them (with the lost of a few units in some cases); otherwise be prepared to lose a few cities. Keep playing longer, then there's a third type of alien invasion that can even be more of an issue for unprepared factions (having little military), but I'll leave it for you to discover.

Not prioritizing military was in fact one of the earliest mistakes I made that ultimately led to the doom of my faction sadly.

In terms of AI, it's overall well-designed; aliens can become a true hassle, AIs are in general very expansionistic and can be very militarily aggressive (that's why maintaining a positive military really helps you from AI threats). However, the diplomacy system within the game seems to be to basic and easy to manipulate. There's not much feeling or complexity to it. Believe it or not, factions are strangely very eager to go to war with other factions that they maintain a "reserved" or lower relationship with. Unless the opposing faction has an overwhelming superior military, the option "demand war declaration on third party" surprising works very well if you use it on the right parties (being "reserved" is sufficient). You can use to create large scale global conflicts of wars being factions and other factions while you just sit there and watch. Amazingly, even AIs who dislike you (being "reserved") will comply to those war demands if the third party is someone they are less than neutral with.
It would be very appreciated if the devs could do refining in order to improve it and add more complexity (something I am looking forward to).

Maybe this is the aspect that makes the game quite militaristic and expansionistic after all.

I would recommend this game, including it's DLC (Eclipse of Nashira) as it does give a nice additional flavor and element towards the planet's hostile nature, to those who are in space-themed 4X games, and especially those who are waiting for the release of Beyond Earth.
Although, the game does come with a hefty price tag, however for those who are reading this on the day I post this, there's a current promotional sale (I believe it's 33%) due to the new release for the DLC. If you are looking to get it, now couldn't be a better time (however there's always hope for the steam summer sale).
Nevertheless, I did in fact paid the full price tag for the game, and I do not regret doing so.
Posted: September 26
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Some people call this game Civ in space. It is not the first game to recieve this nickname, nor will it be the last. At its simplest, Pandora is a 4x strategy game that very closely resembles the Civilization franchise. What it truly is, however, is a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri (the true 'Civ in space'). This game looks and feels like Alpha Centauri down from its visuals to its alien threats to having to deal with hazardous space fungus.

And so, what we have here is an alternative to Civ: Beyond Earth. Think of Pandora as a baseline which C:BE must surpass. Because if the TRUE successor to Alpha Centauri cannot defeat the spiritual successor, a lot of people will be disappointed. And whereas it is not without its flaws (limited number of factions, a single visual style for all factions), Pandora: First Contact is a solid, enjoyable game. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something to play whilst waiting for the release of Beyond Earth. And if Beyond Earth turns out to be a flop, Pandora is there to take its place.

I heartily recommend.
Posted: October 11
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Anyone who loves Alpha Centauri should check out this game :)
Posted: September 23
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.4 hrs on record
This game has everything you want on a 4X turn based strategy game set in a distant future. You have bloodthirsty aliens that will attack you over and over again to raze your cities, a randomized tech tree, a detailed unit customizer so you can create your unit based on your needs and what you have discovered… and a bunch of different factions with different traits to try. On top of that you have the new powerful military operations that allow you to quickly bombard enemy lines or directly erase entire forces. This game reminds me a lot to the old Alpha Centauri… so, if you liked that classic game, you MUST try this one too.
Posted: September 24
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2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
10.7 hrs on record
I will keep this brief.

It is just not that good, not terrible but not great, you have seen it and done it.

There is nothing new in this, just copied ideas etc, in the end ends up boring to play and also not very nice to look at.

There is alot better around, try Endless Legend, now thats a 4x game!
Posted: September 30
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
So after playing for most of a day I can say this game is not really worth the asking price. Generally the game does have faults in the way the maps are randomized everyone pretty much is starting on top of each other.

Progress is slow in terms of researching helpful tech
Yes it does randomize the tech tree but does not really add to the experience
Units are either over powered or under powered so not much challenge during battles
Diplomacy seems ok in this game which surprised me.

Wait till it gets down to $!0 and you will be happier but I can not recommend this game
Posted: September 28
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
I was a bit nervous of some of the bad reviews and the price was more than I normally pay for games but I was impatient for Civ: Beyond Earth and wanted some 4x SF hexagon action so I took a chance. And it's great! Not much to say really- it's exactly the kind of game you'd expect: civ v on an alien planet with customizable units like in Alpha Centauri. This is now the baseline that Beyond Earth will be compared to. (Well, I know AC is probably better than both of them but it's nice to have modern graphics and widescreen...)
Posted: September 25
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
i started playing this game and now i cant stop
Posted: September 26
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
If you loved Alpha Centauri and dumped many hours of your life into it over the years, this is the game for you! Takes all of the best aspects of Sid Meier's original game and brings it into 2014. Absolutely get it! This 4X game ROCKS!
Posted: September 26
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
25.3 hrs on record
It's basically Alpha Centauri. With a visual update, missing some features, and a little more humor. The AI isn't all that great on balance, ranging from pushover constructed of wet toilet paper to steamroller technowizard.
Those complaints aside, it has a beautiful, awesome UI (I don't know what it is, but it -feels- good to use it) and IT'S ALPHA CENTAURI WITH A VISUAL UPDATE. Definitely worth thirty bucks if you're a SMAC fan, but if you're not feeling the price tag, definitely pick it up when it inevitably goes on sale. There's no reason not to, and it'll tide you over (or distract you from) the upcoming Beyond Earth.
Posted: September 28
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
58.9 hrs on record
At first glance, this seemed to be a not particularly ambitious reskin of Civ 5, with a heady helping of Alpha Centauri nostalgia. The more I've played it, the more I've come to respect it as an improvement on the form.

The Good:
Unforgiving Difficulty
Great Flavortext - really, it adds a lot to the game.
Lots of interesting tactical options, particularly with unit design
Great support for modding (You can do some simple stuff yourself with no computer ability to speak of, like re-designing the faction bonuses.)

The Bad:
Unforgiving DIfficulty
Abysmal balance, especially in the late game. Single spies seem able to completely shut down entire factions, and slight advances in technology lead to instant military supremacy.
Military focus - all of the other aspects of your strategy really exist to support the might of your military.
High luck factor - your starting conditions, plus some stuff that happens further into the game, can really screw you over if it goes badly.

Still, all in all I was impressed, and have had a lot of fun with the game.
Posted: September 28
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
63.2 hrs on record
No, this is not Alpha Centauri! No, this is not Civ: Beyond Earth. To be honest; it doesn't really match up to anything Sid Meijer and his studio make. But this is a fun game!

The depth of play is kinda shallow. The Aliens too important (they are like the Civ barbarians on steroids; too overbearing). The map is kinda smallish. Even on the lowest difficulty setting every city is constantly struggling and in need of micromanagement. Especially that last part is a challenge.

But on the other side: The game is very moddable (documentation is lacking but the devs will answer your questions), the unit system is very very good (You can keep upgrading units whilst keeping their experience. You could end up with your first Infantry dude killing the last enemy at the end of the game). Development paths pretty straightforward.

All in all: It's kinda like a casual version of SMAC or CivInSpace. Where you take a week, maybe two, to play a civ game, you can do a Pandora in a night or two. I would definitely recommend this.
Posted: October 2
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
At first when I saw this game, I thought "Not Civ? Whattttttttttt" And because of that I did not buy it. Time went along and I constantly came back to the store page thinking "Civ:BE is so far off" Fast forward to steam summer sales, this was 10% off and I took the plunge. I must say the game is amazing, and I am very glad I did.

As of this post, Eclipse of Nashira has been released, before this expansion the game lacked a bit of depth. With the new expansion I think the game more then makes up for its short comings, and overall I am enjoying the game. I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the civ series. This game does fall a little short in some areas, but its still being worked on and its actually quite fun.
Posted: October 5
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
84.3 hrs on record
This is more of a first impression than a review. Quite a lot of the in game time steam recorded is actually just idling while the launcher was still open.

Pandora: First Contact is a turn based strategy game that tries to revive Sid Meier's Alpha Centaury, strapping it over a modern framework. At that it succeeds.. mostly. While the UI is certainly a lot more user-friendly than that Alpha Centaury had, you'd often like some more information about the progress of your empire.

While the visuals are objectively a straight upgrade form it's spiritual predecessor it still doesn't look all that up to date with some blurry terrain meshes here and there or textures that could have used just a little more polishing. It runs perfectly fine though, at least for me, with a steady framerate even later in the game with much more stuff to process.

It features a quite expansive, randomized techtree that'll take quite a lot of time to get through to the end and while you can customize your units with different waepons, armor and devices the tiered, straight nature of the techtree leaves you with little suprises. New weapons are always just a better version of previous ones with just x more damage, nothing fancy.

Diplomacy is rather bare bones as well with not all that much different options and not always your rivals react reasonable to your actions. You may nuke half of the planet and Mrs. Harmony-and-save-the-planet doesn't give a damn while Lady Religious-Fanatic even though you nuked the warmongering Imperium (which they were at war with as well). Said Imperium declared war on first contact on me by the way. I mean.. they are warmongers and don't like anyone but.. that's quite extreme. I played as the Solar Dynasty, sort of China in space - highly productive, fast growing but reckless which results in a lot more pollution. (save-the-planet liked me though...)
In general the different ideologies don't seem to matter all that much. You pick a faction with fixed strengths and weaknesses and stick with that; no policy system as Civ 5 had for example. Not even the social engineering Alpha Centaury had is present in any way.

They added espionage with their latest DLC along with water-tile improvements and some other interesting but ultimately not that relevant content. Espionage is... well, it works though it's not half as powerfull as you might think as agents are treated as regular units on the map. The way they work is best compared to the privateer unit in Civ 5. They show up as factionless units on the map and may attack empires you are not at war with without consequences though they lack the power to be effective at that. In fact they are easily killed even by the most basic infantry unit. IF they can get to a city though, they may be quite rewarding, based on the economical or scientific strength of your rivals. The only way to be able to get to a city for me so far had been to send a stack of 4 or more agents to a city and just hope they don't get stomped on on their way there - quite costly in production.

All that little flaws put aside that are inherent to games with a very limited budget it still is a solid game. Solid economy-system, solid combat, solid visuals, solid techtree, a good UI and enough things threatening your fledgeling empire to keep you constantly on edge at least up until late midgame.
For the low price you'll get 20-30 hours of fun and addictive "just one more turn" gameplay, if not more.
It may not have the depth of the original Alpha Centauri or the refined looks and gameplay of Civ 5 but, at least until Civilization: Beyond Earth is released, it serves as a rocksolid civ game with sci-fi based setting of which there aren't all that many around.

Fun, addictive, good looking if a little bare boned - Recommended.
Posted: October 9
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
I played - or rather endured - this game for seven hours. I was bored through the whole thing. There's nothing exciting about this game. I somehow convinced myself that this was supposed to hold me over until Beyond Earth comes out. It was just a waste of money.

The graphics are boring and bland. Pertinent information is crammed together and generally uses white text. The sounds and music are uninteresting. I don’t feel like I’m trying to survive some harsh and bizarre alien landscape, but rather trying to beat the AI in a land grab and an arms race.

One thing this game does well is keep things simple and to the point. But unfortunately it fails at everything else.
Posted: September 27
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
At first glance this game is great, and maybe some people will never look at it past that point. But it seems to me the AI is quite weak, for both the other Civs and the mobs. Early on in the game you're extremely weak, and you'll probably be dead in the early stages in most games. If you do make it past that point, you quickly become invincible. The tedium for me began when I realized that as hard as the early game was, the later game often was as easy. The AI civs are often dead well before the game gets very far. Not all of them, but many.

I got the game 50% off, and for that price I'd recommend it. But for the full price? No. I'd wait for something more refined to come along. Since I can't really recommend it based upon the assumption you'll always get it for half price like I did, I'm not going to recommend this game.

What this really does for me is prove what a master Sid Meier is at what he does.
Posted: September 25
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
18.5 hrs on record
I wish there was a 3rd choice for the recommend this game but since there isn't and I don't think a thumbs up would do the review justice I say no. This feels like Civ 3 with more spacy feeling to it. Is it a totally bad game NO but it lacks a nice end game. It lacks replayablity. The AI is very basic and the Diplomacy is just not really there it takes a lot to get the ai to be mad at you. Even on harder settings but for 20 bucks I spend more on the movies sometimes so that's why I wish there was a 3rd choice a neutral choice. If your looking for something to tie you over to Civ Beyond Earth it will probably do.
Posted: September 26
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Pandora is a good game with a few things that ruin the game.
1. There is no manual no wiki nothing about how to play the game. Few tips appear while playing, but since I did not know a thing about anything, it wasn't helpful at all.
2. As the game progresses, waiting for an opponents turn seems like an eternity.
3. It gets repetitive pretty soon, the tech trees are all the same, just improving some stats, no real use of weapons or cool gadgets, since every battle is just click to kill.
and the last
4. No campaign at all. This would have been an awesome thing, there could have been a really cool story going on, while teaching you everything etc. Missed a great opportunity.
5. I played only one game, trying to win economically as the economic faction .The difficulty was set to easy, since I was only learning it. Everything went better than expected, only one faction remained, I was at 99% to victory, every city guarded and than a f***ing agent came out of nowhere and stolen almost everything, putting me back to 22% and losing. How the hell is that possible. Who came up with that AI???? I would like to know how to defend myself against agents, but where? I could find more tutorials on how to eat a banana then on how to play this game.

Overall, I had a lot of fun in the first third of the game, I loved the sci-fi mood of the game, but because of the missing tutorial, campaign and awful AI, I would not buy it again.
Posted: September 30
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