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 (198 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
260 of 275 people (95%) found this review helpful
37.0 hrs on record
To all turn-based strategy, 4x lovers (such as myself), I highly recommend this game. It's the best thing out before the release of Sid Meier's: Beyond Earth.

Anyone who is wondering what this game is like, I'll give you a brief idea on what it is like by saying that it feels like Civilization V with a few major differences, such as:

1. Random tech trees for each faction - you also discover new technologies after every era you pass through, to give a sense of wonder of the future

2. Unit stacks - infinite number of units per tile; like Civilization IV's stacks of death. The game has actually balanced it so that attacking with stacks is less beneficial; bombardments hurt all units within a stack, flanking (putting units next to each other in separate tiles) gives an attack/defensive bonus.

3. Customisable units - yes, you have a unit workshop and can fit different weapons/bonuses/abilities on them. There are a lot of different chassis to research (e.g. infantry, fast-attack vehicle, tank, watercraft, and more).

4. Planet wildlife - at the beginning of the game, they are not hostile. However, the wildlife can get more and more aggressive if factions fight against them, or produce a lot of pollution. They may then become the equivalant of barbarians, or even worse (if aggressive enough, they can launch a full-scale invasion on humans, threatening everyone. It could prove to be a good tactic, for militaristic players, to annoy the local wildlife so that peaceful players are threatened with annihilation). There are multiple types of wildlife, ranging from practically harmless little xenomorph drones to gigantic aquatic monstrosities.

5. City management - it works something like this; morale (happiness) is local, rather than national. Local morale has an affect on local growth, and local growth depends on whether or not you have enough food stockpiled (food pool is national). Growth is also affected by habitable space; if you don't have enough space, migration to other cities (ones which have more habitable space) will occur. Production requires minerals (also stockpiled nationally). If you run out of minerals, production will be hindered but not stopped completely. Science is gathered normally (1 scientist = +1 science). There are buildings, natural resources and tile improvements which produce percentage increases and/or a small increase in that stat. You can also move your citizen's roles (there are four roles; farmer (food resource collector), miner (mineral resource collector), worker (city producer) and scientist (science producer)) around manually, and they will automatically go to the highest yielding tile. There are other factors as well (such as wars, pollution etc), but that's just the gist of it.

6. Alien invasion - around turn 200 (normal pace), an alien force (size depends on how difficult you set difficulty level/alien aggression level) invades the planet and the world has to rally together to fight them off. It's a nice twist and a breath of fresh air, especially if the local wildlife is almost extinct by that time or if you have been playing a peaceful up until that time.

In addition, the game's presentation is very nice (introduction video, graphics, artwork, quote voice overs), soundtrack is great, UI is intuitive and smooth, optimisation is smooth as well; never lags or crashes (runs a lot better than Civilization V). The game is, amazingly, roughly 500MB, so it's a very fast download.

What can I say which is bad about the game? Well, currently, the game has more focus on combat than Civilization. The game still needs, in my opinion, to add more content which aligns the player to a more non-combat style of gameplay (e.g. something similar to culture with wonders). There are multiple victory conditions other than conquest, such as economic and research victories, but it'd be nice to have more. There is also no indication of how far ahead you are when compared with your opponents, until the last few turns before your, or your opponent's, imminent victory, warning the player.

The good news is that the developers have pledged to add more content to Pandora: First Contact, maybe in the form of expansions, if it proves to be successful. So far I think the game has been successful, hence the Steam release (the game was released months before Steam).

EDIT (7th August 2014): Just as I said before, they have continued updating the game to make it better and they have recently announced the first expansion pack, "Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira", to the game which adds espionage, better diplomacy, better aquatic gameplay (sea tile improvements etc), new factions and more.

For people hoping this to be the next Alpha Centauri, I wouldn't get your hopes too high. The game is good, and it is very similar to AC in some respects, but it's not exactly the same (e.g. no mind worms). Judge it for what it is. I played a lot of AC back in the day, and I thoroughly enjoy this game for what it is.

If you're still not convinced, or somewhat unsure whether or not to pay for the full price of £22 or $36, just wait for the eventual sale. I'd definitely call you a madman for not getting it then.
Posted: May 31
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218 of 237 people (92%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
I've been playing this since it came out and redeemed my steam key an hour ago, so I've played a lot more then steam says.

If you're a Civ or Alpha Centurai vet who's looking to find your fix, then this will definitely do the job.

Pros:

+Unique style ofeconomy that offers more interesting choices and challenging situations then Civ.
+Impressive military AI, plays tactically and is good at both land and navy.
+Randomized tech tree spices every game up, prevents build orders.
+Making poor decisions and playing carelessly is often punished.
+Good interface for strategy vets. Very clean and informative.
+Aliens are diverse and fun, the world feels hostile and unforgiving.
+The soundtrack has some great songs.

Cons:

-Some tile improvements really need a graphical upgrade.
-Diplomatic AI needs an overhaul. There isn't enough intrigue and scheming.
-The soundtrack is too short.
-Needs more content! More maps, factions, terrain, interesting mechanics...

Overall if you're a strategy fan then you'll find there's lots to enjoy with this one. Lots of interesting and fun mechanics.
Posted: May 30
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76 of 82 people (93%) found this review helpful
60.3 hrs on record
I wish I could give this game more thumbs up. It is simply amazing.

The UI is so good it's nearly transparent. You always have access to the information you need. The busy-work is stripped out, and you're left with only the fun, meaningful decisions. Also, for the first time that I can remember, they do unit upgrades correctly. The starting units can be meaningful and useful in the end game, if you keep them upgraded with the latest tech.

I've been playing turn-based strategy games a long time, and they always end up playing the same way. I was just looking for a graphics update out of this game, but it actually changed the formula for me enough that I had to change my playstyle to adapt to the game. That's brilliant - it feels new and fresh rather than just another rehash of the old, stale status quo.

I think the addition of a truly dangerous PvE component really spices up the game. You've got to adapt to the situation. The randomized tech tree paths also help ensure that each game has its own unique story - it sounds weird, but it works.

I highly recommend this game. It's a serious contender for my game-of-the-year pick.
Posted: June 2
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105 of 140 people (75%) found this review helpful
13.4 hrs on record
MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Pandora has some great ideas, some good content, but realy does fail to deliver especialy at it's current price.
It's a CIV V influenced 4X strategy game set in the future where man has colonised a new world 'Pandora' and has set to mucking up the place.

PRAISE

*The game plays very smoothly, in 2 campaigns I have only experienced 1 bug which is more than I can say for CIV.

*The pacing works well, the changes to the formula with the randomising tech tree, the unit designer and the alien natives help the game feel fresh.

*It does it's theme well, it does feel like you're starting off at the tech level of the Alien franchise and advancing your way up to Star Trek TNG.

FAULTS

*The game has a poorly implemented Polution mechanic that has done nothing but baffle me, as your cities produce pollution your populace becomes unhappy and the native Xenomorphs get more aggressive. Sounds ok but not only is it ludicrously easy to control polution with no benefits to polluting, but sometimes you get little pop ups about the state of the world, but you can't track any global stats and so you can't tell which of the various nations is apparently chocking the skies. As for the results of polluting, save for the xenomorphs (who are also easy to defeat) I couldn't see a single issue in the world.

*The Tech tree is DULL, very dull. nearly everything on the tree will provide you with either a building, a project (perminant global bonus on completion) or weapons tech to outfit your troops. But every building does the same thing, increase a single stat in your city. Every Project does the same but for all cities and save for the XP booster and the Regen items, all the unit equipment does is change their power stat. This is such a waste, I imagined that equiping illusion fields to a troop would give them stealth, or that using metabolic boosts would give an activated ability. But all the tech does is improve some numbers. In one of my campaigns I ended up making all my citizens into downloadable consciounesses apparently, did this affect gameplay? Not in the slightest.

*Every Unit ends up the same, as all the equipment does is increase stats then you don't need to make hard choices with designing your units, here's all you'll need: Infantry with flames, tanks with rockets, tanks with lasers, flyers with rockets and maybe 1 mech to keep yourself from getting bored. Everytime you advance to the next era build that era's units, forget about the old one it can't put a scratch on the next tier. As units never get any activatible abilities from their equipment the only trade off is production time, but seeing as your cities are getting more advanced by the second you can easily keep up. I spent an entire campaign never researching ships or ATV's, why would I when I can orbitaly drop soldiers anywhere on the map (including empty enemy cities) and I have plains to do my scouting who have greater movement and resistances.

*The lack of factions is also a problem for me, they are each focused on one extreme ideal, Military, Science, Theology (completly pointless as there is no religion system), Economy, Industry and Ecology. Their leaders have long dossiers on backstory and principles with set appearances, but unlike CIV V where you had a voice acted exchange with them, its all done in minimalistic pre-made text options. There are no unique factin units, items or equipment you just recieve a flat buff and a penelty to some aspect of your society, like the Ecologists who pollute less and gain a benefit from forest tiles but whoes military are 50% less effective (haven't used them for a reason). If we have to use pre-made factions then at least make them feel different from one another.

*Diplomacy is bare bones. All it is is a few options to either Demand X, Give X, Propose X. Granted this was with the AI and you can have all sorts of backstabbing against your real world friends, but theres no ability to give someone units, to trade tech or resources or to even set up trade routes to make it feel like your nations are tied to one another. With the AI this realy does make it feel like your on your own against everything, they tend to change personality at the drop of a hat, break alliances that cost a boatload of cash to build and just generaly act like prescripted, poorly fleshed out programs like they are.

*Victory conditions are terribly limited. you either win by controlling 75% of the population (military), researching 75% of all tech (science), or have more money than Space God (economic). thats it, no multistage tasks, no reprecutions for your misdeeds or rewards for being good, apparently everyone decided that because you got the ability to build farms just before they did (even if you were neck and neck in tech) that you won and are now master of Pandora.

*The end is unsatisfying. At one point I was worried that I was going to be told that I was lord of a dead planet because of all the pollution caused by the industrialist faction (global pollution warnings having said things about thick smog etc) but at the victory screen it all meant nothing, there was no after story, no summery of events, nothing to actualy tell me the state of Pandora 'How badly was it damaged? what were the alien ruins about? do the Messara (evil alien invasion which died in 4 turns) return? No idea, you won have a medal and start again.


CONCLUSIONS

Pandora has some neat ideas, decent technical design and has no glairing failures. But it also has no great content to recomend it by, it falls flat on delivering a satisfying campaign and throughout the entirity of a game theres nothing to break the mould. The game plays the same way no matter who you are from begining to end with the ability to adapt units being just a drawn out way of giving global buffs to your soldiers. It lacks key features such as globally tracked stats, and it has no visual representation of changes to the world.

In short this game is not worth the money they want for it, if you need a new 4X and you want a Sci-FI one then get Galactic Civilisation II. Maybe grab this on offer because I did hav fun for the first hour or so of both my campaigns.
Posted: June 12
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67 of 93 people (72%) found this review helpful
14.7 hrs on record
Great Game! The randomized tech tree needs a little getting used to but beside that every thing you want from a 4x game.
Posted: May 30
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