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 (205 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
18 of 21 people (86%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
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.
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
299.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 13
I highly recommend this game to any and all strategists.

So, for anyone considering this game i would like to point out a few things:

+ Easy to learn, hard to master.
+ Awesome performance. - Running pretty well and smooth, even on huge maps.
+ Unit Stacking. - Similar to Civ IV.
+ Lots of micro-managements. (Food, Pollution, Moral etc)
+ Customisable units.
+ Random tech tree.
+ Moddable.
+ Great music and sound.
+ Decent AI.

- No Asynchronous Multiplayer.

I can't really find fault with the game. Anyway the weakest point is AI.

★★★★★
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
14.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
forget civ beyond earth.... THIS is the true x4 alpha centauri soul successor...

seriously, having played civ beyond earth i now realise how superior pandora first contact is, the planets of pandora feel alive, the menu is more indepth (were as in beyond earth they cut it and will dlc it later) the aliens are everywere (unlike in beyond earth were you may see 2 alien units per planet circumfrance) the world of pandora feels more alive and more active than civs new game....

THIS is the beyond earth you were looking for!

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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
Surprisingly better than Civ beyond Earth in many ways. Get them both.
The world feels a lot more alien than Civ BE and this is a good thing.
Random tech tree.
Hostile Aliens.
Alien invasion late game.
Eclispe brings out some nasties.
Diplomacy lacking but useable. Still better than Civ BE trade hubs.
Recommend.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 9
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.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Do you like Civilization? Specifically did you like civilization 4? Because this is just Civ 4 in space with some shiny awesome bells and whistles, and a bunch of new features that add depth. But the core gameplay, if you liked civ 4 you will like pandora. Also the game has this weird sort of story that unfolds as you advance in tech, not to mention really cool backstories for all the characters/ factions. Anyway that's about it its a good game, very complex and interesting, almost as replayable as civilization, though not quite. Still if you want 100+ hours of gameplay from every game you buy, then you will get your money's worth if you like Turn Based Strategy.

If your wondering about how much i played, I bought this as well as Rome Total War at the same time, but if that wasn't the case I probably would have played it quite a bit more.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
Pandora: First contact is basically a modern version of Alpha Centauri on a hex grid, as opposed to Civilization Beyond Earth, which is essentially Civ 5 in space. Like AC, Pandora includes unit customization, terraforming, randomized tech trees and factions with distinct leaders and philosophies alongside a rich backstory and a detailed compendium. In addition to this, varied alien aggression and several alien-related events can easily disrupt the balance of power in a game, forcing players to react to new threats and even form tenuous alliances to overcome them. While the game only includes a few unit chassis (infantry, light vehicles, tanks, aircraft, mechs and dreadnoughts), each of these unit types can fill different roles with the wide range of weapons and specialized equipment available - it's not uncommon to find yourself with 3 different types of tanks, for instance. Lastly, the problem of "death stacks" isn't as large as it is in games like Civilization 4, as features such as orbital bombardment and artillery can damage entire unit stacks, punishing this strategy.

The only complaint I have at the time of writing this review is that the espionage system is too powerful in the hands of the player; it's possible, using two spies, to completely prevent an AI player from researching technologies and amassing wealth - while the AI is capable of using this same strategy (and they try), a human player will likely counteract this by positioning units around cities while an AI player won't.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 1
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.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
84.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 9
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.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 5
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.
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4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
63.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
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.
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2 of 9 people (22%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
The game AI needs work. I've played these type of games for years but even on easy the AI seems to outbuild me on troops. Or I've got overwhelming troops (over twice their unit score) and lose.
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0 of 5 people (0%) found this review helpful
135.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
Really on good on multiplater, singleplayer beware, the game is extremely hard to get anything working, and the ai will do everything it can to destroy you, always rushing you, or sending endless waves of enemies at you. Beyond is worth much more.
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3 of 25 people (12%) found this review helpful
38.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
i dont like this game because its really hard on any difficultys on single player.
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70.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
One of the easyier to learn 4x games in the gene, the interface and mathematics behind decisions is very knowable and clean. Thier isn't some odd formula that gives your production output, and what slows production down. tatic depth with the unit design is simple to understand for your choices of type, weapon, armor, but Deep when you start having units with different abilities it becomes very deep. The game has features that punish stacks of doom, but allow a playier to have some army stacks provided that they don't have enough bombardment to deal with all your stacks. I prefer armys composition of units with defense bonus ability as my vangard and flankers, while using bombards to weaken the flank unit, and one or two really expensive if it kills the unit it takes no damage ability (frist strike), to have a force that takes out units without sustaining damage. The factions are very simple to understand, but have enough difference to very different feel each time. The Green Faction(Space hippyies) is very difficult to slam into an ecomic boundry, its easy to have a stable econmic expansion, where the red faction (Space china) slams at it with as much force as it can when trying to expand. Its clear why the red faction and the green factions play so differently quickly for a 4x game.
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12.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
I was pleasantly surprised by Pandora. Having played Civ:BE now, I have to say that Pandora did several things better, from the threat posed by the world to unit design. I can even see merits in the Pandora tech tree concept. The unit designer is also a nice plus. Spying really needs a rework, though. Overall, grab this one on sale, and enjoy.
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261 of 276 people (95%) found this review helpful
37.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 31
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.
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218 of 237 people (92%) found this review helpful
8.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
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.
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77 of 83 people (93%) found this review helpful
60.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 2
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.
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109 of 144 people (76%) found this review helpful
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
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.
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