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.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (382 reviews) - 66% of the 382 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Buy Pandora: Complete Edition

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

Downloadable Content For This Game

 

Recent updates View all (24)

May 23

Eclipse of Nashira Beta 1.6.7 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.

Changed:
* Names of the difficulty levels now fit what they feel like for new players instead of what they felt like before the AI improvements.
* New easy AI can now once again declare war on the player. But they will not consider other players relations and they will never declare war on the player when he already is at war.
* New medium AI no longer has dramatically reduced chance to declare war on the player. But they will not consider other players relations and they have dramatically reduced chance to declare war on the player when he already is at war.
* The diplomatic penalty for capturing cities has been normalized to be relative to the average population rather than the population of the previous city owner. This will reduce the likelyhood of a dogpile against the one who got the last city.
* AI will consider habitat provided by suburbs as slightly less valuable and expand a little more.
* AI will now consider the alien aggression settings of the game when considering when to expand. They expand earlier on settings below "very high".
* AI will now build colonizers and formers when at war but their military power is strong compared to that of their enemies.
* When AI has a storage of food and doesn't need to farm, it will now assume an average yield of 3 to prevent it from building useless farms in that period.
* AI will now build more aircraft units in inland cities when there are a lot of coastal cities.
* AI no longer considers standings and war status of other factions when deciding its diplomatic actions.
* AI will be far less aggressive towards weak players they like and more aggressive towards players they dislike, even if those are really dangerous.

Fixed:
* Fixed an issue that allowed the the AI to know whether a city was undefended or not without having vision.
* Fixed incorrect difficulty level description texts for dutch, french, german and italian.
* Fixed an issue where it was possible for the AI to sign contracts or ask for tribute in the same turn that it would declare war.
* Fixed an issue where AI would not determine the coastal to inland city ratio properly and thus underproduce naval forces on archipelago maps.
* Fixed an issue where AI would never attack cities when they didn't have access to artillery units yet.

2 comments Read more

May 4

Slitherine lands on Bundle Stars!

Amazing news!

We are happy to announce that Slitherine lands on Bundle Stars!

Starting from today a number of our games will be sold on the Bundle Stars store at a very special discount price!

If you are of a mind to save don’t miss this amazing offer. A whole Slitherine bundle comprising of three different tiers with so many titles at an incredibly cheap price. Three games for 1.99$, seven for 3.99$ and eight for 7.99$!

https://www.bundlestars.com/en/bundle/slitherine-bundle

The details of the bundle are as follow:

Tier 1: $1.99

- Battle of the Bulge
- Time of Fury
- Pride of Nations

Tier 2: $3.99 (including Tier 1!)


- Vietnam ‘65
- Ravenmark
- Legions of Steel
- Close Combat Panthers in the Fog

Tier 3: $7.99 (Including Tier 1 and Tier 2!)


- Pandora First Contact


The Bundle offer is valid until May 14th!

But it’s not all, folks. Be sure not to miss these amazing discounts on some of our other titles:

Battle Academy – 75% off!
Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front – 75% off!
Battle of the Bulge – 33% off!
Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager – 50% off!
Distant Worlds: Universe – 50% off!
Last Days of Old Earth – 15% off!
Order of Battle: Pacific – 40% off!
Vietnam ’65 – 50% off!
Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – 35% off!

All the discounts will be valid for 72 hours.

By buying these titles on Bundle Stars you will receive Steam keys and you will need to activate the products on Steam.


What are you waiting for? Don’t miss this unique opportunity and visit the Bundle Stars store now!

3 comments Read more

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

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + 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)
    • Storage: 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)
    • Storage: 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)
    • Storage: 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)
    • Storage: 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)
    • Storage: 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)
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mixed (382 reviews)
Recently Posted
mrhade
Posted: May 18
I played the beta thru Slitherine before it came to Steam. It's now a very boring game. I just recently got this, was hoping it had improved, it hasn't. Actually I think it's gotten worse.

AI diplomacy is too erratic to be useful. This is how it went for me: They offered Trade Agreement, then Research, then non-aggression, two turns later AI cancelled non-aggression, research, and trade, followed by denouncing me, another few turns I was praised, followed by non-aggression pact, etc, etc.

The game plays like this, you have global food and minerals, as long as those two are positive, your cities will grow and you can build units and buildings. If food goes into negatives, city population goes down. If minerals go into negatives, you can't build anything. Improving hexes around your cities only affects those two (global food & minerals). Individual cities don't gain any benefits by improved areas. The most beneficial improvement is forests. You can either build a farm (+1 food), mine (+1 mineral), or forest (+1 food, +1 mineral, -1 pollution). So why even build the other two?

Also there are aliens wandering about, attack them and they wipe you out. So you must wait until you're strong enough to take them on (which mean a lot of next turn clicking).

This game has too many bugs. for instance your sentried units will jsut wake up for no reason. The workshop where you customize your units is a mess. It too easy to alter your exiting unit to something else and not even realize it.

You can't even tell a former to build a road to somewhere, instead you have to move it there, then tell it to build the road, then move it agian to the next hex. Or you can just set it to auto and hope for the best, though to me it seems that it kept chaning the same improvements over and over. And the only thing roads do is allow faster movement, So instead of it costing one to move, it costs half. Also when buildinig improvements, they always take the same amount of time to build regardless on what type of terrain they are being built on.

There's really only one plus to this game, you can stack units.

This game is just an utter disappointment. By turn 300 I quit, being utterly bored to death, which was followed by an uninstall. I can't comment on the DLC, don't have it and never will. Nor will I ever purchase anything from this developer again.

Even though I got it in a bundle for 8 bucks, it just isn't even worth that amount.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
darkrage000
( 23.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 13
ive played this game for a while now (over 20 hours), and have never gotten beyond ~120-140 turns
The AI is downright idiotic and will go from generous to furious in a single turn simply because you dont pay them a tribute.. which seems to affect all the other AI players and make their relations go down the hole as well.

In my latest game, at turn 105 i had alliances with everyone.. all 7 Ai players. One demanded tribute and when i refused, he cancellled our alliance, trade pact, research pact, and non aggression act andthen declared war.... and was followed by EVERY SINGLE AI immediately.
next turn i was bombarded from space repeatedly, wiping out 12 aveger tanks, 2 formers and 3 ground troopers in 2 turns.
I had ONE city, ONE mine, and TWO farms... theres no way that i was polluting the planet massively, or an extreme military threat, etc etc and therfore no logical reason the AIs would all go to war, least of all at the same time.
Not to mention that i was barely building tanks and they had aircraft and orbital bombardment already...

after destroying my units, they did another bombadment that brought my city from a 14 population to a ONE.

having similar events occur over the course of several games, i am giving up on this one util they get the AI fixed.

its truly sad as the game brings good graphics, good ideas and unique mechanics to many aspects of the game.
having spent 40 bucks on this game, i feel rather.... let down in a big way.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Corvathra
( 127.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 11
I like a lot of things about this better than civilization. Unit customization is nice. The aliens can be a great concern. Great Soundtrack.

The population growth/distrubution mechanics I am not a fan of, as well as mineral requirements for production, but it adds a bit of extra depth and strategy to the game too. Fast research seems more important than early expansion.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jagyr
Posted: May 4
The "handicaps" given to the computer players are just insane. I find a computer city on turn 7... and they have 3 units already, while I'm 10 turns from building my first.

On medium, I'm fighting some computer players, and winning, but I notice that they're literally building a military unit every turn, sometimes two a turn. This is funny because they only have 2 cities, one of which was just founded. In my cities these same units take 6-18 turns to build.

In a later game, on easy difficulty this time, I get to turn 100-150 or so, and suddenly 3 enemy states declare war on me and then commence attacking me with 30-50 units. They had fewer cities than me, and somehow were producing units 2-3x faster than me.

On the other side it has some interesting concepts/tech/unit customization, but the computers are ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ in their strength and the amount that they cheat to make the game "even"
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Vaeringjar
( 26.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 4
I had a much better time with this game than with Beyond Earth.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
etheral_white_dragon
( 16.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
This game has a very unique setup of units, Technologies and a day and night cycles for the aliens to become more active and attack you enmass which isnt a bad thing keeps the game flowing, But thats all it has for it the AI sucks as does the diplomacy if you have ever played the original civilization where you end up as one empire fighting the worlds empires as if they are just one enormous empire then you will know what i am talking about with this game, Here is a for instance of how bad the diplomacy is you meet a race they first praise you get you to trade maps create a non aggression treaty then a trade followed by a research treaty and then declare war on you all in the same turn, Then you start to meet the other races and as soon as you have met them they declare war and then you get attacked by them all acting like they are one enormous empire.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Scanner
Posted: April 2
4X games are hit-and-miss with me. In this one, the AI is just confused. In only a few turns I had (something like) the AI terminate a trade agreement and request peace, in the following turn praising me and a non-agression pact, and a few turns later at war again. Swapping between war and peace in similar ways throughout the game, without any attacks and building units to keep in their one city to defend.

The worst and most incoherent AI that I've come across, and while the game isn't worth playing beyond the one or two hours I've given it, if I have it I will probably give the game some more of my time this afternoon because I'm struggling to believe it was really as bad as I witnessed. Like rubber-necking a bad car accident.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
f1r35t0rm
( 9.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 1
I tried to get into it, I really, really did. But between the periodic crashes, and extremely slow late game AI turns, due to an insane number of units, it gradually becomes more and more unplayable. And this on a computer, that, while not top of the line, is fairly powerful. While I'm here, I'd also like to point out that the game doesn't feel particularly polished in terms of gameplay, either.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
BluWoods
Posted: March 13
Its a great game. Only problem is i cant actually start the game up because it keeps on coming up with this:

Standard exception thrown
platform,cpp:221:_thiscall
proxy::distribution::steam::platform::platform(unsigned int):Error:
could not initialize Steamworks API
Helpful? Yes No Funny
georgeanovak
( 23.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 11
Disappointing is the best I can come up with. The game is a truncated version of Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri, and by truncated I mean with the general premis but without the depth of story, technology tree (this game has more of a technology grass) or variation in customizable vehicles. Sure, the pictures are a little prettier, but without the substance of a good game they are just pictures.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sober Mans Secret
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 6
Better than most interpanetary 4X games. Touigh to beat too, you really need to have your game face on. Also grab the Nashira Beta, its adds a lot to the game one of the major factors being balance.

A must buy for all 4X fans that want something challenging, fun and different.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ivanoff Alex
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: March 6
It was just a spike, some strange ad illogical game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Titanium900
( 5.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 5
Worst Game Ever, the AIs are overpowered, and the wait times for times are too long.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
cemkalyoncu
( 20.7 hrs on record )
Posted: March 5
Do you think 4x AI are crap, get this game, medium AI without bonuses, will beat you to a pulp and will gloat on your corpse. Then they will fight against each other to decide who would get your corpse.

Jokes aside, it is possible to beat the game. Two rules: more army then valuables and never take the last city of a faction that multiple AIs are attacking with you. First mistake will make you a target and if you do second mistake, the rest of the enemies would just jump on you. Well think about it this way: why not? All their units are there readily in battle postion and you are in the middle of them. Remember, AI is ruthlessly calculating, so if you see that there is an issue that might lead to a weakness, fix it. Otherwise, the AI would be there to exploit it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sorrowful Empire
( 22.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 1
Most of these reviews are BS
This is one of the better 4x games out there.
Far, far better than Beyond Earth.
Not quite as good as something like Endless Legend though.
But still absolutely worth picking up on a sale.
This game has a near-perfect balance between wars and peace time. You'll usually only have time for one war with another faction before the alien invasion, and afterwards, you'll likely be very powerful (if you prepared properly). This eventually leads to a massive world war, as you steamroll the other factions.

Unless one of those other factions is the Divine Acension.
They are meh as a player faction
but godly when played by the AI.
Practically invincible.
But that's not important.

Basically, this game is non-stop fun, as you slowly plot your rise to power, then watch your civilization come to a standstill when the aliens invade. If you survive, a frantic series of wars erupt between the now heavily militarized factions.

It's awesome.

Buy this game now.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Risa
Posted: March 1
Pandora: First Contact is a relatively simple hex-tile 4x game. Note that I say simple, not easy.

Basics: Its combat system highly resembles SMAC, that is, multiple-unit-per-tile, every-battle-is-lethal, and modulized unit design. Its economic system is quite inovative. And it's war-oriented, put it simply, just to grow, to produce, to research, no wonders or culture or religion or the like.

Cons:
- Not enough varieties in unit design. Dispite strictly the same strength-to-cost ratio, Some designs are bound to be more useful than others.
- There is best solution in economic system. Once figured out, there's little reason to deviate from it.
- Not enough factions. Unable to fully fill large or larger map types.
- (Almost) non-existent diplomacy. While there are pacts, attitudes and reactions, the most decisive factor for AI to declare war or not is military strength comparison. And most wars are dog-piles.
- Not enough documentation. To be fair, this game does have a bunch of tips to explain basics to new player. It also does have quite a lot of fluffy texts. Just some details left unexplained. If it were another game, I won't list this as a con. Reason? See Pros section.
- Over all, it's hard. Unfairly hard, maybe, to some people's taste.
- feature wise, it's a pretty done game. There is unlikely new expansion to fix some underlying problem.

Pros:
- Inovative economic system. It does take some time to figure it out.
- The game is hard. And it's already hard without giving AI bonuses. When a 4x game achieved that in before?
- (Almost) non-existent diplomacy, because every AI is first and foremost a predator in jungle. Some may be hawkier and some may be dovier, but if you (or another AI faction, for the matter) show them your weakness, they are not hesitated to pounce upon. And they do like dog-piles. So the real diplomacy in this game is not to paint yourself as target, and to gain your fair share during feasts on other AIs.
- AI knows how to develop their economy. So you need to know it, too. That's why I complain about not enough documentation.
- All those impressive AI are mostly done by a fan.

In all, if you want a challenging 4x game without resorting to giving AI tons of bonuses, this is the game for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
HawkofChiron
( 24.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 29
This game feels more like Alpha Centauri than CiV-BE does! Just in that fact alone, I would reccomend it to anyone that loved AC and its add-on Alien Crossfire.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Shrek the conqueror
( 7.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 29
What beyond earth should have BEEN!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cindela
( 26.4 hrs on record )
Posted: February 29
its a crap game. if you let the computer place the religious faction in the game it will just declare war on every one and you cant let your cities keep growing other wise they get negative moral which goes and kills your gold income which in turn deletes your units. oh and there is no way to stop your cities from growing that i can find. ♥♥♥♥ game. 0/10 dont get
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Grishka
( 15.3 hrs on record )
Posted: February 29
The game is clone of Alpha Centauri, it doesn't even pretend being new or unique in any way. That's it: Alpha Centauri clone with better graphics. Even factions are all the same. However, many original concepts like social engineering, drones etc. were abolished which is disappointing.

Plus:
-Nice graphics and music, Alpha Centauri redecorated.
-Better technology tree than in original, better unit designer and few other minor improvements.
Minus:
-Unbalanced economics especially late game.
-Weak AI. It can be chalange at the beginning as it is quite aggressive but not mid and late game.
-Low game customization which means low replayability. The game lacks flawor.

After all I still have possitive impressions. I recommend the game if it is on sale (-66% happens).

P.S. The game is still better than lame Civilization: Beyond Earth
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
27 of 32 people (84%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
Posted: May 4
The "handicaps" given to the computer players are just insane. I find a computer city on turn 7... and they have 3 units already, while I'm 10 turns from building my first.

On medium, I'm fighting some computer players, and winning, but I notice that they're literally building a military unit every turn, sometimes two a turn. This is funny because they only have 2 cities, one of which was just founded. In my cities these same units take 6-18 turns to build.

In a later game, on easy difficulty this time, I get to turn 100-150 or so, and suddenly 3 enemy states declare war on me and then commence attacking me with 30-50 units. They had fewer cities than me, and somehow were producing units 2-3x faster than me.

On the other side it has some interesting concepts/tech/unit customization, but the computers are ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ in their strength and the amount that they cheat to make the game "even"
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
23.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
ive played this game for a while now (over 20 hours), and have never gotten beyond ~120-140 turns
The AI is downright idiotic and will go from generous to furious in a single turn simply because you dont pay them a tribute.. which seems to affect all the other AI players and make their relations go down the hole as well.

In my latest game, at turn 105 i had alliances with everyone.. all 7 Ai players. One demanded tribute and when i refused, he cancellled our alliance, trade pact, research pact, and non aggression act andthen declared war.... and was followed by EVERY SINGLE AI immediately.
next turn i was bombarded from space repeatedly, wiping out 12 aveger tanks, 2 formers and 3 ground troopers in 2 turns.
I had ONE city, ONE mine, and TWO farms... theres no way that i was polluting the planet massively, or an extreme military threat, etc etc and therfore no logical reason the AIs would all go to war, least of all at the same time.
Not to mention that i was barely building tanks and they had aircraft and orbital bombardment already...

after destroying my units, they did another bombadment that brought my city from a 14 population to a ONE.

having similar events occur over the course of several games, i am giving up on this one util they get the AI fixed.

its truly sad as the game brings good graphics, good ideas and unique mechanics to many aspects of the game.
having spent 40 bucks on this game, i feel rather.... let down in a big way.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 10 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
16.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
This game has a very unique setup of units, Technologies and a day and night cycles for the aliens to become more active and attack you enmass which isnt a bad thing keeps the game flowing, But thats all it has for it the AI sucks as does the diplomacy if you have ever played the original civilization where you end up as one empire fighting the worlds empires as if they are just one enormous empire then you will know what i am talking about with this game, Here is a for instance of how bad the diplomacy is you meet a race they first praise you get you to trade maps create a non aggression treaty then a trade followed by a research treaty and then declare war on you all in the same turn, Then you start to meet the other races and as soon as you have met them they declare war and then you get attacked by them all acting like they are one enormous empire.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 22 people (50%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
26.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 4
I had a much better time with this game than with Beyond Earth.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
Posted: March 1
Pandora: First Contact is a relatively simple hex-tile 4x game. Note that I say simple, not easy.

Basics: Its combat system highly resembles SMAC, that is, multiple-unit-per-tile, every-battle-is-lethal, and modulized unit design. Its economic system is quite inovative. And it's war-oriented, put it simply, just to grow, to produce, to research, no wonders or culture or religion or the like.

Cons:
- Not enough varieties in unit design. Dispite strictly the same strength-to-cost ratio, Some designs are bound to be more useful than others.
- There is best solution in economic system. Once figured out, there's little reason to deviate from it.
- Not enough factions. Unable to fully fill large or larger map types.
- (Almost) non-existent diplomacy. While there are pacts, attitudes and reactions, the most decisive factor for AI to declare war or not is military strength comparison. And most wars are dog-piles.
- Not enough documentation. To be fair, this game does have a bunch of tips to explain basics to new player. It also does have quite a lot of fluffy texts. Just some details left unexplained. If it were another game, I won't list this as a con. Reason? See Pros section.
- Over all, it's hard. Unfairly hard, maybe, to some people's taste.
- feature wise, it's a pretty done game. There is unlikely new expansion to fix some underlying problem.

Pros:
- Inovative economic system. It does take some time to figure it out.
- The game is hard. And it's already hard without giving AI bonuses. When a 4x game achieved that in before?
- (Almost) non-existent diplomacy, because every AI is first and foremost a predator in jungle. Some may be hawkier and some may be dovier, but if you (or another AI faction, for the matter) show them your weakness, they are not hesitated to pounce upon. And they do like dog-piles. So the real diplomacy in this game is not to paint yourself as target, and to gain your fair share during feasts on other AIs.
- AI knows how to develop their economy. So you need to know it, too. That's why I complain about not enough documentation.
- All those impressive AI are mostly done by a fan.

In all, if you want a challenging 4x game without resorting to giving AI tons of bonuses, this is the game for you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 36 people (61%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
22.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 1
Most of these reviews are BS
This is one of the better 4x games out there.
Far, far better than Beyond Earth.
Not quite as good as something like Endless Legend though.
But still absolutely worth picking up on a sale.
This game has a near-perfect balance between wars and peace time. You'll usually only have time for one war with another faction before the alien invasion, and afterwards, you'll likely be very powerful (if you prepared properly). This eventually leads to a massive world war, as you steamroll the other factions.

Unless one of those other factions is the Divine Acension.
They are meh as a player faction
but godly when played by the AI.
Practically invincible.
But that's not important.

Basically, this game is non-stop fun, as you slowly plot your rise to power, then watch your civilization come to a standstill when the aliens invade. If you survive, a frantic series of wars erupt between the now heavily militarized factions.

It's awesome.

Buy this game now.
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9 of 13 people (69%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 29
This game feels more like Alpha Centauri than CiV-BE does! Just in that fact alone, I would reccomend it to anyone that loved AC and its add-on Alien Crossfire.
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10 of 17 people (59%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
20.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
Do you think 4x AI are crap, get this game, medium AI without bonuses, will beat you to a pulp and will gloat on your corpse. Then they will fight against each other to decide who would get your corpse.

Jokes aside, it is possible to beat the game. Two rules: more army then valuables and never take the last city of a faction that multiple AIs are attacking with you. First mistake will make you a target and if you do second mistake, the rest of the enemies would just jump on you. Well think about it this way: why not? All their units are there readily in battle postion and you are in the middle of them. Remember, AI is ruthlessly calculating, so if you see that there is an issue that might lead to a weakness, fix it. Otherwise, the AI would be there to exploit it.
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10 of 18 people (56%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
23.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 11
Disappointing is the best I can come up with. The game is a truncated version of Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri, and by truncated I mean with the general premis but without the depth of story, technology tree (this game has more of a technology grass) or variation in customizable vehicles. Sure, the pictures are a little prettier, but without the substance of a good game they are just pictures.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
Posted: April 2
4X games are hit-and-miss with me. In this one, the AI is just confused. In only a few turns I had (something like) the AI terminate a trade agreement and request peace, in the following turn praising me and a non-agression pact, and a few turns later at war again. Swapping between war and peace in similar ways throughout the game, without any attacks and building units to keep in their one city to defend.

The worst and most incoherent AI that I've come across, and while the game isn't worth playing beyond the one or two hours I've given it, if I have it I will probably give the game some more of my time this afternoon because I'm struggling to believe it was really as bad as I witnessed. Like rubber-necking a bad car accident.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
93 of 118 people (79%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
590.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2015
I've finally played enough that I think I owe this a review.

Pandora's very clearly inspired by Alpha Centauri, but the underlying mechanics are quite innovative and different. At core this game is about super specializing your cities, micromanaging the population in your cities, and fighting the other factions. Unfortunately, the game doesn't really *tell* you how to manage your population or make the interface intuitive to focus around it. At best, it offers 'lock buttons' on population types. The combat is so-called multiple unit per tile, which removes some of the problems of Civ's one unit per tile.

The game falls down badly in diplomacy, where the AI seems to essentially perform a force count comparison to decide whether to attack. Get behind in military force and you'll suddenly find yourself under attack. Lose or even have a few units weakened in the skirmish and suddenly the other AI will all decide to join the fray and you might as well restart. The tension, of course, is if you're building tons of military to avoid the AI pile-on, you aren't shotgunning ahead in science.

In combat, the AI seems to be decently competent, although late in the game they build tons of lower-tech units as opposed to higher tech ones. They will brutally shell your cities with artillery and destroy modifier tiles. The guy who rewrote the AI deserves a pat on the back for the challenge they offer in combat.

As for personality, Pandora doesn't have any wonders or memorable personalities like Civ's Montezuma and Ghandi, just the brutal optimization game of managing your population and keeping up your military. The game's systems are too brittle to allow for casual play. If you're not carefully optimizing everything from the beginning, then you're not going to have fun. This game was a missed opportunity. Civ needed some competition or at least someone doing something new and different. This isn't it.
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41 of 60 people (68%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
65.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2015
Buy it on sale if it's under $10.00. As so many others have said, I like 4x type games and I loved Alpha Centauri. I still play AC every so often. This game has some interesting ideas, some fun units and some nice artwork. What kills it for me and why I had to down vote the game is the lack of replayability.

<SPOILERS AHEAD>

After the first couple of games, you know basically how the eras are going to go. You know that night will fall, you know that an alien menace will come from gates that must be closed and what kills it is that you know WHEN and HOW these things will happen. These aren't cool random events, they happen every time. So all you're really doing is playing the exact same set of "Random" events again and again.

Perhaps WWII simulation players who enjoy re-playing battles over and over using slightly different tactics or from different angles would be more appreciative of this title. For 4x players (or at least for me) it's too static.
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17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
Pandora is an awesome game with one fatal flaw... And it's not the flaw you think. It seems like the problem would be that it's not "Alpha Centauri", like it's some kind of cheap rip-off of the classic.

The *real* problem is the opposite. Pandora is filled with innovation and a completely distinct storyline... And then they shoe-horn features or decisions that *don't feel right* just to be a SMAC rip-off.

How do I mean? The faction leaders have moderately interesting, tongue-in-cheek stories... until you read through and realize they are reskins of the SMAC faction leaders, with almost identical abilities. They could've gone far, but instead painstakingly modeled them to remind you of the SMAC leaders. It gets most painful when the abilities of one of the factions (Divine Ascension) don't really match the story... because she was so clearly meant to be a reskin of Sister Miriam. Her story really doesn't justify the research penalty like Miriam's does...but she has it. Why? To be just like Miriam.

Then they have a bad thing called "fungus" (like Civ:BE did with Miasma in a way). It has some similarities (and many differences) from the fungus in SMAC... but it clearly meant to be the same thing.

Somewhere in their dev shop, there's incredible innovative design talent, and in many ways it shines. The pollution system works well, the resource-sharing with minerals for workers just *works*. This would have been a 4/5 or better if they'd just left out the heavy-handed "we'll surely succeed if we rip off SMAC!"

Instead, a "buy it on sale" 3 out of 5.
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15 of 23 people (65%) found this review helpful
Recommended
60.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2015
Had a bit of trouble getting it to run at first, but after a reboot it works perfectly on Windows 7 x64.

I honestly prefer it over Civ: New Earth.

Be aware the AI is incredibly aggressive and at a certain point in the game if the other AIs think you are weak they WILL declare war on you.
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
31.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 11
An amazing Game with sadly a lot of bad ratings, which i seriously cant understand. It is really well done without many issues, runs smoothly and it is actually fun and has good depth to it. Tons of strategies, technologies, different ways to play. It is so much better than the shallow civ beyond earth. Id say it is the game beyond earth should have been.

Although the AI is on the tough side i like that. It gets boring fast if the ai just waits till you slaughter it.
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13 of 21 people (62%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
better than civ: beyond earth.
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10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
Recommended
30.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2015
Excellent scifi civ like game, with enough unique features to stand on it's own.
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8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
Recommended
15.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 24
Has a few rough edges, but this is more or less what I was hoping Beyond Earth would be.
At the current sale price, it's a must buy.
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12 of 21 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
14.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 17
Pandora is one hell of a Hard Game. And its realistic on its very own way too. The AI is Incredebly strong and you definetly get into high and large problems if you not exactly know what you are doing ... got a theory of what each of the Other Player AI's are Doing and what the Inhabitants are doing and the Invaders. Its one Hell big and chaotic mess wich realy let the Round based Strategy games Shine to its Glory (Those wich are in Hex ... like Cartan or Civ). Actualy this game realy wants you to get involved and do stuff. You need to be strong basicly eveywhere and wherever your weakness is the AI comes and uses it in punishing way just to make you stronger ... seriously sice i played this game even the Harder difficulties of Civ V for example are easy and thats said by a Casual so ... i recomend this game cuz its good, its hard, and its realistic in its own very way.
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10 of 18 people (56%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2015
Has some potential as the "SMAC" that "SMCBE" could have been, but the AI behaves so erratically that it's almost like watching the Three Stooges play the role of diplomats. The UI could also use some streamlining. Watch and wait for patches and expansions to improve it.
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