Tactical turn-based space battles. Elaborate war strategies to prepare against the inevitable alien invasion.
User reviews:
Mixed (29 reviews) - 44% of the 29 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 21, 2015

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“HES has one of the smartest concepts for tactical space biffing that I can remember seeing.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“It requires a different mindset to ordinary turn-based strategy games, which makes it a unique and worthwhile experience.”
Indie Juice

“There's nothing else quite like it!”

About This Game

  • Tactical chess-like approach of space battles
  • Over 30 different spaceships with unique moves and weapons patterns
  • 34 missions ranging from large-scale battles to covert operations
  • Deterministic gameplay: No luck involved, only your skills

In 2312, first contact with the Navassian extraterrestrial species was established near the Deltria system. For 5 years we have been observing this warlike race while maintaining a wary diplomatic relationship. Growing tensions over ownership of the minerals of the Deltria system lead to the formation of the Unified Earth Defense Forces.

Facing overwhelming odds in a direct military conflict, the UEDF introduced the Halting Extraterrestrials Strategy, or HES, training program for all officers. The simulator presents likely combat encounters based upon observed Navassian tactical data from previous engagements. Recruits call this program the Human Extinction Simulator due to the extensive and often catastrophic scenarios depicted. While most find this amusing, some fear that it might be the actual name of the program.

Welcome to the meat grinder, Lieutenant.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP and up
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 130 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Mixed (29 reviews)
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27 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
58 of 62 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2015
If this was a 2 dollar mobile app, I would recommend it. It's somewhere between chess and checkers with spaceships. It feels more like a puzzler than a tactical game, victory requiring just the right sequence of moves. There isn't much room for error, and no save options. There's no customization, no ship designing, and no editing loadouts; any of which would have added a little spice to an otherwise bland 2D experience. It's not a bad game, just not worth the price.
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48 of 56 people (86%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 12, 2015
I wanted to like this game. And honestly with an undo button or some other way of seeing where a ship would end up after moving I would have liked it. Instead, this game is an exercise in frustration.

Your ships get to move twice, and may shoot before the second move. Logically, your first move should be to where you can take your shot, and the second to a safe spot. The game helps a little by showing if you will take shield, hull, or destruction if you end your turn in a particular hex. But, way to many times after making the first move to take a shot, all remaining possible moves end in destruction. All that can be done is restarting the whole scenario, replaying all moves which go exactly the same, then trying a slightly different move.

I have no hope of this being resolved as the developers appear to have abandoned the game.
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56 of 72 people (78%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 17, 2015
I had high hopes for this game after reading some of the other reviews, but after playing it for a few hours, I found it to be an exercise in frustration. My main issues center around the ship movements and the weapons firing arcs. It is impossible for any of the ships Ive used to move backwards or rotate 180 degrees. This results in having to loop around in order to fire at your enemies, much like you would in a sea battle piloting an old sailing ship. This in and of itself wouldn't be so bad but when combined with narrow firing arcs and blind spots in your weapons' field of fire, it becomes irritating very quickly. It's not at all unusal to have an enemy ship in the hex directly adjacent to you 30 degrees left or right of center and not be able to fire at it.

Also, many of the weapons are only effective at certain ranges or against either shields or the hull (not both). That combined with the limited movement and firing arcs results in your capital ships being almost useless. Because they are so slow, it seems almost impossible to move them into a position where you are pointed in the right direction, at the right range, with the right weapon to hit your target. And even if you do manage it, you will get one shot before spending another 3 turns looping around to try to get another.

Oh, and did I mention that you are always significantly out numbered?

I dunno... I got through the first couple of missions, but I just didn't enjoy it. If the movement were more free or the ship weapons could be customized, I might have liked it more.
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22 of 28 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2015
Well.. I thought for a while about giving up on this game but i still got write this review only 3.8 hours into it...

This is a Turn base, Battle chess, space sim, Strategy game...
The concept is simple.. you control a space fleet against other space fleet. You have to suruvive the enemy onslaught and fulfill certain object each maps...

Exterior of this game is really good.. I enjoy the music tone in the background and i have no trouble with the indie graphics. And battles in space is always better then people wacking each other with a sword..

I been playing this kinda of games since good old shiny force one.. but for the 200-300 different turn base battle chess i played so far.. This is probably the hardest one I have ever encountered...

The AI don't cheat but they do move very smart each turn. The Movment and facing of your starships are weird and hard to get use to.. There are many maps and some really really grand battles that require you to survive 100 turns and etc.

The developer Dave Toulouse made a post about this game at his blog. http://gamasutra.com/blogs/DaveToulouse/20150306/238038/Postmortem_Human_Extinction_Simulator.php

It sums up quite well the success and failure of this game...

AS it is..

70% of people that try this game give up on the very first mission because of the unforgiving 1 shoot kill your trasnporter... 25% gave up after all the training map becaues of the difficulty spike onto other missions... 4.9999% gave up after they cannot reach 3 troopy for each map which yield no achievements. Only 0.0001% of people would take the pain of restarting maps over and over again and enjoy it...

3 things can be done to lower the difficulty and fix the game...
1. Add a undo button... it's a extinction simulator.. not a real battle.. just let me take that move back so i don't have to restart mission...
2. Add a save function for each map.. well.. same as undo.. Need the magic button to reset mistakes..
3. I can turn my spaceship without moving? I will gladely pay 1 move for it...

Anyhow.. Desite i Enjoy a challage of a unforgiving rogue like space turn by turn.. I will have to gave up on this one because of above reason..

6.5/10 .. would gave it a 8 if there is just a save... Only recommend people that loves the turn by turn battle chess and willing to restart each maps .. many many many many many many times.....
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35 of 54 people (65%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: January 21, 2015

Human Extinction Simulator is hard. It's a spaceborne tactical turn-based game on a hex-grid. Single player campaigns have primary requirements and secondary requirements but as soon as the primary req is fulfilled, the mission successfully ends. Completing all requirements will net you a different service ranking.

But damn, this game is hard. Each spacecraft you pilot has different movement patterns, weapons, armor/shields, and attack patterns. Certain weapons you have are only good against shields or hulls. Sometimes they are effective against both but do less overall damage. Hulls can have varying levels of strength preventing you from even doing any damage to a hull at all.

All of this is fine and dandy but you can only attack within your attack pattern. AND AND, you can only attack on turn one or two of your particular ships turn. You can't shoot if you've moved twice, but you can move > shoot > move.

Some of the single player campaigns are brutally hard though. And it's even worse when you are deep into something and BOOP one of the primary requirements is gone, game over.
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16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
54.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2015
This is a very good game, well worth the $20.

I am about half way through the campaign. It is decently hard, but only in that you are required to take a moment and think about the consequences of your moves. Most of the missions I have been able to finish with all bonus objectives on the first try, it is not punishing.

It is an interesting take on space combat. Each ship has its own movement and firing patterns, so it does take a moment to learn. Some ships are mobile enough that you can reliably dart in and out of combat with no problem (aided by the overlay which shows you which locations are safe to end your move.) Some ships are powerful but slow, and you need to plan their route and make sure nothing impedes their course. It does remind me of chess, but more complicated and with some computer assistance to plan your moves.

The campain has offered a variety of goals so far to keep things interesting, and I am now carefully weighing which ships to choose for the next campaign (and finding that balance is decent, and some ships I had disliked are becoming more tempting once staying power across an entire campaign is taken into consideration.)
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20 of 30 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 15, 2015
A little Draughty

Draughts or Checkers, whatever you want to call it, it's a pretty simple but still tactical board game.
You move each piece diagonally around the board gobbling up your opponents men, get a piece to the farthest row from you and it gets an "upgrade" to a king, a piece with a super power, it can move backwards!
It's not the most complicated game in the world, but I used to love playing it as a kid, it was strategic and tactical but still pretty simple to learn.

Educated Checkers

Chess, now that's a game on a whole other level, sure, it's pretty much the same checkers board you're used to but gone are the uniform pieces with their identical moves, now there's a small army of characters you can move across the board, each type having its own special movement and area of attack.

If checkers is a junior tactical game then chess is checkers with a high school education.

Space Chess

Now, imagine a game of chess, but replace the chequered board with the star speckled blanket of space, change the knights, bishops, kings and queens into space vessels with different movement capabilities and areas of attack, digitize the game onto the PC, give it some animated visuals and atmospheric sounds then throw in a narrative to keep things interesting.

You know what you've got? Human Extinction Simulator, a turn based, tactical space title from Machine 22.

Galactic Flavour

Human Extinction Simulator sees humanity struggle to survive an alien attack, each scenario pushes the story forward as humanity defends and retreats against the alien onslaught.

Whilst the narrative is a little dry and only delivered in flavour text at the start of each scenario, (don't get expecting whizzy cut scenes, it's not that sort game) it does do a good job of setting a "Battlestar Galactica" type tone to the proceedings as your military struggles to protect transports full of evacuees and slow down the aggressive destruction wrought by the evil Navassian fleet.

Simulated Scenarios

The game is comprised of seven scenarios, each with several missions (simulations) which play out another chapter of the story, you'll be defending transports, saving key personel and launching daring raids into the heart of enemy territory,
The initial scenario serves as a tutorial and introduction to the story.
It does a pretty good job of introducing you to the game mechanics, which as I mentioned, is a lot like a game of chess.

Fields of Fire

In Human Extinction Simulator you control a fleet of ships, both big and small, each ship type has its own weapons systems with their own unique ranges and fields of fire.
These areas of attack might not necessarily fall in front of a ship, dependent on the weapons attached, the fields of fire can fall to the sides of a vessel too.

Some weapons are more powerful than others, so keeping ships at the right range from their target to do the maximum amount of damage is one of the many considerations you'll need to make whilst playing.

Another important part of the tactics in this game is coverage, much like the game of chess, you're going to want to try and keep ships covered by other units, the enemy will think twice about moving to take out a squadron of fighters if he knows that it will leave him vulnerable to volley from a battleship on the next turn.

Point and Shoot

Along with the different weapon ranges and damage types, you'll also need to think about ship movement.
Human Extinction Simulator adopts a hex based approach to movement, different ship types can move a different number of hexes each turn and can have different turning arcs depending on their size and speed.
Taking into account turning arcs to line up shots, anticipating where you think the enemy will ships will move to and how you should move your own to ensure they'll be pointing in the right direction to respond requires a keen tactical mind.

The Dark Souls Strategy

This is a game that will challenge you.
You will lose, you'll replay a mission, you'll lose again, this can become frustrating but when you finally do achieve your goals in a given mission you get such a feeling of accomplishment it's worth all the effort.
Challenge is what makes victory worthwhile, without it winning is meaningless, and winning in Human Extinction Simulator means A LOT!

It Looks Hexy

Visually, it's a top down, hex affair, which always limits graphical showmanship somewhat, but flashy graphics aren't what this type of game is about.

The backdrops are pretty and the ships themselves are crisp, detailed and show damage as their condition deteriorates throughout a battle.

The interface is clean and intuitive and firing ranges are shown clearly on the hex grid when you select a ship which is a huge help.
Sound is also perfectly serviceable from the zaps of little lasers to the beefy bangs of a ship you really couldn't afford to lose exploding into pieces.

Hard Thinker

The AI is spot on, it doesn't cheat, but it is clever,

The Navassians are crafty ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s, even if you've got a handle on all the ship movements and weapon ranges, you'll still find them doing something unexpected, it refreshing (and frustrating) to have such a worthy artificial foe, this is all the more important as Human Extinction Simulator is a single player only game, but the AI is likely to be a tougher opponent than your friends would have been anyway!

Measure of a Man

At the start of this review, I compared checkers to chess, well if chess is checkers with a high school education then Human Extinction Simulator is Chess with a PHD.

Human Extinction Simulator is both a highly frustrating and highly rewarding tactical game.
Whilst some will find the game too challenging and its top down hex based style unappealing, fans of hex based strategy shouldn't hesitate to give Human Extinction Simulator a look.

Yes, it's a tough game, but how you face defeat is more the measure of a man than a thousand victories.

As the great Carl Sagen said

"Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception"

How will you fare?

( To view the full review (and others) please take the time to visit Review-Well.Com )
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26 of 42 people (62%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 19, 2015
Human Extinction Simulator is an unforgiving game that manages to mix so many elements from the science fiction universe and from some strategy series I have spent hundreds of hours with that I managed to get past the relatively dry presentation in order to discover a core set of mechanics that can satisfy a turn-based lover for hours.

The studio which created the title, Machine 22, understands how important is to offer challenge and complexity, and it also delivers a range of scenarios introducing quirks that improve the quality of the experience but also make getting a victory more challenging. Human Extinction Simulator can become frustrating, but in small doses this is a good turn-based strategy title that could be expanded in a number of interesting ways.

Human Extinction Simulator understands that a good name can often be more important for a video game than a host of cutscenes, voice performances, and carefully crafted narrative twists. In this case, the developers at Machine 22 have managed to use three words to capture the pressure and the anxiety generated by the fact that the entire game has humanity on the back foot, trying desperately to survive as a powerful alien force, the Navassians, is hunting them down, determined to leave none alive.

The desperate survival of the few has been well exploited by entertainment in the past few years and Human Extinction Simulator evokes the best moments of both Battlestar Galactica and The Banner Saga, even if it is limited when it comes to actually delivering narrative to gamers. The entire title is sold as a simulation, which makes it easy to understand the limitations of the top down view, and the developers have done a good job of evoking the future using just text that suggests a wider science fiction universe.

Maybe the most effective tool is the loss counter at the top of the screen, which tends to tick up even when a scenario is progressing well, a constant reminder that even victories require the loss of human life. Human Extinction Simulator is good at creating stories, mainly because of its difficulty level, because the failure to keep humans alive in the face of overwhelming odds manages to create a feeling of pride even when missions are repeatedly lost.

Human Extinction Simulator is a turn-based strategy game played on a hex grid from a top-down perspective, with the player aiming to reach designated objectives while also dealing with the often superior forces of the enemy alien army. The game’s campaigns are arranged in an increasing level of complexity and scenarios are often connected, which means players need to try and achieve as many of the secondary objectives as possible to have a better chance of success.

Each ship that gamers can control, except for civilian transports, can move, fire and then move again and the game helpfully explains how dangerous each hex on which they stay can be when the enemy gets his own turn. Their flight models for the ships differ based on size and class and Human Extinction Simulator asks gamers to create short-term tactical plans designed to take out enemy ships without losing sight of the bigger tactical goal they need to accomplish.
The developers throw in various types of weapons and different damage models for shields and hulls, and that enhances the complexity of the experience.

The rigid rules also make the Artificial Intelligence of Human Extinction Simulator very capable during combat, eager to take out the player’s vessels and always ready to go after civilian transports when they are exposed in any way. There are very few missions that seem achievable at first sight and failure is a constant companion in the game, but the structure encourages experimentation and careful thinking.

The biggest lesson players need to learn quickly about Human Extinction Simulator is that it is more about covering areas with weapon fire to control enemy movement than about attacking a starship where it stands during a given turn. An Undo button for the most recent move made is something that I would add to Human Extinction Simulator, because as it stands now the game is a little too punishing and the long-term ramifications of a decision can be enough to force a level restart.

Gamers who want to spend a lot of time with Human Extinction Simulator without getting too frustrated need to play through the first tutorial missions and then switch to the Arena section of the game in order to see exactly how their ships fly and attack. These details are crucial during combat and even one bad move or one mistimed attack can spell disaster for an entire fleet and lead to a restart.

Human Extinction Simulator is played from a top down perspective and is using a hex grid, which gives players a fast way of taking a look at the entire field of battle, while also allowing them to focus on just one ship in order to determine what it can achieve during a turn. The hex-based grid created by the development team is also a great way of showing how the various weapons on the bigger ships will engage enemies and how the smaller ships can use their maneuverability in order to avoid fire and bring their own weapons to bare.

The interface is easy to use and offers plenty of information, although it might take a little time before gamers are able to quickly recognize each of the tools they can use, but the setup of Human Extinction Simulator also means that there’s little in the way of the beauty the title has to offer. The human ships are functional to the extreme and could be at home in any other non-descript science fiction universe, and the aliens also seem to have limited imagination when it comes to their own vessels. The sound design of the title uses some classic science fiction building blocks, but Human Extinction Simulator requires so much concentration that I often blocked out the music before turning it off hoping that this would improve my performance.

Human Extinction Simulator is a good game from a gameplay standpoint, with great scenarios, carefully crafted units and a lot of replayability. Its biggest problem is that it is a little too difficult for its own good and there are moments when it seems entirely impossible to win certain fights.
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 4, 2015
A pretty interesting game on the concept that lacks a bit of sould and frankly a bit of fun. Well realized though but I would not recommand at this price
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30 of 53 people (57%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 23, 2015
Brutally challenging game. Requires a great amount of thought for success.
After a few rounds of getting annihilated you should quickly grasp the core concepts. :)

Gameplay Video:
Human Extinction Simulator plays like a game of chess. Each ship has different movement paths and offense/defensive abilities. Missions range from simple space quests to large complex earth defense battles. Victory in these battles is only left up to game knowledge and skill for the most part.

Rounds do last quite a while and they don't include any checkpoints, which might be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. Some of the earlier quests could probably use refining as failing 1 portion of a sub-quest will end the entire round, often 30-60minutes into it. Given the game has no lengthy tutorial this might be frustrating for some people unfamiliar with the genre, though I will mention the user interface is clean and controls were easy to learn.

Overall it's worth a look at if you enjoy turn based tactics or are a fan of the Galactic Civilization franchise, as it's similar in some ways. Fun time sapper of a game, just unfortunately don't have enough of it spare. Cheers.
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Recently Posted
Apparently Kid
10.5 hrs
Posted: June 30
Awful space strategy game. On tutorial levels nothing is explained. A ship would be 2 spaces in front of me and I couldn't shoot him for some inexplicable reason, so I just have to fly around next to him and get shot by him. Next attempt he was able to shoot me at an angle from 6 spaces away and I insta-died. Really well made. Apparently it only gets worse with nonsensical mechanics and stupid AI that is cheap and is strictly better than you, forcing you to replay entire missions because they always do perfect thing. Oh and windowed mode doesn't even work right, well done. Hilarious this game is priced at $20 with a game like rocket league, bc its not even worth 10. Thanks for cards I guess. 2/10.
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0.6 hrs
Posted: June 26
Spaceships with clumsy moving and very inflexible firing arcs. I got annoyed and bored during the first two tutorial levels.
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52.6 hrs
Posted: June 17
A lot of the negative reviews on this game are from people who have played it for 2-3 hours and I can understand why but I think they need to give it a bit more time because it is a real fun strategy game if you can get over the initial hump, which is the 3rd level. It took me a few attempts to beat it and a couple of hours but when I did it was a Eureka moment in terms of how to play.

Each ship shoots in a different way and moves in a different way so none are alike in terms of how you should attack with them and certain weapons do damage to shields or hull so you do have to think about placement but once you get your head around the game mechanics it is not that difficult. It does require you to think strategically and plan your actions but it is a strategy game so I'm not sure what people expected.

A lot of the reviews have focused on no undo button but again it's a strategy game not a trial and error game!

To me, it's kind of like the Sid Meier's Ace Patrol series but if that game had a full squadron of many different airplanes that you would take to the skies. Or a battle isle/Historyline game (for the older gamers!)

If you like something that requires you to think about your actions and consequences on a chessboard type arena then you will like this. If that kind of stuff frustrates and you don't have the patience to fail then you will not!

The Negative side is that the tutorial missions are a bit week and there is no help guide, which would have really sped up my understanding of how the game mechanics work and how the ships work! So the first few missions require some trial and error in understanding how to play, which will put people off (because of the lack of an undo button) but once you get past that it's a great strategy game.

Is it worth £14.99? Depends how much you like strategy games. I bought it on sale and I'm not sure I would have taken a gamble on it given the negative reviews on here. I have really enjoyed playing it so would probably pay full price knowing what I know now! Or chuck it on your wishlist and wait till a sales on!
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3.2 hrs
Posted: March 6
This game is brutaly hard. I would be more accepting of that if the tutorial explaind thing better. As it stands the tutorial is unbeatable as I don't know what I'm doing all it says is keep the enemy out of range. You're teaching me the game I paid for. You need to give me more than that. Don't waist your money on this title.
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0.9 hrs
Posted: February 25
Not as indepth or detailed as I thought. Too much focuses on turning your ship at the right time, versus much else in the strategy.
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0.4 hrs
Posted: February 13
terrible, the tutorial explains almost nothing
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Obey the Fist!
7.0 hrs
Posted: January 1
Despite an interesting premise, this game is unplayable on systems produced this decade - no support for 4K resolutions, limited graphical settings, and graphics scaling corruption when attempting to set a workable set of functions.

If you want to spend more time making the shonky implementation of code this "developer" calls a game work on your PC, then this could be the "game" for you. If not, then this is not for you, because you deserve better.

Don't buy games that don't work on PCs.
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0.7 hrs
Posted: December 22, 2015
There's not enough *there* there to compensate for the ridiculous difficulty level. Scenarios are too slow and too dull and too poorly supported to be worth replaying to try again.
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2.0 hrs
Posted: November 26, 2015
Such a firing arc system is the most stupid one I have ever seen.
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