"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders. Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their...
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (13 reviews) - 69% of the 13 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (819 reviews) - 85% of the 819 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 21, 2009

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Includes 7 items: AI War: Ancient Shadows, AI War: Children of Neinzul, AI War: Destroyer of Worlds, AI War: Fleet Command, AI War: Light of the Spire, AI War: The Zenith Remnant, AI War: Vengeance Of The Machine

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Reviews

"AI War breaks most of the genre’s rules. Which is precisely why it’s incredible… This out-of-the-blue one-man passion project is one of this year’s finest strategy games."
- Alec Meer, PC Gamer UK, November 2009

It’s a balancing act, with your own strength on one side, and the AI’s opinion of you on the other. Piss it off before you’re ready to face it, and you’re going to get squashed. That moment, when you’re finally in a position to turn the tables, is about as glorious as gaming gets.
- Phill Cameron, Eurogamer, February 2011

I think I’ve stumbled across this year’s Really New Thing. There’s a lot of 2009 to go, but I’ll be surprised if anyone else twists the RTS formula this dramatically and this effectively. And I’m hoping it’ll be the Next Big Thing, because it’s big, different, entirely unprecedented and an exciting way to play an RTS.
- Tom Chick, Crispy Gamer, August 2009

Having played this title at two distinct points in its life cycle what really stands out is the incredible dedication of Arcen Games in keeping on top of how the game evolves and expands. Even though a great many features have been added and tweaked and refined, it was possible for me to drop back into AI War after more than a year away and not find it to be a confusing mish-mash of feature overload. The post-release support is, quite honestly, the best I’ve seen for any game.
- Peter Parrish, IncGamers, February 2011

AI War is, quite simply, the best experience you could have with co-op or single-player real-time strategy in this or any year. It combines grand strategy with emergent AI to form an excellent game perfect for parties and multiplayer. It is easily worth double the price that the developer is selling it at, and anyone with any affinity or taste for strategy games should not miss it. It may be daunting at first, but an excellent tutorial and amazing gameplay mechanics alleviate this into a game that almost anyone can - and should - play.
- James Murff, Big Download, November 2009

About This Game

"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders.

Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their attention outward, away from the galaxy, to alien threats or opportunities unknown.

This inattention is our only hope: a small resistance, too insignificant even to be noticed by the AI central command, has survived. These are the forces you will command. The AI subcommanders will fight you to the death when they see you -- but your glimmer of opportunity comes from quietly subduing those subcommanders without alerting central processing to the danger until it's too late.

You do have a few things going in your favor. Your ships are much faster. You have safe AI routines to automate defenses and mining outposts. You have production techniques that can churn out fully-outfitted unmanned fighters in seconds. There will never be more than a few thousand of your ships versus tens of thousands of theirs, but through careful strategy you must somehow reach and destroy the heavily-guarded AI cores.

Go forth into the galaxy, steal AI technology, recapture those planets you must in order to achieve your ends, and save what remains of humanity. But draw too much attention to yourself, and the full might of the AI overlords will come crashing down.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mixed (13 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (819 reviews)
Recently Posted
mattgroom
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
terrible, built like a 1950's game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DocPhineas
( 73.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 12
AI War is an unending slog. There's a really intriguing idea buried in the guts, about controlling vast fleets and reestablishing an empire, but in the end trying to get at that idea is more trouble than it's worth. I spent far too much time trying different configurations and tweaking game options, and in every game eventually hit a wall where it just stopped being enjoyable.

The game is trying to be a hybrid of Homeworld and Master of Orion, but lacks enough depth in both empire management and fleet tactics to make that combination work. You can (and will) lose hundreds of ships in a single battle, but have to manually add every replacement ship type back into your fleet groups manually. There are dozens of different weapon types and ranges, but only a single "hold at this range" setting, and formations are apparently worthless, so the best you can hope for is to lump everything with a vaguely similar range into a giant ball and hurl it at objectives. There might be a way to create additional settings, but I never found them because the UI and documention is spectacularly cluttered and unhelpful.

In my final game the AI governing my units glitched out. My repair and construction units would no longer auto-repair or help in construction, ensuring that building replacement ships would take hours and I would have to manually repair every single ship after each battle. Reloading the game didn't fix the issue, nor did resetting the unit behavior options. So, in the end, I was defeated by the AI in AI War, because it just stopped working.

I have enjoyed games that are ambitious but flawed. Unfortunately, AI War is far more flawed than it is ambitious. Skip it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Verum
( 154.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 9
Provides hours of a solid strategic challenge. The enemy is overwhelming and will easily crush you if you are not mindful of the war you are waging. There is a steep learning curve, so this is not for casual gameplay, but if you commit to learning the system it is quite rewarding.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ShadowPulse
( 25.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 6
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
Because the AI will come and wreck your ♥♥♥♥ if you poke it too hard
Solution: expand carefully and deliberately enough not to get obliterated when the AI comes for you
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Benedict
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 5
1. Open game.
2. Game asks for my name to create a player profile.
3. Type my name in the box with the flashing cursor. No response. Box stays blank.
4. Try to click enter so that I can at least play. Get told 'Name cannot be blank'.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 several times.
6. Give up and request a refund.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
madmatg
( 299.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
Wonderful game, just wish more people were available for multiplayer but the singleplayer is pretty wonderful and replayable
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DumA1024
( 4.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
Hour 3 and i like it a lot, borderline love it. Big RTS fan and ive been eye balling this waiting for the steam sale.

Pros: Complexity=6/10 not too simple, not too complex, it seems like a lot at first
Graphics=4/10 wont blow your pants off, but zoom in and its quite nice considering

Cons: Ships move kinda slow, and this game does time a bit of time to do things. I would guess 20hr/campaign once you know what your doing

Side Notes: Not much of a story, the game preveiw info is pretty much it. To me thats not a real problem, but for some it is.
TL;DR: Great game, not overly simple or complex, game will keep you occupied.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Katopilot717
( 100.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Great game, would recommend to ANYONE with plenty of patience, determination, and time to spare. Totally has more strategy than you would expect it to after giving it a quick look over. Worth every penny.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MassageHammer
( 9.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
AI War is a really FANTASTIC game. If you enjoy 4x games at all, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. It is a very unique, well thought-out and streamlined strategic game.

I'm a huge fan of turn based games, so initially I wasn't sure about the RTS style, but it REALLY works. Turn-based games eventually get bogged down as you own more real estate - AI War does not suffer from this problem, and it's designed so that it never becomes overwhelming in real-time. Plus, it's pausable, so you have as much time as you like to contemplate.

It almost has the feel of a mash-up of Master of Orion (1), Strange Adventures in Infinite Space, and Space Rangers, although it has none of the trading elements of the latter. It does, however, have a formidable "alien" opponent, in this case it is the artificial intelligence that has come to destroy us, and it feels a bit like the Klissans in Space Rangers. They're big, they're evil, and they have already won.

At this price, and ESPECIALLY on sale prices, you really owe it to yourself to check out this game. It's really fresh and new, and so you really aren't going to get a firm idea of how it is until you play - but I guarantee you will have a good tiem. It reminds me of a time when we felt video games could be anything!

I could go on and on but just BUY IT. It's CHEAP and FUN AS HELL
Helpful? Yes No Funny
the_bloody_nine
( 171.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
A very different strategy gaming experience, and one that somehow keeps you coming back for more.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
299.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Wonderful game, just wish more people were available for multiplayer but the singleplayer is pretty wonderful and replayable
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
154.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
Provides hours of a solid strategic challenge. The enemy is overwhelming and will easily crush you if you are not mindful of the war you are waging. There is a steep learning curve, so this is not for casual gameplay, but if you commit to learning the system it is quite rewarding.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Hour 3 and i like it a lot, borderline love it. Big RTS fan and ive been eye balling this waiting for the steam sale.

Pros: Complexity=6/10 not too simple, not too complex, it seems like a lot at first
Graphics=4/10 wont blow your pants off, but zoom in and its quite nice considering

Cons: Ships move kinda slow, and this game does time a bit of time to do things. I would guess 20hr/campaign once you know what your doing

Side Notes: Not much of a story, the game preveiw info is pretty much it. To me thats not a real problem, but for some it is.
TL;DR: Great game, not overly simple or complex, game will keep you occupied.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
25.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 6
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
Because the AI will come and wreck your ♥♥♥♥ if you poke it too hard
Solution: expand carefully and deliberately enough not to get obliterated when the AI comes for you
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 24 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
73.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
AI War is an unending slog. There's a really intriguing idea buried in the guts, about controlling vast fleets and reestablishing an empire, but in the end trying to get at that idea is more trouble than it's worth. I spent far too much time trying different configurations and tweaking game options, and in every game eventually hit a wall where it just stopped being enjoyable.

The game is trying to be a hybrid of Homeworld and Master of Orion, but lacks enough depth in both empire management and fleet tactics to make that combination work. You can (and will) lose hundreds of ships in a single battle, but have to manually add every replacement ship type back into your fleet groups manually. There are dozens of different weapon types and ranges, but only a single "hold at this range" setting, and formations are apparently worthless, so the best you can hope for is to lump everything with a vaguely similar range into a giant ball and hurl it at objectives. There might be a way to create additional settings, but I never found them because the UI and documention is spectacularly cluttered and unhelpful.

In my final game the AI governing my units glitched out. My repair and construction units would no longer auto-repair or help in construction, ensuring that building replacement ships would take hours and I would have to manually repair every single ship after each battle. Reloading the game didn't fix the issue, nor did resetting the unit behavior options. So, in the end, I was defeated by the AI in AI War, because it just stopped working.

I have enjoyed games that are ambitious but flawed. Unfortunately, AI War is far more flawed than it is ambitious. Skip it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
426 of 431 people (99%) found this review helpful
209 people found this review funny
Recommended
35.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2015
This game plots you against 2 super powerful AI's, and starts you with one planet, one base, and you must build up from there.

So my 2 other friends and i have a fleet of over 3000 ships. We have captured 12 combined planets, and we are doing amazingly, when we find the husk of an ancient ship.
It calls to us, and asks us to repair it.
We start repairing it with everything we had.
10 minutes later, it gets fixed, and we get a ship called the 'Exodian Blade.'
The Blade shoots a laser that instakills most ships in its path. However, it is super, super slow.
We become greedy, and we start capturing planets, with the Blade singlehandley defeating everything on it.

But when one of my scientists conducts a survey and finds a strange subspace signal, the AI gets mad, and launches a full scale assault.

Even with the Exodian Blade, we couldn't defend forever.

We had lost all but 2 of our planets; only our capital and a far-off isolated colony remained.
We had repositioned the 300 ships left from our 3000 ship fleet at the capital.
When suddenly, my friend completes a nuke.
He had been building it all game.

We use the nuke, completely destroying every ship and planet except for one AI's home and our captial.
We track down the AI home, and send the Exodian Blade there.

Meanwhile, a devourer golem appears, which slowly moves and instakills any ships next it, at my capital.

Fast forward, I had kited the golem away, and the Blade arrived at the AI home.
We were surprised to see that there were only 300 ships there. Nothing that we can't handle.

Then we realize that we needed to destroy 13 different shield generators around the planet that protected the AI core.

"We can do that! We have the most overpowered ship in the game! We can just instakill them all," we all exclaimed.

"The most overpowered ship in the game" looked like crap to what came in next.

A exogalactic wormhole appears, and through it come 3000 different max level ships, ships with missiles, ships with integrated shields, ships we have never evever seen before.

It took a minute for the Exodian Blade, with 200 million hitpoints, to die.

We hadn't destroyed a single thing on the AI home planet.

We had lost on difficulty 'very easy.'

I cant even imagine what the highest difficulty level is like.

This game is the only game that can make you go from amazing to crap so quickly, and still be fun.
This game is the only game that makes losing fun.
This game is the spawn of Satan.
But it might have well been a gift from heaven.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
226 of 230 people (98%) found this review helpful
21 people found this review funny
Recommended
262.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 4, 2015
Ai War: Fleet Command feels like playing chess - without knowing all the moves, and with a cheating opponent.

First off, the opponent doesn't really cheat, but it feels that way to a new player. The learning curve is extremely steep, which means you will probably only lose for the first few dozen hours of playing - unless you choose one of the very easy difficulties.

The main problem most people will have is the completely different playstyle. Yes, it is an RTS, it looks and even plays as a classic RTS, yet when you go out from your home planet lasers blazing, burning and capturing new resources, you will lose. Always. How discouraging, right?

The reason to this is asymetry. Your opponent does not share your options. He does not build, he has everything. You on the other hand have but a single planet. Why not crush you in an instant? Cause he doesn't care, you're not important enough to be crushed. However if you blow up a few planets of his.. he might as well decide it's time for the human remnant to die.

All this said, the game *punishes* you for capturing important assets - planets, technology, etc. Each time you do such an action, the ai gets more aware of your "threat", which will mean stronger and more frequent attacks. From now till the end of game.

In conlcusion, there seems to be two games hidden under this title:
First, a guerilla war, in which the player gathers strength and tries to avoid antagonizing the enemy too much in fear of brutal retaliation.
Second, the glorious moment when the carefully prepared guerilla finally decides to go on par with the ai and fight a full on war - no more hiding.

Replayability: High, assuming you don't mind defeat. There are plenty of ai structures, and only some of them are used on each map. Throughout the expansions, a lot more has arrived to make the game entertaining and keep the player busy.

Multiplayer: Brilliant. The player slots can be changed on the fly by the game host. Playing a single player game and having a friend who wants to join? No problem, open a slot for him, give him a planet and you're playing within seconds. He's leaving again? No big deal, just close his slot, grab his units and go on with your game.

You probably don't want to play this if:
- You dislike frequent losing
- You dislike slow-paced games
- You dislike games with a steep learning curve
- You dislike constantly analysing the situation and like to just order your units to go and pillage instead.

You probably want to try this if:
- You like complicated strategy games
- You like analysing the strategic situation a lot
- You like slow-paced strategy games, in which fortifications actually work
- You are a hard-core strategy game player and like a challenge
- You like dwarf fortress and space strategy games
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
254 of 266 people (95%) found this review helpful
23 people found this review funny
Recommended
1,303.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
At the time of Writing, I have over 1000 hours clocked in this game.
I have won four times on difficulty 7, once on difficulty 8. I got crushed in 3.5 hours on diff. 9
Any other strategy game I load up (against AIS), the results are a foregone conclusion. I will win.

It has taken me over four years and six expansions, over a thousand hours... AND I LOSE ON 9.

This game is not simple. it is not forgiving, and it sure as heck isn't easy to learn.

If you are all about grand strategy but micromanagement leaves a bad taste in your mouth, this may be the best $20 you ever spend. Get the bundle.
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246 of 258 people (95%) found this review helpful
112 people found this review funny
Recommended
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 28, 2015
So.. I started a game to test the enemy AI, with each of the game's two AI opponents set to the 'Entrenched Homeworlder' preset and 10/10 difficulty (10/10, out of a possible 17 settings)

To "make things fair" I gave myself a +300% boost to resources and limited the technology available for the round (no starships, no shields, couple other things..)

The "match" lasted 6:12.

Six minutes for me to set up my base.. I built a bank of 15 sniper turrets, and two semi-crescents of laser turrets, and piled minefields around the two warp points in my home system (and lightly along the path I was sure the devils would cut straight towards my base, as well..).

I crafted a fleet of 200 ships, 50 of each available at the time. Set up tachyon drones and reinforced my swarm of engineers.. I created a Mobile Builder in case tragedy happened, and was just about to waste time setting up tractor beam turrets when they arrived.

The ship types didn't matter. Nothing mattered.

135 mixed enemy ships showed up and tore through the minefields like they weren't there. It killed some, but it wasn't enough. The spear of sea-foam green demons flew directly for my colony, shrugging off sniper and laser fire.. As my fleet approached, they simply drove through them.

They didn't want the fleet.

They took two things, in that 12 seconds: my home colony (which earns you a pleasantly red text stating YOU HAVE LOST!), and my energy supply (throwing my entire setup into electrical brown-out).

Then they turned and left. I was reminded of an assassin, gently dispatching their hapless and hopeless victim with grace and ease, silent.. and leaving, without fanfare.
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267 of 287 people (93%) found this review helpful
15 people found this review funny
Recommended
112.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2014
AI War is a special game to me. To borrow a quote from Firefly:
"Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man."
AI War lets you meet yourself. Some games you play until you can win, then you get bored. AI War is different. At difficulty 7 or below it's still challenging, easy to stumble on the long road to victory and not a sure thing. It'll take a while but you'll have a satisfying victory. But you won't stop there, once you can win the game then you'll feel free to turn up the heat. Walking through the labyrinth of options until, quite quickly, you find yourself standing on the volcano's edge, bound and tied by your own hands. But when you find yourself there it'll be with a smile on your face, saying quite happily: "Oh no! Oh no! Oh dear... I'm dead." And if you do manage to win at difficulty 10, it's a bug. Report it on the Arcen games forums... with pride.

Also, it has co-op multiplayer. So you can tie your friends up and hold them over the volcano's edge... though you'll probably both be a little singed. (Fighting Scorched Earth AI's and... Mimes! NB: Scorched earth destroys planets rather than letting you take control, never set both AI types to that if you want to win. Mimes mimic the ships you used against it, you'll think... “So what happens if I use...” and the answer: You die.)

Lastly, the developers are kind, polite and extraordinarily hard working. The game has evolved with constant developments for year after year after year. They read people's after action reports, watch the lets plays, answer questions on the forums and are just plain nice. Not a dull nice, but a sweet, genuine, sharp and creative nice... rather like shaving a birthday cake into a beard. Or sneaking into the office to digitise old files to save you time.

They've got a touch of magic, love and creativity that I want to watch, and I hope that other people will have a chance to see it too. So yeah, it's just a game, the graphics are a little dated and the learning curve is a little steep... it isn't really magic and it doesn't grant any wishes. But I like it. I'm glad I bought it. I hope you'll set aside a few hours and give it a solid try. Then some more hours when you drag a friend to play a co-op game.
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