"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:
Mostly Positive (18 reviews) - 72% of the 18 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (827 reviews) - 85% of the 827 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 21, 2009

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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:
Mostly Positive (18 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (827 reviews)
Recently Posted
dixoniii
( 4.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 29
Love this game spent hours on youtube to learn this game and just in an hour fell in love with this game dev u did good i mean this game was made in 09 and is still great. one thing that sucks though is cant find a person to play multiplayer though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
athelasloraiel
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: July 28
love all of it....
Helpful? Yes No Funny
justgivemeanamegoddamnit
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 27
Difficulty wise, it's the Space 4X version of dark souls, but way harder.

It's the kind of incredible game a single person or small groups makes sometimes, where the learning curve is steep af, the market is a small niche and the difficulty is incredibly challenging, but for those who go through that and actually learn it, it becomes incredibly rewarding.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
GLoby
( 5.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 26
So much I have not f*cked
Helpful? Yes No Funny
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
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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
12 of 17 people (71%) found this review helpful
5 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
8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 27
Difficulty wise, it's the Space 4X version of dark souls, but way harder.

It's the kind of incredible game a single person or small groups makes sometimes, where the learning curve is steep af, the market is a small niche and the difficulty is incredibly challenging, but for those who go through that and actually learn it, it becomes incredibly rewarding.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
443 of 448 people (99%) found this review helpful
216 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
231 of 235 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
258 of 270 people (96%) 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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248 of 260 people (95%) found this review helpful
113 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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138 of 143 people (97%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
42.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2015
For me, it’s a rare thing indeed for a game to move from total obscurity to a fixed place on my hard drive in the course of a handful of days. Admittedly, I was less-than-enthused as I first started playing this little gem from Arcen Games. I was thoroughly prepared to slog through yet another space-based RTS, and be on way to bigger and better titles. Then, slowly, I began uncovering a depth of play that I just wasn’t expecting in a freshman game from a tiny indie studio. After a few more hours, I realized that I was not only having a blast with my initial runs through the game, I was planning many additional excursions even after my review was written. Although not for the faint of heart, AI Wars: Fleet Command is a surprising, delightful, and thoroughly engrossing RTS title.

AI Wars is just brimming with innovative twists on the 4X-style RTS. First up: regardless of the number of players, from the solo outing to an eight-player mash-up, AI Wars is always Human vs. AI. At first blush, this may sound like a Bad Thing, but it works quite well. Due to this co-op only setting, Arcen dodged a huge problem with many RTS games: the need for balancing several different factions.

Next up is the AI itself. In a very cool take on enemy behavior, the AI advances in difficulty and aggressiveness in direct proportion to the amount of territory the human teams take. Destroying key AI structures increases the “AI Progress” value, meaning a greater buildup of enemy forces, and a greater willingness for them to be used. The AIs themselves can be set from several different flavors at the start of a game, giving players the chance to face turtling AI, highly aggressive ones, tech-mad researchers, or some combination of the mix. Just one little change in AI setting makes for a very different game.

Speaking of game setup, there are scads of options to choose from at the outset. Galaxy size and planet distribution choices are endless, with millions of possible combinations (and the ability to preserve the random seed for those who want to re-try a favorite map). AI style and aggressiveness, as mentioned above, greatly changes the challenge level of the game. In addition, there are several choices about player tech level, bonus units, and other small flavor changes.

The scope of AI Wars is staggering. Played over a series of planetary gravity wells connected by jump points, a typical game can have dozens of active battlefronts with literally thousands upon thousands of ships slugging it out. Thankfully, the control scheme is more than capable of handling the hordes. With just a few clicks, entire sweeping fleets can be sent across the galaxy. Typical RTS necessities, such as tech upgrades, resource management, and unit building, are likewise streamlined to allow players to spend much more time in big-picture decisions. The tech tree itself is rather small compared to other games of this type, but it fits well with the flow nonetheless.

The strategy for playing AI Wars is something truly unique. Due to the AI Progress aspect, it’s often not in players’ best interest to completely take over every planet. Those that take that approach will soon find themselves swamped with enemy forces, since the AI doesn’t have to play by the same resource-limited rules that the players do. Careful scouting of neighboring systems, following by surgical strikes and opportunistic lunges is the name of the game. Because of this, players are often spreading out across the galaxy in a piecemeal fashion, leaving enemy forces interspersed between the growing empire. Thus, players need to find that perfect balance between careful defensive turtling and selective offense. Adding additional human teammates increases the difficulty proportionally, so the challenge doesn’t fade with the increased number of allies.

AI Wars looks good, although I did take a little while to warm up to the almost old-school style. The ability to quickly zoom in and out over massive battlefields is impressive, as is the ability for the game to visually keep everything straight. I found the background music to also be surprisingly good, since it’s often something I either just overlook or soon disable in this sort of game. The controls are solid, although they did seem just a little clunky at first. After a bit of time, however, I soon had everything flowing smoothly in my quest for human dominance.

All told, AI Wars: Fleet Command is bound to be a delight to any fan of the heavier strategy titles. It’s an absolute bargain as well, and this title has the rumblings of a very strong, even if not terribly large, community support. I was pleasantly surprised by just about everything I saw in this game, and I would heartily suggest this for those wanting a meaty, unique galactic RTS romp. Although not for the faint of heart (or even the casual strategy gamer), AI Wars: Fleet Command is a surprising, delightful, and thoroughly engrossing RTS title.
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