Play as an A.I tasked with helping mankind explore the vastness of space. Customize your ship, recruit a crew, battle alien vessels, research new technology and explore randomly generated universes.
User reviews:
Mixed (23 reviews) - 65% of the 23 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 29, 2016

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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

The Sentient is about exploration and trying new ideas and gameplay mechanics that are not often seen in other space simulation games.

Because of this, we need a lot of community feedback to help address gameplay issues and make a fun experience for all.

As seen on our website, we have updated the game on a regular basis -- adding features and polish based on tester feedback.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We expect to be adding content and new features for at least the next six months. After that, we will see the current status of the game -- and depending on our (and player) satisfaction with the product, we will continue to add new content or move the game into full release.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version will have the much anticipated power armor system with pilots entering into the crew.

This will allow for new combat mechanics and many new gameplay elements as you hold mission briefings in order to send your crew out on specific missions away from your ship.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Currently, the game has been focused on exploration and ship to ship combat with the initial crew being the Flight Crew and Mechanics. The idea is to continue to polish this gameplay and then begin moving into the power armor system with Pilots.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The final price for the game is still being decided, but it could increase with added features and content by release.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We plan to have open discussions on elements of the game and directly engage and fix issues that arise.

The community will be able to make feature suggestions and let us know what is and isn't working.”
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Recent updates View all (32)

October 24

6.1.1 Hotfix

Just a small update to add additional checks when crew members are running around the ship.

The movement system needs to be upgraded as it was based on the original design of the game over a year ago. Many things have changed but this should help with some of the visual "floating into space" bugs that were occurring.

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October 21

Steam Update #21!

A lot of playtesting going on behind the scenes to ensure the next updates run fairly smoothly. Alpha 6 provided a great deal of overall stability and fixes to the game so this updates continues with that focus.

The latest update brings the attention back on the crew while cleaning up some of the power armor bugs introduced with 6.0. Crew members when filling up their stats now provide a grace period before stats begin to immediately drop again. This should help with removing some of the feeling of constantly chasing after the crew.

Also added several comments when crew members are trying to interact with an object that is full or someone is using it and they are unable to.

Next up is some improvements to the overall flow of the game with some additional crew updates before moving onto Alpha 7 with the on board ship events.

  • Crew members will now occasionally comment when objects are full awaiting for a spot to open.
  • When filling needs, a new grace period has been added before stats begin to drop again.
  • Slowed down running animation however doubled the distance the run does.
  • Fixed an issue where opening the squad view after loading a save could remove a crew member from the squad before reaching their armor.
  • Change weapon orders should now be maintained when loading saves.
  • There are now differing sizes of docking stations for each powered armor along with their own animations.
  • You can no longer use hotkeys to select crew members in space.
  • Fixed an issue where earth controls were not loading properly when switching between save files.
  • Removed reward screen pop issue from previous and not yet initialized rewards.

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About This Game

In The Sentient, you play as an artificial intelligence who is asked to help mankind’s failing space exploration plans. Being able to process data relatively quickly you are tasked with bringing as much research and knowledge back to Earth via an orbital station known as "The Ark." At the Ark, you are able to recruit a crew, alter the layout of your ship, and perform research to improve current and new technology in order to aid you on future missions. When away from the Ark, your decisions can result in the life or death of not only your ship but of your crew. Space is a vast unknown so everything must be discovered in order to attempt to work with or against aliens.

Key Features:
1) Procedurally-generated: Explore unpredictable sectors of space.
2) Choose a crew: Recruit a crew with perks and daily needs. Train them well and become stronger.
3) Fully-customizable ship: Design and optimize the complete layout of your ship - from the number of shield generators to toilets. Everything is in your hands!
4) Ship-to-ship combat (based on ship designs and crew capabilities): Not able to withstand enough damage? Increase the number of shield generators and shield consoles. Not enough damage output? Increase the number of weapon tanks and weapon consoles.
5) Ongoing research: Gain research usable in upgrading weaponry, ship stats and capabilities.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0 compatible video card
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 800 MB available space
    • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0 compatible video card
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 800 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mixed (23 reviews)
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21 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 9
The Sentient is a very early access game reminiscent of FTL with active developers, good content and a ton of potential.

Early Access
The state of the game is very Early Access but entirely playable. I’ve invested around three hours in my first play without finding anything too boring or repetitive and there are plenty of game mechanics in place to keep you busy. I think most of the base features are already implemented with most just needing fleshing out to feel a little more fuller and a few things added, tweaked and balanced.

The story of The Sentient is a fantastic one which follows an AI which, you guessed it, became a sentient being and changed the world as we knew it. The story is very well written and though there is only a relatively small snippet at the start it is impactful and the art that goes alongside it is really, really amazing. I would love to see a little more of the story added though honestly, in this style of game I’m not too sure where it would fit in.

General Gameplay
The gameplay in The Sentient echoes FTL in many areas such as things like exploring sectors via nodes, random events, crew control and ship combat. But The Sentient seems to have extra features already even though it is still in Early Access form.
You start by being able to build the rooms on your ship where you want them. Each ship must have specific rooms but placement is up to you entirely. You also have the ability to choose which items go in a room, once again some are required, others will give you a room specific boost and some will contribute to your crews needs. The customization reminded me a lot of Theme Hospital and other games like that where you must utilize the space you are given to reap the best benefits and can choose what goes into what room. There are many different rooms you can build and they will either be needed for combat/navigation or to restore your crews needs when they aren’t on duty or in combat, but since combat can happen at almost any time the layout of your ship will be pretty important. Though you only have one ship at the start you are able to unlock more ships via the research tree and these will be stronger, allow for more weapons and have more building space.
Crew members are split into two groups, normal crew and mechanics and each has a different task. Your normal crew will do things like man the weapons and shield controls and fly your ship whereas the mechanics sole job is to keep equipment repaired. You can choose the crew you hire (but can only hire on earth) and your crew has their own stats alongside side perks and negative traits allowing you to pick the crew you think would be the best fit for the job. There are 4 parts to each day and your shipmates can all be assigned tasks to do across the various times in the day allowing for a little micromanagement.

As you travel and explore you encounter different randomized sectors. You can choose which you visit and how many you visit but seeing as you can only repair, hire and upgrade on Earth you’ll find yourself popping back and forth occasionally. Sectors can be scanned (if you upgrade your ship in the research tree) to reveal some features of each sector making it easier to choose which ones you want to explore as the game goes on. Since sectors are randomly generated the possibilities are endless and you can keep on playing and playing still finding new things but the sectors will get harder the furthur from earth you venture. Each sector will also have random events with rewards or consequences as an outcome so there is incentive to explore as much as possible.
You can upgrade features on your ship using research points you’ll find yourself coming across across out in the galaxy making your ship more powerful or unlocking more rooms. You can upgrade things mostly in whatever order you choose allowing you to focus on combat over defense or ignoring both to try to get a new ship if you want.

Sound and Graphics
The soundtrack is short but very atmospheric, I just hope more tracks are added to it over time so it doesn’t feel too repetitive considering there is a lot you can explore.
The graphics are really clean pixel style giving the game an almost retro feel. What I think really deserves a shoutout though is the art you see during the story. It really is beautiful and seems like someone spent a lot of time on it and honestly it’s one of the main reasons i’d love to see more story added.

--- Ship customization
--- Randomized sectors with random events.
--- Crew traits and needs.
--- Crew schedule allowing for micromanagement.
--- Vast research tree.
--- Multiple ship types.
--- Simple yet intuitive combat.
--- Active and receptive developers.

--- Early Access bugs & glitches.
--- No time control hotkeys
--- Needs a little more content
As you can see, most of the cons are relating to things that will hopefully be fixed over the period it is in Early Access.

The Sentient is truly fantastic and though it’s still in Early Access it does a better job than many full release games on Steam. The development team are active and open to suggestions and regularly engage and reply to the community. The gameplay itself while a little buggy is fantastic and there are some brilliant features i’ve never seen before in the genre that work really well. The Sentient is a game with amazing potential and a must-have for any FTL fan out there. (I have clocked in 123 hours on FTL and it’s my fifth most played game.)
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16 of 23 people (70%) found this review helpful
50.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: March 1
The Sentient is an amazing new scifi strategy/sim/management/roguelike indie game that oozes potential. The devs are great about listening to the players and seem to have a genuine desire to put out a great game. As with most Early Access titles, there are some bugs to be worked out.

The battle gameplay is engaging and the story is interesting and immediately draws you in from the instant you start the intro. The graphics and sound are solid and the gameplay seems very smooth and optimized. I feel I most definitely got my money's worth purchasing on release day and the thought that it will be improved and expanded on has me very optimistic for the future of this title.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 28
The biggest problems i see so far are the A.I, the game speed, and how fast the stats lower. I

ts fun i give it that but the A.I are just dumb. They ignore orders and their needs, you tell them to go eat so they don't starve and they ignore that to go walk around. At least during combat they head to any station that is open or anything that needs fixing.

The game speed only has pause, normal, and fast. 2 to short for a space sim. Needs a faster and fastest speed.

And the stats, HOLY ♥♥♥♥, it's like the sims all over again. Thats how bad it is.

combat is easy at the start but can ramp up quick if you stray to far from earth.

Random events make save scuming the best type of scuming because you CAN lose a crew member right off the bat when you leave earth and won't be able to replace him or her until you finish reconing the system.

Over all it has that old school space rpg feel
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 15
Product received for free
Portable Description
Currently in an alpha state, The Sentient is a procedurally generated space-adventure focusing on micro-managing a crew through various sectors of space. Careful scheduling of tasks between crew members during their respective free-time and combat situations will ensure a successful exploration through this anomaly filled universe.

The Sentient’s Narrative
After witnessing the decaying moral and physical status of Earth’s inhabitants, an artificial intelligence has taken upon itself to discover a way to improve their quality of life. Tasked to oversee mankind’s space exploration agenda, the player controls the AI in an effort to bring as much research and knowledge as it can back to Earth via an orbital station known as The Ark.

Space Exploration
The universe of The Sentient is comprised of multitudes of sectors, each with nodes or anomalies marking points of interest. Presented initially as a 3 x 3 grid, the successful investigation of each sector will yield additional adjacent sectors that may be explored. Earth, marking a sector of operations, is located at the center of the original 3 x 3 grid, and must be returned to in order to reconfigure the ship, consolidate and utilize research and recruit more crew members.

Within each sector is a handful of nodes/anomalies to investigate. Upon entering a sector with an FTL jump, all anomalies must be investigated before leaving the sector. The sectors and anomalies are all procedurally generated upon investigation – meaning that a re-load of a save point prior to visiting a particular anomaly may generate a new one. Some of the examples of an anomaly include: distress beacons, ship-ship contact, floating cargo, or traps/ambushes/exploitation attempts.

There are many ways to experience a game over in The Sentient, so an instantaneous/automatic save system helps alleviate the burden of premature death. Due to the procedural generation of anomalies upon investigation, along with the difficulties of extended/large scale combat, save scumming is definitely a common reoccurrence. Upon the destruction of the ship from a game over, the game provides the ability to create a new ship with the exact same configuration to hasten a new play through.

Ship Command
The journey begins with the creation and configuration of the space vessel of interest. The ship is comprised of various rooms each with unique functions, such as: the command room, cafeteria, engine room, bar, bathroom, etc. Within each room are various objects that must be placed in order to access the above functions. These include weapons/shield consoles, flight stick, bunk beds, vending machines, etc. Multiples of each object can configured to create a more personalized ship of the player’s choosing. Various crew members must operate particular objects in order to meet their respective needs or fulfill scheduled commands. Each object will also have a maximum durability that must be maintained with a crew mechanic in order to extend the life of the object.

Crew Management
There are two major types of crew members: flight crew and mechanics. The flight crew operate and perform almost every major task needed for the maintenance of the ship and for combat situations. The mechanics restore durability to objects or generators. Each crew member is unique, outfitted with a special set of Perks or Issues: lazy, commanding, hygienic etc. They can also level up with experience for an upgrade in stats.

One of the core mechanics defining The Sentient is with regards to crew micro-management. Each member will have a set of needs that must be fulfilled while performing mandatory tasks for continued space exploration. To aid in improving the efficiency of crew and ship management, it is imperative to strategize and plan assignments for each member using a shift schedule. A day is broken up into Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Evening and Combat shifts.

These Needs are represented by decaying bars indicating: hunger, energy, fun, morale and health levels. In order to maintain high levels for each need, it is important to take a break from ship-related tasks periodically. There is a crew management option that allows a member to disregard scheduled tasks if a Needs level reaches a minimum percentage.

Specific tasks can be pre-assigned to every crew member during each shift in order to help maintain command and vessel integrity. Some of the required tasks that can be assigned include: gathering of weapons/shield energy, fixing of generators/objects, control of the flight systems, etc.

Ship-Ship Combat
Upon encountering a hostile anomaly, or instigating one, a battle will ensue. The success of a ship-ship battle requires the destruction of the enemy’s shields and subsequent hull. Scanners provide tangible health numbers that the AI controlled ship must deplete using battle canons and lasers. Throughout battle, the player’s shield and weapons energy will deplete in real time. This is because using the on-board weapons systems require a set amount of energy per shot; a cooldown prevents rapid spamming of the fire button. There is a very small energy recovery rate that will eventually provide another shot if all weapons energy is used. Assigning vital combat related tasks will determine the outcome of the battle, including the gathering of weapons/shield energy and energy storage use.

Various tasks/anomalies will reward the player with research points that will unlock permanent upgrades for the ship or its weapon systems. Some of these researched abilities will greatly affect the survivability of the vessel, including: increased damage, improved scanners, faster travel speed, etc.

Current State of the Game
Originally launched at the end of February this year, the developers of The Sentient have been very active and transparent regarding game updates and future work, as can be seen on the “Recent updates” section in the Store page. There are also many threads from the developers in the Discussions board requesting suggestions and information regarding encountered bugs. Also, almost every thread regarding player support is also presented with a developer response.

The Sentient vs. FTL
It is inevitable to play The Sentient without thinking about FTL (for most space adventure/sim fans). A concise summary regarding the differences between the two games are provided by the developer here.

Advised Suggestions
Below are a few suggestions that may improve gameplay:

  • Provide a faster sim speed/skip to next action or day option to reduce tedium and wait times.
  • Allow control of crew members without having to assign commands (click to eat etc.).
  • Provide a Help log or info on hover (of objects) & include helpful strategies if desired by the player.
  • Combat retreat.
  • Introduce primary quests: find planet X in sectors 1-3, escort ship to sector X, etc.
  • Introduce unique/grand anomalies: space coliseum, merchant hub, space pirate stronghold etc.

With everything taken into consideration, The Sentient is definitely recommended to fans of the space-adventure/management/simulation genres. It is very important to note that The Sentient is still currently in an alpha phase of its Early Access; however, the game’s current state and development history/update frequency provide a vote of confidence for its support.

Review copy provided by Uncaged Studios

Before You Buy – analyses of newly released indie games
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 15
I spent 50 minutes making the ship perfect and arranging schedules to get the most out of my crew and use their faults/strengths to my advantage only to watch in stunned silence as they spend an entire day eating food even while being shot at.

Great concept, terrific artwork, ♥♥♥♥♥♥ coding.
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15 of 27 people (56%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: February 29
This game brings the roguelike encounters from FTL and the endless progression of DotE, with plenty of new features to the table.

It combines ship building, crewmember recruitment and management, space battles and even a little humor to boot!

I had a blast except for my pilot kept trying to stop steering to go eat some chicken....GET BACK AT THE STEERING WHEEL DANGIT!!!

10/ chicken...
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 24
This is a very good game at the moment but there are some problems (mostly about the A.I) but thats to be expected from an early access game but it's still very good and well worth the price.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
20.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: March 12
I'd buy the game for the idea, not for how it's currently playing out. Give it a few more weeks or months for the devs to iron out the kinks.
There are bugs and pathfinding issues galore and eventually you'll run out of ways to try and solve them and just give up.

But by then you've already sunk a few hours into it and you'll be like "When can those issues be resolved? I want to play more of this wonderful game!"
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7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: March 1
As an early access title we get to see the core idea and concepts in execution for The Sentient and... it is awesome!

I love the attention to detail this early in development for the simulation mechanics - you can tell the developer is really laying down the foundation for a great simulation game: schedules, interactions, events, personalities, conversations, skills, ... the list goes on.

The combat needs some work, but it's early access. I'm certainly wanting more. More content, more systems, and more potted plants for my bar!
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12 of 23 people (52%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: March 2
Concept seems like it has quite a bit of potential. However at this time it is very pre-pre-alpha. I would have suggested that they hold out a bit longer in development before throwing it out to early access. Unfortunately at this time I cannot reccomend this game because of the amount of bugs. You will try to save but most likely the save will have some sort of error and you will have to continually start over and over again. I would try again in a few months. I do think there is potential for the devs to have a very fun game. I hope they can make it work because it seems like it could be a winner.
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Recently Posted
IPfreely [IRE]
1.7 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 6

This game definitely has potential but at the moment it is still not gripping me as much as FTL.

The graphics are passable but seem to lack charm and oddly seem dated.

I really like the idea but there is very little to do between encounters other than let your crew do whatever they want.

Combat seems like it's just about clicking.

At the moment I would only recommend if it was at half price.
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Ninth Prophet
2.6 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: August 30
While the concept is very reminiscent of FTL and the art is well done, balance and especially programming are garbage. It's incredibly frustrating to watch my carefully organized ship layout and crew schedule go to waste as my entire flight crew proceeds to drink themselves under the table during combat.

3/10 only alcoholics appear in recruitment roster
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0.2 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: August 8
Product received for free
The game is really confusing, i have no idea what im doing or what i am suppoused to do, the music sounds like it's from a 2010 flash game and the art is really ugly aswell. If this was a flash game i wouldn't be surprised. This game should just be left alone in a corner and be forgotten until it's good. Good thing i didn't spend the high and dumb pricetag of 12.99€, it is not worth it. The concept is okay but it just doesn't play out like it should.
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2.2 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: July 27
have been playing for around 4-5 hours now. and it seems to be a worthwhile purchase for sure. game has enough content even in its early stage to keep me busy and is worth paying the small pricetag. a little grindy at times but enough luck and winning to keep me interested. dying only happens every once in a while once you learn how to play and is pretty well balanced. looking forward to see what is next to come.
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0.1 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: June 1
strategy space ship simulator game, with lots and lots of different updates, new technologies, possibilities, upgrades;
game partly is a visual novel due to beautifully painted intros - just dive into it and you\'ll get lost
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