Who needs backstory? Who needs resource-gathering? Diplomacy is so last year. Gratuitous Space Battles cuts right to the chase of sci-fi strategy games, and deals with large, completely unjustified space battles between huge opposing space fleets.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (562 reviews) - 75% of the 562 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 16, 2009

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Packages that include this game

Buy Gratuitous Space Battles Ultimate Collection

Includes 9 items: Gratuitous Space Battles, Gratuitous Space Battles 2, Gratuitous Space Battles: Galactic Conquest, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Nomads, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Order, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Outcasts, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Parasites, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Swarm, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Tribe

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Buy Gratuitous Battle Pack

Includes 2 items: Gratuitous Space Battles, Gratuitous Tank Battles

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Buy Gratuitous Space Battles - Complete Pack

Includes 6 items: Gratuitous Space Battles, Gratuitous Space Battles: Galactic Conquest, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Nomads, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Order, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Swarm, Gratuitous Space Battles: The Tribe

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About This Game

Who needs backstory? Who needs resource-gathering? Diplomacy is so last year. Gratuitous Space Battles cuts right to the chase of sci-fi strategy games, and deals with large, completely unjustified space battles between huge opposing space fleets.
Gratuitous Space Battles combines the visual appeal of an RTS, with the addictive unit-placement and design gameplay from tower defense games. In GSB, the player does not control individual ships at all during battle. The ships fight to a pre-determined set of orders and formations given to them by you before the battles.
GSB casts you as supreme space admiral, tasked with the design of individual spaceships, and the composition of your fleet, as well as general orders of engagement. This is not a twitch-based real time arcade game like many an RTS, but a game of careful thought, planning and big-picture strategy. Huge space battles can be won or lost depending on just how cleverly you balanced the needs of defensive shielding and armor against the expensive punch of laser cannons and plasma torpedoes.
GSB also features an innovative multiplayer challenge system. You can upload your ultimate fleet to serve as the enemy to other players, and keep track of how many other players have won and lost against your challenge. That way, you will never run out of cunningly designed enemies to battle against!
  • 4 different unlockable player races
  • Over 40 different ship hulls
  • Over 120 spaceship modules
  • Choice of skirmish vs AI, never-ending survival mode or play against other player’s fleets with the online challenge system
  • Play with different rules as each battle has different spatial anomalies to deal with.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP or Vista
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz processor
    • Memory: 1GB
    • Graphics: 3D Card with 128MB video memory
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB
    • Sound: Any
    • OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
    • Processor: Intel 1 Ghz
    • Memory: 512 MB
    • Graphics: 32MB video card
    • Hard Drive: 75 MB
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mostly Positive (562 reviews)
Recently Posted
EvaPilot1
( 24.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Product received for free
Yeah this games fun. Get it cheap though, I wouldn't recommend it for full price.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
zygrottwanger
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
Does what it says on the box.
A lot of fun for the money.
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No Don't Do It
( 81.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
First game I ever bought, and I don't regret it. I'd love to get into it's sequel to but it's ever so confusing. This is a lot more simple but still very indepth and has SO much detail when you really get into it. Multiple different weapons and races can change the game and I could run easily run it on my old pc too. Great game if you're low on cash and you don't have a relatively good pc too, I could easily sink another 100~ hours if I wasn't so addicted to rocket league and terraria.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
B. B. Banana, Professional Memer
( 3.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 7
This is exactly the kind of space sim I was looking for - harkening back to critical mass by Sean O'Connor! As part of a bundle, it was a lot of fun playing through the campaign for a few hours and good value for my money.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Miyam Rucks
( 7.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Great space combat and ship design game, runs on a potato, would reccomend.
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deaks25
( 152.9 hrs on record )
Posted: April 13
Gratuitous Space Battles is a fun little game on it's own, if a little pricey. The real fun is had in the DLC & the complete pack is worth it over the stock game, particularly the 'Galactic Conquest' mode which really makes this game a great way to burn more time than you intended...

The premise is simple: chose a race, although you only have 1 of the 4 'stock' races avaialable at the start, design fighters, frigates & cruisers by taking a hull & equip it with weapons, shields, amour, engines, crew & other extras. Sounds simple. And in a word, yes it is. Except that the ultimate ship armed with more weapons than whole armies will never have enough crew or power or shields. The balance is superb. Each race even has slightly different attributes; some develop more power or have stronger hulls.

You gradually unlock better equipment & so are constantly redesigning your Ship Of Ultimate Death, but the real fun is Galactic Conquest & is worth every penny. The game generates a new galaxy each new game & you have to conquer it. The game uses fleet designs submitted by players & only a few planets can build new ships. I must have redesigned ships 3 or 4 times, developed whole new strategies... It's superb. And that's still with just the stock 4 races, never mind the 5 more you can add with the DLC.

You can take direct control but I enjoy the challenge of setting up my fleet & watching it go, hoping against hope I've deployed my fleet correctly. The game doesn't bother with a story mode & is better for it.

It's a superbly fun RTS that is something a little different. Recommended
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Auramancer
( 4.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 8
Forget about things like “plot” and “characters” and “worldbuilding.” We all know the best part of sci-fi epics are the enormous fleet battles, lasers and plasma torpedoes flying everywhere. Debris and flaming wreckage litter the battlefield as fighter pilots go on strafing runs against seemingly invincible capital ships. This game is full of Gratuitous Space Battles. That is also its title.

This isn’t an RTS or twitchy strategy game. No, its much more clever than that. You actually don’t have any control over your ships once the battle begins. Rather, you play the role of fleet admiral, designing and tweaking ship loadouts and giving formation orders before battle begins. There’s no overarching story to follow, simply a progression of battles across beautiful space backgrounds against increasingly deadly foes.

The base game ships with four playable races, each of which has their own ship designs and specialties. These races fill all the stereotypical sci-fi roles, from bug-eyed collective to evil empire, plucky resistance to hypercapitalist federation. There are dozens of ship modules to mix and match, trying to find the perfect combination to bring unstoppable death to your foes. The kicker is, you have to unlock almost everything by winning battles with less than the allotted pilots. You buy new modules, hull designs, and races with Honor, which is earned by overcoming better than even odds. Send too many ships into a fight? You won’t get much out of that battle. Simply adding a new ship design or switching races gives you a totally new outlook on the same encounter. You can run an individual battle as much as you like, tweaking and prodding your strategy into a perfected masterpiece of war.

The graphics are passable, though the UI gets a little grating after a while. Sometimes its difficult to read some of the text, even on a large monitor. The music, likewise, is generic but fun, sweeping orchestral pieces that add drama to these largely meaningless fights. A cool touch is the notification bar during battles, where your individual ships will let you know how their shields are doing, which decks have hull damage, and whose reactors are leaking. This little bit of flavor is quite refreshing.

The main conceit of this game is the lack of overarching strategy and story, which is refreshing at first. There is still a sense of progression as you unlock all the options for your fleet, but eventually you’ll have all these options and nothing else to do but replay the same missions over again on a higher difficulty. There are six DLC races that have their own personalities and additional missions, if you want more variety from the four the game ships with. There is also a Galactic Conquest DLC mode, which gives you a map to conquer and, interestingly, pits you against other players’ fleets that they’ve uploaded. Positech calls it “massively singleplayer”. You’ll call it getting utterly destroyed by people who have already mastered these systems.

Gratuitous Space Battles is a fun game, and there’s definitely a lot of depth here if you want to get deep into it. I almost think I might enjoy it more if the ships were prebuilt and I just had to deploy them, rather than have to juggle placement and fleet makeup AND individual ship restrictions. It all becomes a little overwhelming. But its all worth it to see laser beams blow up an alien cruiser.
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meepyl
( 8.5 hrs on record )
Posted: March 23
I've been playing this gave every since it came out on my PC after I bought it. And I have to tell you, it is definately a game I would uninstall at some point. I hope this review is as insightful as it is intended to be. Definately worth the purchase if in a humble bundle with a better game. 5 stars out of some number higher than 5! One middle finger up! A must have had! Buy eventually! Support the guy who watched the movie made by the developer!

I like pizza.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
scrawford65
( 2.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 20
Overall, 7/10. A game of little depth or complexity, but enough spread and slight innovation to keep one going. See below for in depth review.

So I downloded this game years ago from it's official site and was excited to see it on Steam. Unfortunatly I forgot how powerful nostalgia was. This is a great game for kids, a kind of "baby's first space war," but not for a seasoned gamer, or even a casual one above the age of fifteen.

As the description boasts, there is no backstory, there is no diplomacy, and there is no base-management. What it fails to mention is that it did not add anything in to make up for those deficiencies. The game consists merely of building ships, that is, placing weapons and support modules on pre-constructed hulls, and hurling them at each other. Once you put the ships on the battlefield and click play, cross your fingers and pray, because you can't manipulate your ships AT ALL once the battle starts. That seems like a pretty big issue to me. But then again, it's all just one gratuituous space battle. Each battle is identical, with just a little environmental variation and change of enemy to make it look other wise.

Ship building is alright. Don't try and specialize. There are modules to heal yourself, heal others, heal fighters, stop missiles, free enemies. Don't. Anything not packing the max amount of weapons and shields will be destroyed very quickly. It's not a well-balanced game. If you want a real space RTS, look up Battlefleet Gothic: Armada.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
81.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
First game I ever bought, and I don't regret it. I'd love to get into it's sequel to but it's ever so confusing. This is a lot more simple but still very indepth and has SO much detail when you really get into it. Multiple different weapons and races can change the game and I could run easily run it on my old pc too. Great game if you're low on cash and you don't have a relatively good pc too, I could easily sink another 100~ hours if I wasn't so addicted to rocket league and terraria.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Product received for free
Yeah this games fun. Get it cheap though, I wouldn't recommend it for full price.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 7
This is exactly the kind of space sim I was looking for - harkening back to critical mass by Sean O'Connor! As part of a bundle, it was a lot of fun playing through the campaign for a few hours and good value for my money.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
37 of 48 people (77%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2013
Oh god I love this game.

This game's style is build and run. You design ships, pretty detailed in that. You go into battle against a fleet of enemy ships. You place your ships in a layout. You program orders. You click start. You wait.

If you wipe out the enemies you win.

Great game mechanics there, and a pretty extensive customization range. Didn't knew this would've been this fun.

Great visuals too for a 2D game.

Lots of strategies involved, and I haven't even scratched the surface yet.

If what I told you is something that tickles your pickles you might want to take a look at this game.
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21 of 25 people (84%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
306.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
The number of hours I've logged in this game should give you an idea of how replayable this is IF you like this kind of game, which I obviously do :3

How I would describe the game:

-a couple or handful of hours of campaign, which really equates to; getting you used to the game mechanics
-then you have custom campaigns, this is where all of my time has gone; the numerous combinations of ships to create your fleets are absolutely fantastic, there are tons of commands to program into the ships, tons of balancing to do while creating your ships, revisions, reasons for 'special mission' ships, and best of all you are going up against fleets created by other users

Quite obviously, I recommend this, but only for the people who love strategy (and the weapons/shields/ships have a very star trekky feel, which may influence some in one way or another.)
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17 of 18 people (94%) found this review helpful
Recommended
23.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 16, 2013
GSB is basically a sandbox game where you design ships and set them to battle other fleets and watch the outcome. The idea is to create a force that can win the battle wtih minimum amount of force (resources) and with minimum amount of casualties, usually by exploting a particular enemy's formation, weapons, shields, fleet composition, and so on. You have 3 classes of ships: fighters, frigates, and cruisers. Each needs to be fitted with engine, powerplant, shield(s), armor, weapons, crew, and other equipment (scanners, jammers, and more). Different weapons have different stats. Some are good against shields, others against armor. Some cycle faster but are weaker, while others may load slowly but punch hard. Cruisers may be vulnerable to swarm of fighters getting inside its shields, while frigates are usually pounded into pieces by cruiesrs, but are usually death to frighters (if armed with the right weapons). You also control the fleet's placement on the map and can give specific orders, like "primarily engage fighters".

There are dozens of preset scenarios (battles), 10 different races (each with unique combination of ship designs and special weapons), as well as ability to challenge other players (can you do better than my battle?) and fleet vs. fleet machups.

Once you set your formation and fleet, just hit "start the battle" and watch your ships fight it out based on the orders you've given, to the best of their ability.

As you win battles, you gain prestige points which are used to unlock more advanced equipments and ship hull designs.

All in all, GSB is an interesting toy that feels at times like a huge puzzle, But it is so addictive, much like setting two ant farms together and have them fight. Give it a try, despite its two-D presentation. You may end up liking it a lot and can't stop playing.
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22 of 28 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 30, 2014
It's hard. If there's one undeniable thing about this game, is that it's hard. Luckily, it's not "have an actual degree in rocket science" hard, so you'll manage. Especially since it's so beautiful (2D is really the best choice here and I love the style), you'll try and try again. The combat effects are probably the prettiest I've seen and attack ships on the shoulder of Orion didn't look as good when they were on fire.

Although I wish it had some plot. Maybe one day.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
59.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Very enjoyable watching my fleet destroying the enemy fleet. It takes a while to figure out the best way to play, and once you figure it out, the fun starts. Starting from this game, Positech became one of my favourite indie game devs.
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48 of 78 people (62%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2013
GSB is okay as a game. However, it is not a complete game in itself. The campaign is quite small and it does not go far enough with its technological 'skill tree' progression.

The gameplay is purely strategic and very hands-off. You build a fleet of ships, with the resources available, and you send them on their way. You have minimal control over how battles pan out, and there is no gameplay beyond the battles. Additionally, the interface is somewhat slow and unnecessary time consuming to navigate.

The most disappointing aspect of GSB is its blatant premium content model. After you have purchased the game, you will be required to purchase a number of nominally priced DLC packs to get the full game content. By buying this game, you are essentially only buying part of a game.

I give Gratuitous Space Battles 3/10 flaming spaceship hulls.
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35 of 55 people (64%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2013
Too many DLCs for a too large a price. What is offered in those DLCs, other games ask about 2 bucks for it. Base game entertains you for an hour per session tops. After that you come back to see if you haven't missed anything only to conclude that you haven't. Buy on sale or in an Indie bundle if you really want this game.
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