Gratuitous Space Battles Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 73 Ratings

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  • Summary: GSB is the next game from UK developer Positech Games. It's a strategy / management / simulation game that does away with all the base building and delays and gets straight to the meat and potatoes of science-fiction games : The big space battles fought by huge spaceships with tons of laser beams and things going 'zap!', 'ka-boom!' and 'ka-pow!'. In GSB you put your ships together from modular components, arrange them into fleets, give your ships orders of engagement and then hope they emerge victorious from battle (or at least blow to bits in aesthetically pleasing ways).
    gsb screenshot gsb screenshot gsb screenshot. Gratuitous Space Battles aims to bring the over-the-top explodiness back into space games. The game is for everyone who has watched big space armadas battle it out on TV and thought to themselves 'I could have done a much better job as admiral'. This is not a game of real-time arcade twitch reflexes. GSB is about what ships you design, and what you tell them to do. Your individual ship commanders have total autonomy during the chaotic battle that unfolds. This is not a tactical game, it is a strategic one. These gratuitous space battles are not won by plucky heroes with perfect teeth, but by the geeky starship builders who know exactly what ratio of plasma-cannons to engines each ship in the fleet will need. [Positech Games]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Gratuitous Space Battles isn't for everyone, as its brand of strategy is entirely weighted towards the setup phase - and the execution is almost completely hands-off. Still, the prospect of building your own ships and using your own unique combinations of general strategies and offensive and defensive loadouts is very compelling for anyone who is a sci-fi space battle enthusiast.
  2. A deeply satisfying game, beneath a humble facade. [May 2010, p.92]
  3. In the end, for all its talk of being "gratuitous," Gratuitous Space Battles is actually quite a lean, mean game with a unique premise and singularly charming personality. If you're even marginally interested in seeing heavily armed tin cans tear each other a new hull breach with beam lasers and torpedo missiles, give it a try.
  4. Imperfect spaceship engineering and asynchronous online dueling combine to deliver a flawed star. [Dec 2009, p.94]
  5. Dec 23, 2010
    I do like Gratuitous Space Battles. I think it's a great concept, beautifully presented. I just wish it would let me like it more.
  6. Gratuitous Space Battles manages to strike a respectable balance between casual gaming and deep, engaging strategy.
  7. The type of player that will enjoy the gratuitous space battles might well be put off by al the number crunching and preparation involved in just getting an effective fleet together. [Feb 2010, p.63]

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 9 out of 30
  1. Sep 7, 2013
    Graphics are pretty nice and battles are truly gratuitous. Just watching the comm chatter from the ships is funny. I find being able to design and build your ships from scratch the most enjoyable part and I spend endless hours testing and building ships. I always wanted them to change it so that you can control the ships in battles and finally they have.
    Please note some old reviews might mention the absence of in battle control which has now changed!
  2. May 21, 2012
    Just another example of how DLC can ruin a game. If you don't buy it with all it's DLC at once, you're left feeling like you ordered a pizza and only three-quarters of it is in the box when it is delivered. This is pure and simple disabling features for a game you already paid for and twisting your arm to pay for them again.

    People who are obsessively detail oriented or anal retentive will enjoy this game more than some, I think. A great part of the game is fiddling with ship designs -- and I was surprised at the distance between starting the game and actually engaging in a ship battle when I first began playing. For what the title seems to be offering, that's almost silly.

    Better titles out there -- Master of Orion 2 came out YEARS before, it's ship design was deeper, more interesting, less complicated, and more elegant and nuanced. All that, AND the space battles in MOO2 didn't HAVE to be gratuitous. Get that title instead.
  3. Jul 11, 2011
    Absolutely brilliant. For the low price I think it an excellent sci-fi strategy game. Simple and exciting the campaign adds depth and allows players to conquer the galaxy in this not too serious space shooter. Expand
  4. AWG
    Jul 6, 2013
    When I play a game I like to, well, *play* the game instead of being forced to read walls of text just to understand the fundamentals. This is the main reason why I'm not really into strategy games.
    "Gratuitous Space Battles" seems to be a fair game with a lot of things to do but I couldn't really be caught by it.
  5. Jan 2, 2013
    A very interesting concept with lots of potential that misses several key points. The art is very pretty and simple so it can work even on older PCs and laptops. The concept is interesting but poorly executed. You can design your own star-ships with different weapons and attachments, but most need to be unlocked first and don't do much but perform slightly better than previous iterations. no huge weapon variety either it is mostly lasers, missiles and ion weapons. DLC races don't have much differences except cosmetic slight stat changes and a few unique weapons. During battles you can't really tell what is working and what isn't or what kind of weapons the enemy has. After battles there are charts you can look at but don't really explain much. It tells you your best and worst ships and weapons but doesn't go into much detail so it's kind of useless. Pretty much the only way to win is to just throw lots of cruisers and one or two frigates at the enemy but that doesn't get you much reward to improve your ships and still suffers massive casualties to an apparently inferior enemy fleet.. Also campaign mode is a paid DLC which seems kind of stupid to me. Collapse Expand
  6. Apr 9, 2012
    In Gratuitous Space Battles, the player is allowed to design ships with various elements, arrange them on a grid prior to battle, and provide each ship with preset orders. That's it. You are not allowed to participate in anything else. There are many unlockables and such, but this does very little to make the bare bones game enjoyable. There is no storyline, nor a campaign of any description. The game provides the player with so-called scenarios, and all that means is that the developers arranged the enemy ships in a grid. Once again, that's it. There is not much else besides that. You may also unlock a few other races, and each race has about a dozen "scenarios" (if I can even continue to refer to them as such). Each component that could be equipped for each of your ships has different descriptions , but they do not impact the overall performance of the ships in any significant way, nor do they alter the player's overall game play experience. Each and every time you go into battle, is almost a near perfect repetition of the last attempt, with very little variation, if any at all. Each of the races do not provide the player with true alternatives in order for them to actually be considered unique or different from each other. There is absolutely no action, nor climax in any of the battle instances you may go through as you play the game. It is like watching a limited and basic screen saver, over and over again, with very subtle differences each time. Even if you unlock all the hulls/components and implement them in ship design, there is barely any noticeable performance difference in the battles. It is as if nothing changes. In addition, the game does not inform nor hint at the effectiveness of any of the components you will have available to equip your ships. The AI is also comparable to that of a screen saver, in every describable way. There also appears to be no sound effects whatsoever, besides the ever repeating music. A representative from the developer named "cliffski" can be found in the Gratuitous Space Battles Steam forums being arrogant, pompous, and rude towards others who have a negative opinion about the game. At the time of this writing, the developers are asking for $20 for the game, and an additional $37 for six DLCs. There is basically very little content here, for an irregular and exorbitant amount of money. I have never come across such an exaggerated difference between content and pricing prior to this shameful release. This is completely unacceptable and despicable, and developers such as these should not be supported in any way, shape, or form. It is with releases such as Gratuitous Space Battles that we see proof of very low quality and very low content getting worse and worse. This game is comparable to adjusting the settings of a screen saver, then watching it run. There is very little actual game play to be found in Gratuitous Space Battles. If you like screen savers, you may want to give this displeasing, limited, uncreative, and meager attempt at a game a try. I hope you have a CRT monitor so that this glorified and expensive screen saver could actually become useful. Expand
  7. Dec 24, 2012
    I have to give this game a zero for shamelessly putting an ad for one of their other games right on the menu screen. The DLC's are also mostly cosmetic and hardly seem to add anything to the game. In other words just another game where business practices have interfered with game enjoyment. Where would be get if every game had an ad for some other? Oh, also this game is a very good exercise in chaos theory. Expand

See all 30 User Reviews