User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 75
  2. Negative: 16 out of 75

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  1. Dec 26, 2011
    Now I'll freely admit that I'm not massively into strategy games, but having picked this up in one of the recent indie bundles, I thought I'd give it a go. If ever there was a game that threw up barriers to introducing people to the strategy genre, this would be it. I get that strategy games are often complex, but when the tutorial involves reading screeds of text, going through numerous pages of options and ten minutes later, you finally get to see the battle take place? I'm sure the hardcore strategy nuts are frothing at the mouth reading this already, but from someone who wanted to see what all the fuss was about, I'll try and find a more accessible entry into the genre. Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Aug 4, 2011
    I love this indie game which allows me to fulfill my childhood fantasy. Players set up their fleets from designing individual ships from a huge selection of subsystems to setting up strategies, formations and orders. Then all that is left is to push 'play' and watch a magnificent space battle unfold on its own without the players' control.
  5. Feb 4, 2013
    I really wanted to like this game more, but to rate it higher would not be truthful because it doesn't keep drawing me back like games I'd rate higher in the "green" here on metacritic. "Mixed" is a good a description of how I feel about it. The "game" is really more like a tweaker's battle simulation paradise, but I agree with many of the other comments here that it's difficult to to understand during battle what is working or what isn't so a lot of the time I found my guessing what might work when I re-outfit and redeploy my ships. I came to feel like I was often just experimenting and pressing "go" for the battle to see what would happen rather than having solid expectations that what I'd done was an improvement or not. So I'd guess I'd say the game could use a better user feedback mechanism so we'd know what's working or not. I enjoyed the time I put into the game to learn the dynamics (probably about 20 hours at this point), but even as I unlocked more stuff it seemed to increase the amount of tweaking possibilities instead of clarify what I was doing with my ship builds.

    That said, I did like the game, but I'm just not drawn back to at this point which disappoints me. It's an interesting battle simulator w/ nice graphics and humor. Another plus for the game is a good community on the developer's website which is filled with tips for players wishing to improve their builds, tactics, and formations. The game has it's frustrating moments particularly ships getting all jammed up together and my ability to find only limited use for certain entire classes of ships like the frigate. To a degree all the tweaking trying to get usable frigates derailed me from the game because I sortof played myself out trying to find decent uses for the ship and it seems they are limited compared to larger cruisers.

    Be aware also that while new DLC is still being released it can also limit the online aspects of the game for those that don't keep up with the DLC it can be a two edged sword if you just want to try out the base version of the game first.

    So who should get this? If you want a space battle simulator that let's you tweak tweak tweak your fleet this is your game. If this sounds like it could get to be a little bit "samey" over time well, that's my feeling. Fun while it lasted, but it just doesn't draw me back for more tweaking.
  6. Jun 21, 2011
    Amazing space combat simulator with lots of customisation and hugely addictive qualities. One of those games that - if it's your thing - you'll be playing for months after purchase.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. Jun 1, 2012
    Excellent game. There are a ton of space strategy games, but this one takes a completely fresh and (imho) fascinating approach by removing battle-control entirely and making it really a game of fleet design and real strategy, rather than frantic tactical mouse clicking. The real key to getting the most from the game is to go back after you have won and try to design the smallest, cheapest fleet possible, but which can still achieve victory. The game is a tinkerers heaven, and the frankly excellent graphics are just the icing on top. Highly recommended. Expand
  10. Aug 29, 2013
    While I love the idea of designing my own fleet, I was entirely disappointed by this title. I even find it hard to call it a game! Because I had the feeling I was looking at a glorified spreadsheet with meaningless numbers. Sure, you unlock new options and designs. But what do they really do? Gratuitous Space Battles doesn't tell you. And it even warns you about this, just read the title again... I have played two other games with better spaceship design options: SPAZ and Galactic Civilizations II. Both these games have numerous ship components, lots of hulls, and every single design decision changes the way the game plays. I would advise anyone to check out these two and avoid GSB. Expand
  11. Aug 25, 2013
    This game is horrible. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone. It isn't that fact that I don't get to control my units; it's the fact that the AI is mind blowing retarded and makes mistakes as you watch in rage. Don't walk, but run away from this garbage of a game.
  12. 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! Expand
  13. Nov 13, 2013
    TOYS! Make spaceships and set them up to blow each other up. This is the space scalextric set, no controls except what the spaceships are and what the formations are. Set 'em up and watch 'em explode!
  14. 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.
  15. Feb 6, 2012
    This game is amazing, and is one of the few amazing games that target a very specific audience, thus if you are in that audience, you will LOVE it, if not, you will not like it. I am happy to find another one-in-a-million games that is actually expirementing in their gameplay (I'm talking about you, hardcore FPS's!). Just be carful to try the demo or watch a video first. I shouldn't need to tell you that much about it, you can tell about it by playing the demo. It's like a natural filter. People who hate it wont look at the demo, and likely won't buy it. however, people who Apriciate True Gaming Art, will look into it! Expand
  16. Feb 23, 2013
    It's not a bad game, lots of customization options for your ships and cheap. Decent amount of missions to keep you entertained for a while.
    The music gets repetitive very quickly and it would be nice to know why you lost sometimes. As another reviewer already mentioned the best feature would be if you could see what your enemy ships are doing. I think the mystery would be cool on the
    online portion since if everyone could see each others ships it would be kinda lame. In single player mode, I don't see much reason to not have this info. Can't argue too much with a good price though (while it's on sale anyways.)

    The new races don't seem to add much of a difference to the battles which is a bit disappointing. It's understandable to make them balanced with each other but at the same time, they need to feel different.
  17. Jan 31, 2013
    this is a very good game, especially with the expansion packs. I mean this is a very good game, with only one thing that just falls under the category of glitch. I recommend for many people!
  18. Feb 22, 2013
    I totally agree with cell-gfx who wrote his review on Dec 26, 2011.

    I thought it would be nice to have some game about two groups of starships shooting the sh** out of each other without that disturbing story between the battles. But instead of the story there is such an complexity just to get into the first battle, even though it is still the tutorial.
    Also the amount of
    tutorial-messages and information boxes mentioned by cell-gfx which seem to pop up randomly on the screen by clicking on any button in the menues. Some time passed until I finally saw the first "battle" well, it is a battle, but during that one I may go into the kitchen, get some coffee or whatever because the battle itself is somewhat non-interactive and, I apologize, that sucks!

    I like the graphics, though. It looks very nice to see all the details of the starships by zooming in like the turrets or missles or even the impacts on the hull.
  19. Apr 30, 2013
    This is a game where you design ships and they blow eachother up basically what it says on the tin. It provides lots of tools to give feedback on this process after-combat damage breakdown by ship and weapon and other things like that but the process just doesn't feel that satisfying. The fights are glacially slow even on the highest speed, to the extent where I've wanted to basically Alt-Tab and do something else and come back in 20 minutes when the game has decided if I've won or not. Fleet maneuvers aren't fast paced enough to really be all that pretty, so after you've seen one fight you've more or less seen them all. In addition, while the battlefields have high-level strategic constraints such as 'shields don't work here' they don't really have any tactical depth which, since you can't actually control your ships and still have the run 'count', I suppose makes some sense.

    10x faster ship battles would bump my rating by 1 immediately. Building the game both around the player controlling the ships rather than just designing them and watching them blow each-other to bits would bump it another 1. At that point I think it'd be a perfectly serviceable game not a grand strategy game sprawling across the galaxy and requiring 10 hours to play, but something I'd play when I just have 30 minutes to spare and a desire to refocus or relax a bit something that has a charm in its own right.
  20. 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.
  21. Aug 12, 2013
    In the Beginning this game was very good, but, they have gone Pay2Play in the matter that you need all the DLC to be able to fight others in a multi-player battle, unless you have the same DLC as the other players you cant battle them, the price for all the DLC is 37,43€ further more comes the price of the main game 13,99€ this gives the sum of 49,42 to be able to play the game. So unless you are willing to pay 50€ for a game that is from Nov 2009 i suggest you toss your cash some where else. Expand
  22. Vas
    Jun 29, 2014
    This is pretty much a battle simulator, there isn't that much to do during battles. But you can set up advanced orders and fleets to try to take out enemy fleets. Challenge your friends even to defeat your fleet and earn new weapons and unlocks. I'd say it is worth the current price. It is entertaining and kills time.
  23. Dec 14, 2013
    The game would be a decent buy at $5 if it included all of the DLC. Its current pricing is way out of line for the entertainment it provides and given it was released in 2009. It provides 10+ hours of entertainment for those that enjoy basic strategy. At $5, the game would warrant a score of 7.5. I am giving it a 10 as those scoring it below 5 are being overly critical despite the fact it is overpriced. Expand
  24. Mar 12, 2014
    First of all I'd like to say this is possibly the most balanced game ever made, on par with Team Fortress 2. There is no perfect fleet, everything has a weakness but by exploiting one in the enemy fleet, you'll be leaving one open for the next. Secondly it's very well optimised. I could run this just fine on a laptop who's processor was a hamster in a wheel. However there isn't much to it; you won't sit down and play this game for days on end but you can jump in and out, you can play it for an hour every day and it won't get dull. The process is a bit like that children's Mouse Trap game, where you set up the pieces and watch as the whole thing falls apart. Then you refine it and try again... Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 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.
  2. Imperfect spaceship engineering and asynchronous online dueling combine to deliver a flawed star. [Dec 2009, p.94]
  3. Gratuitous Space Battles manages to strike a respectable balance between casual gaming and deep, engaging strategy.