Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Feb 17, 2014
    49
    The battle system is catastrophic. Otherwise the 4X-system works. Which makes the ugly and confusing military confrontations even more annoying.
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Feb 11, 2014
    5
    Horizon is a 4x space stragety game in the spirit of the genre grandmaster Master of Orion II. It has all the usual ingridients - weird aliens, a customizable player race, different types of planets to explore and tactical space combat.

    It even has some unique ideas. Your scientists, for example, just improve on known ideas an only occasionally get some groundbreaking new ideas. While this removes some micro management because the improvements of your laser guns are automatically retrofitted on your ships it is also extremely unsatisfying.
    So your brand new Spaceship with its mighty 5 times imroves laser cannons got eaten by some schmo with "particle cannons". How did he get them? How will I get them? Nobody knows. The in game help is mostly useless as is the manual. This also makes the ship customization largely pointless, at least in what I would call the first half of the game.

    I didn't manage to play further, because the game is booring. And not the "lets look what happens" boring of paradox grand strategy, but the "oh I have enough money to build the third technology building on my fifteens colony" kind of booring.

    There where games 15 years ago that let us cycle through units without orders, but in horizon one has to go to the turn information screen, to click on the message "unit awaiting orders" to move the screen in the general vicinity of the star system in which the unit floats about, where one has to find the actual unit and give it an order. Every F*** turn, while nothing really important happens and your next technological breakthrough may be a hundred turns away. I don't even want to think about how to manage a large empire.

    So lets finish this review:
    ++ Moo2 clone without too many experiments
    + looks good
    + special events and "quests"
    + spaceships and aliens

    - Bad game flow
    -- Booring
    - Lots of click intensive colony micromanagement
    - Decisions have very little impact

    I give the developers credit in the fact that the game is in good technical shape with good looks and little to no bugs. But it still feels rushed with less features than even the first Master of Orion. If you like Excel style space strategy you will already own Galactic Civilizations II and if you don't your itch for a good space 4x game will not be satisfied by Horizon.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 11, 2014
    5
    4X space games have long been my favorites, dating all the way back to Galactic Empires (the Ursine Engineering game) on the Apple II and Stars! on the PC. That's my only excuse for violating my own standing policy -- do not buy a new game release until I first read some reviews on Metacritic -- and springing for Horizon as soon as it showed up on Steam.

    Bad choice.

    Horizon looks like a state-of-the-art 4X space empires game...from, say, 10 to 15 years ago, right down to the annoying slow typing out of tutorial text (vs. putting all the text out there immediately, so that those of us who read faster than 50 wpm can get through it more quickly). I had qualms from the start -- the Voyager-2-encounters-aliens premise was questionable all the way back in Star Trek: The Motion Picture -- but pushed ahead anyway. I ran through the tutorial, looked at the manual, and tried a few games.

    What i discovered is that Horizon turns into a slog pretty quickly, combining micromanagement, obscurity, tedium, _and_ a clumsy user interface that forces you to spend a lot of time closing windows or moving them out of your way. I found nothing here that wasn't done better by GalCiv 1 over a decade ago, while compared to Endless Space (also available from Steam, for about the same price), Horizon is truly awkward and disappointing.

    Frankly, I worry that 5 may be too high a rating for Horizon; however, I'm erring on the side of kindness, since I've pretty much given up on the game after several hours of play. I really can't recommend it at all.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 27, 2014
    5
    Being a long-time fan of 4X space games, I approach each new title with hopeful trepidation. For every deeply satisfying game like Master of Orion 2 or Galactic Civilizations 2, there's a frustrating failure like MoO3 or Sword of the Stars II and a host of in between offerings such as Lost Empire, Endless Space, Star Drive and Armada 2526. Horizon turns out to be an all-of-the-above game. It's early game exploration and expansion is top notch with lots of meaningful choices as to colony development, resource management, research decisions and risk-benefit assessments. Unfortunately, things go south almost as soon as the neighbors show up. Transactions with your AI opponents are frustratingly limited and their responses often seem so hard-wired as to totally ignore your choices. Their lack of any discernibly responsive intelligence becomes even more apparent if you modify all your opponents into what should be a pleasantly “passive” attitude only to have them declare war on you shortly after first contact and absent any aggression on your part. Speaking of modifications, don't bother trying to modify the AI race names or the names of their home worlds. Much like the AI responses, the original names are hardwired in most of the screen displays so you end up with a confusing mix of your creations and the “throw the scrabble tiles up in the air and see where they land” originals. Disappointment with the AI will sink to despair once you reach the exterminate portion of the game. It's turn-based which is fine by me but it's also visually unappealing, saddled with awkward positioning mechanics and quickly becomes an unrewarding chore best left to auto resolution. The vessel customization is serviceable but absent excitement when your personally sculpted death dealing armada goes into action becomes more of a book keeping chore. The graphics in the game are dated but well done and the music isn't memorable in any positive or negative way. Running the main themes from MoO2 while playing Horizon makes for a nice effect. The tutorial is adequate if you have a good background with the 4X space genre but does leave a newcomer with a lot of figuring out left to do. In summary, what you get with Horizon is in essence a 50-50 gaming experience with enough good stuff to draw you in and enough disappointment to let you know this isn't your 4X gamer heart's desire. Full Review »