Pandora: First Contact PC

User Score
7.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 50
  2. Negative: 7 out of 50

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  1. Jun 3, 2014
    9
    To all turn-based strategy, 4x lovers (such as myself), I highly recommend this game. It's the best thing out before the release of Sid Meier's: Beyond Earth.

    Anyone who is wondering what this game is like, I'll give you a brief idea on what it is like by saying that it feels like Civilization V with a few major differences, such as: 1. Random tech trees for each faction - you also
    To all turn-based strategy, 4x lovers (such as myself), I highly recommend this game. It's the best thing out before the release of Sid Meier's: Beyond Earth.

    Anyone who is wondering what this game is like, I'll give you a brief idea on what it is like by saying that it feels like Civilization V with a few major differences, such as:

    1. Random tech trees for each faction - you also discover new technologies after every era you pass through, to give a sense of wonder of the future

    2. Unit stacks - infinite number of units per tile; like Civilization IV's stacks of death. The game has actually balanced it so that attacking with stacks is less beneficial; bombardments hurt all units within a stack, flanking (putting units next to each other in separate tiles) gives an attack/defensive bonus.

    3. Customisable units - yes, you have a unit workshop and can fit different weapons/bonuses/abilities on them. There are a lot of different chassis to research (e.g. infantry, fast-attack vehicle, tank, watercraft, and more).

    4. Planet wildlife - at the beginning of the game, they are not hostile. However, the wildlife can get more and more aggressive if factions fight against them, or produce a lot of pollution. They may then become the equivalant of barbarians, or even worse (if aggressive enough, they can launch a full-scale invasion on humans, threatening everyone. It could prove to be a good tactic, for militaristic players, to annoy the local wildlife so that peaceful players are threatened with annihilation). There are multiple types of wildlife, ranging from practically harmless little xenomorph drones to gigantic aquatic monstrosities.

    5. City management - it works something like this; morale (happiness) is local, rather than national. Local morale has an affect on local growth, and local growth depends on whether or not you have enough food stockpiled (food pool is national). Growth is also affected by habitual space; if you don't have enough space, migration to other cities (ones which have more habitual space) will occur. Production requires minerals (also stockpiled nationally). If you run out of minerals, production will be hindered but not stopped completely. Science is gathered normally (1 scientist = +1 science). There are buildings, natural resources and tile improvements which produce percentage increases and/or a small increase in that stat. You can also move your citizen's roles (there are four roles; farmer (food resource collector), miner (mineral resource collector), worker (city producer) and scientist (science producer)) around manually, and they will automatically go to the highest yielding tile. There are other factors as well (such as wars, pollution etc), but that's just the gist of it.

    6. Alien invasion - around turn 200 (normal pace), an alien force (size depends on how difficult you set difficulty level/alien aggression level) invades the planet and the world has to rally together to fight them off. It's a nice twist and a breath of fresh air, especially if the local wildlife is almost extinct by that time or if you have been playing a peaceful up until that time.

    In addition, the game's presentation is very nice (introduction video, graphics, artwork, quote voice overs), soundtrack is great, UI is intuitive and smooth, optimisation is smooth as well; never lags or crashes (runs a lot better than Civilization V). The game is, amazingly, roughly 500MB, so it's a very fast download.

    What can I say which is bad about the game? Well, currently, the game has more focus on combat than Civilization. The game still needs, in my opinion, to add more content which aligns the player to a more non-combat style of gameplay (e.g. something similar to culture with wonders). There are multiple victory conditions other than conquest, such as economic and research victories, but it'd be nice to have more. There is also no indication of how far ahead you are when compared with your opponents, until the last few turns before your, or your opponent's, imminent victory, warning the player.

    The good news is that the developers have pledged to add more content to Pandora: First Contact, maybe in the form of expansions, if it proves to be successful. So far I think the game has been successful, hence the Steam release (the game was released months before Steam).

    For people hoping this to be the next Alpha Centauri, I wouldn't get your hopes too high. The game is good, and it is very similar to AC in some respects, but it's not exactly the same (e.g. no mind worms). Judge it for what it is. I played a lot of AC back in the day, and I thoroughly enjoy this game for what it is.

    If you're still not convinced, or somewhat unsure whether or not to pay for the full price of £22 or $36, just wait for the eventual sale. I'd definitely call you a madman for not getting it then.
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  2. Jun 3, 2014
    9
    Is it SMAC? No. Does that really matter? Not at all.

    As its own game, this is an enjoyable TBS. Its different from SMAC and Civ5, and that's the only real reason it gets down-voted. It looks good, plays well, has its own mechanics and works flawlessly on several platforms straight out of the box.

    Its actually an all round good game and easily worth its average price tag.
  3. Jan 25, 2014
    9
    As a long term strategy fan I've bought the game around Christmas and played it quite extensively over the last weeks. I've to admit the game has really grown on me, not only does it seem very polished, but the devs (a small indie team) also post a lot and keep releasing updates based on player feedback.

    While there are a lot of similarities to Alpha Centauri (one of my all-time
    As a long term strategy fan I've bought the game around Christmas and played it quite extensively over the last weeks. I've to admit the game has really grown on me, not only does it seem very polished, but the devs (a small indie team) also post a lot and keep releasing updates based on player feedback.

    While there are a lot of similarities to Alpha Centauri (one of my all-time favorites), it's definitely not a copy since quite a few mechanics work differently (random research tree, operations, global resource pool, etc.). What I miss the most from SMAC are the awesome secret project videos (anyone remember The Ascetic Virtues?) which brought the faction leaders to life and made it truly epic. However, considering this is an indie production I guess it's kinda expected, and at least the Pandora leaders have long background stories and dialogue.

    I also had some pretty cool matches in multi-player against my brother, even on large maps with several AIs the turns go surprisingly fast compared to Civ 5 (not sure what's the reason for that). The AI seems fairly competent compared to other games (it does some flanking/hidden attacks and uses operations), but nothing special. Especially later in the game you can do some really evil things with operations (e.g. drop units and bombard cities), and I remember a funny moment where I was racing against my brother for a Leviathan kill (massive alien unit that provides a combat bonus to all your units when killed) and I snatched it away with a nuke which had recharged just in time.

    Anyway, overall I'd say the game isn't as good as it could have been, but I definitely had a good time and can recommend it to other strategy fans. If the devs keep working on it, it can become one of my favorites.
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  4. Jun 2, 2014
    8
    Enjoyable game, not a 'perfect' game, but still very good, Graphics style is clear. Research ages are nice, good pedia to describe in game things. Resource gathering is smooth, with the ability to harvest more distant resources via builder units, and promotes a good balance between the area's. Alien life is challenging with two stages of alien life, so once the first becomes easy theEnjoyable game, not a 'perfect' game, but still very good, Graphics style is clear. Research ages are nice, good pedia to describe in game things. Resource gathering is smooth, with the ability to harvest more distant resources via builder units, and promotes a good balance between the area's. Alien life is challenging with two stages of alien life, so once the first becomes easy the second will be a challenge again. And all this without even fighting another nation, so if you add that into the mix you have a real struggle on your hands at times. Diplomacy feels like it works well.
    All in all, a very solid game.
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  5. Jun 4, 2014
    8
    This is a very strong game for people who like this genre. It is not flashy, and likely won't win and converts from people who like FPS's or whatever like a Ci might. But for people who like 4X and/or liked Alpha Centauri this is a lovely entry into this space. It is well worth playing a few campaigns to explore the solid mechanics and interesting if familiar story.

    The writing is
    This is a very strong game for people who like this genre. It is not flashy, and likely won't win and converts from people who like FPS's or whatever like a Ci might. But for people who like 4X and/or liked Alpha Centauri this is a lovely entry into this space. It is well worth playing a few campaigns to explore the solid mechanics and interesting if familiar story.

    The writing is good, and the graphics while not spectacular are totally sufficient for this genre. A solid B+ IMO, but I am also a stingy grader.
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  6. Aug 1, 2014
    8
    Pandora Provides everything I've been waiting for in a strategy game and nothing I haven't. And for those who say it's too easy, turn the Aliens to Extreme and the AI to max diff and see if that makes a difference.

    The only complaint I have is that the AI don't seem to have much personality either built into their behavior, their technology, or their landscaping. For example, when I
    Pandora Provides everything I've been waiting for in a strategy game and nothing I haven't. And for those who say it's too easy, turn the Aliens to Extreme and the AI to max diff and see if that makes a difference.

    The only complaint I have is that the AI don't seem to have much personality either built into their behavior, their technology, or their landscaping. For example, when I play as the Tree Huggers (Terra) I building nothing but tress across my landscape, but because I get a Min bonus from forests it actually works amazingly. The AI doesn't seem to do that at all.

    A GREAT first attempt at a game for a brand new gaming company, the foundation of their game is really great, they just need to add a lot of flavor to the mix, the aliens are really neat also, although I think we all agree that we would like more variety, maybe get an expansion out with a playable alien race or two? Maybe 10? Anyways, great game. Thank you!
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Metascore
68

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. 80
    Pandora offers a stiff challenge, and will keep space-faring strategists happy until Civilization: Beyond Earth breaches the event horizon later this year.
  2. Apr 27, 2014
    68
    Inspired by the classic Alpha Centauri, it looks like a modern version at first glance, but lacks the depth and long term motivation.
  3. Pelit (Finland)
    Feb 13, 2014
    78
    Pandora: First Contact delivers very decent spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, but it unfortunately falls short on some aspects. It needs more focus on the story, diplomacy and the endgame in general. [Jan 2014]