Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. games(TM)
    Introversion’s best yet – chillingly brilliant. [Nov 2006, p.126]
  2. The pruned unit selection, simple relationships and fixed playing field give DEFCON more in common with chess than most RTS games. It's not a game to get lost in for hours on end, but it is one you'll get the urge to play again and again for months to come.
  3. 90
    Global thermonuclear war has been a popular topic for decades, but few things have managed to capture the spirit of the subject and present in both a digestible and utterly unforgettable form as Defcon.
  4. 90
    At $20, this just may be the finest piece of "budgetware" ever produced, with every bit as much to offer strategywise as RTS games three times its cost. Like the greatest board games, its entry curve is small, its interface elementary, and its potential for strategic depth enormous.
  5. An amazing game. It could be argued that the appeal is limited, as after all, there is only one map to play on. But due to shifting alliances and perceived threats, the game never fails to feel anything but completely fresh.
  6. AceGamez
    The only real issue I have with Defcon is that there's no way to do a quick rematch; you need to head back to the lobby and set up the same match if you want to get payback against the folks who out-nuked you.
  7. Computer Games Magazine
    DEFCON is a simple idea developed with style by a group of obviously talented game designers. [Mar 2007, p.73]
  8. As Defcon is almost entirely a multiplayer game, bots are provided but not much fun to play against. The bots have very limited strategy and are fairly easy to defeat. While one can battle a large number of bots simultaneously this challenge by numbers is less appealing than the strategic challenge one can enjoy in the multiplayer modes and hardly prepares you to compete online.
  9. For me, a game needs to be well-made first, original later and Introversion have proven before that they can easily fit both in the same package. DEFCON is no exception.
  10. Easy to learn but difficult to master as your tactics need to be adjusted on the go.
  11. With its deep yet surprisingly simple gameplay, DEFCON is an addictive title that deserves a spot on any strategy gamer’s hard drive.
  12. PC Gamer UK
    Defcon is an equation that looks simple but can never quite be solved, and it always leaves you scratching your chin, your mind bristling with ideas for new atrocities to engineer. [Nov 2006, p.70]
  13. An interesting concept, classic battle graphics and tremendous replayability, this game has it all.
  14. From a technical standpoint, DEFCON may be an outdated game, especially compared to some of the current powerhouse offerings. But from an artistic point of view, the game,s brilliantly designed and really evokes a certain set of emotions.
  15. 85
    DEFCON's a great example of how a few simple concepts can be combined to make something that's incredibly interesting and pleasantly complicated.
  16. DEFCON is fun, challenging, and addictive. Offering the depth that strategy fans want, and a level of accessibility that opens the game to all players.
  17. PC Zone UK
    DEFCON is such a clever blend of inspired simplicity and deceptive profundity, presented in such a powerfully evocative way, that I want to get Introversion to decorate my house and invent the rest of my life for me. [Dec 2006, p.76]
  18. Pelit (Finland)
    Yet another stylish, superbly designed game from Introversion. Not the most long-lasting single play experience, but for the price, who dares to complain? [Dec 2006, p.82]
  19. The game’s atmosphere also plays a key role in creating a quality feeling, which in Defcon’s case is a very dark and sinister one.
  20. PC Format
    A slight affair, but tense, focused and the best finger-on-the-button sim ever. [Nov 2006, p.96]
  21. A simple, addictive game that'll make you cheer when the missiles launch, and give you nightmares when they land.
  22. By far one of the most understatedly atmospheric games of the year, DefCon has cornered the market on the kind of strategy that tenses the buttocks to sphincter-alarming proportions. Death, destruction, brains and beauty – who the hell needs a nice game of chess?
  23. PC Gamer
    Defcon is delightfully fun in its simplicity and payoff, so don't expect incredibly deep strategy. [Dec. 2006, p.78]
  24. As a casual strategist or a hardcore simulation fan, Defcon contains enough elements to involve anybody in the fight for global thermonuclear dominance, and you won't want to leave any time soon.
  25. Though not a complex strategy game, Defcon's specific sense of style makes for a compelling and unsettling experience.
  26. Defcon is as pure and direct a game as its inspiration, and its limitations are ones of the game's basic scope.
  27. 80
    This could have been little more than a Flash game done on the cheap to cash in on this nostalgia. Instead, Introversion has created a chilling, thoughtful, and eminently playable real time strategy game, squeezing more atmosphere into 60MBs than most games can manage with 600MBs. Sometimes, less is indeed so much more.
  28. 80
    Much like "Darwinia," DEFCON is going to win a lot of hearts. With its incredibly and attractive gameplay, fans of strategy games will have an absolute blast.
  29. Games Master UK
    Brilliant while it lasts, even if, in the long run, it's something of a short but passionate love affair, rather than a long-lasting "Advance Wars"-style marriage of gaming joy. [Dec 2006, p.84]
  30. netjak
    As a quick game of nuclear holocaust, Defcon is good. As a not-so-quick game of diplomacy, Defcon is a very good game. However, given how successful the diplomacy meta game is, I can't help but feel that the inclusion of some more details, some more units, some more something, may have resulted in an even more intense game.
  31. My main gripe is that the single player game doesn't have the durability I would have hoped for, so if you don’t plan to go online then it’s not a game I’d recommend you pick up.
  32. Besides being a simply designed but strategically complex game, Defcon can also be seen as a work of art. It made me think of Andy Warhol’s silk-screen paintings of an electric chair. Like those paintings, Defcon presents its subject with a stark matter-of-factness. The game does not tell you what to think about nuclear war, but makes it impossible not to think about it.
  33. Edge Magazine
    The developer’s cleverest trick here, beyond creating a game that’s worth it for the presentation alone, has been to throw open so many of its rules to player customisation. [Nov 2006, p.90]
  34. Each game session plays out very quickly, which is part of the charm and challenge.
  35. The type of game that could only have come from an independent studio, Defcon presents a distinctive experience that captures the concept flawlessly. The lack of substance however sits at odds with the idea of a boxed release, and there is some questions as to whether there's enough long-term appeal to justify even the budget-price - one if it piques your curiosity.
  36. 60
    DEFCON’s main issue is the lack of depth.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 194 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 194
  1. JasonRabb
    Dec 31, 2007
    This is a simple game to understand yet incredibly difficult to master. Kudos for a company to break from what is "in" to attempt somethingThis is a simple game to understand yet incredibly difficult to master. Kudos for a company to break from what is "in" to attempt something older yet heat-thumping in fun and entertainment. You have to love the genre of strategy and chess to understand and appreciate the brilliance of this game. Enjoy! = ) Full Review »
  2. Feb 22, 2011
    The only bad thing is the lack of servers online. Otherwise, this is a fun, challenging, and interesting game. It's a must have for anyoneThe only bad thing is the lack of servers online. Otherwise, this is a fun, challenging, and interesting game. It's a must have for anyone who loves strategy games. Full Review »
  3. Oct 31, 2013
    This game wears it's debt to War Games on its sleeve, and rightly so. It's an impressive tactical game that manages to have the most utterlyThis game wears it's debt to War Games on its sleeve, and rightly so. It's an impressive tactical game that manages to have the most utterly depressing atmosphere I've come across. But is it a really good game? The jurys out on that I'm afraid. Full Review »