Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Jan 23, 2019
    At the Gates has a ton going for it, and this is easily the most addicted I've gotten to a game that I am reviewing. Although the replay value might not be as vast as some of the bigger 4X games on the market, it has enough of a unique and condensed feel that by the time you're getting ready to make moves to win, it hasn't overstayed its welcome by 20 hours.
  2. 80
    For those who do understand their 4X genre, however, At The Gates will come across as a breath of fresh air. It's a ground-up rethink on how the genre can work, and what the 4X might look like as applied to the many cultures and civilizations out there that didn't have the imperialist intent that most 4X titles assume. For that, it's one of the most interesting strategy games I've played in years.
  3. Jan 24, 2019
    What Jon Shafer’s At The Gates gets totally right is that feeling of ‘just one more turn’. It really pushes you to continue playing, expanding and exploring the world.
  4. Jan 23, 2019
    The slow pacing, difficulty, and confined historical focus might prove a barrier for some, but I loved carving out my own empire of riches in the roughs on grit and determination alone.
  5. Jan 25, 2019
    At The Gates feels a bit like a flawed gem. It’s far from perfect, but full of intricacies, and it offers a wonderful new take on the 4X genre. Having spent almost 50 hours with the game, every minute has been rewarding. In fact, it’s easily the most refreshing strategy game I have played in years.
  6. Feb 7, 2019
    Jon Shafer's At the Gates is a beautiful classic 4x video games that innovate in some aspects but it´s remain incomplete because it´s still fail in some aspects like the ost, diplomacy, interface and the perception of life inside the game among others things.
  7. Feb 6, 2019
    Jon Shafer’s At the Gates is not a mass-market game. It decries the populist and dumbed down direction in which the Civilization franchise has moved, replacing it with a strategy title for the patient player that tolerates a measured pace, likes the challenge of long-range planning, can overlook some bugs, and finds satisfaction in a cerebral, hard-fought victory. For the average strategy fan, At the Gates may frustrate but the rewards of pushing through to comprehension are significant.
  8. Jan 24, 2019
    At The Gates is a brutally hardcore strategy game that will keep fans engaged for dozens, if not hundreds of hours. The amount of time it takes to learn even the basics, coupled with its simplistic art style and obtuse menu-based UI, will scare off newcomers. But veterans of the genre and fans of games of this pedigree will find an engaging strategy title that stands shoulder to shoulder with the games that inspired it.
  9. Jan 23, 2019
    A challenging strategy title, and it introduces many great systems to make it stand out from the crowd. The seasonal, clan, and discipline systems all combine to make each game feel drastically different from the last. While some could argue that this leads to certain games being unfairly difficult, At The Gates still delivers as a sound roguelike strategy game.
  10. Jan 23, 2019
    What's there right now is undeniably good; however, what's missing makes you yearn for how good it could yet be. It's a fresh, invigorating, more personal take on the grand strategy game. But at the same time, it's lacking in a few areas, and they really do hold it back from greatness. Jon Shafer has found that fertile new ground on which to settle. He just needs to give it a few seasons to grow.
  11. Feb 6, 2019
    Should Jon Shafer’s At the Gates be judged for what it is now, or what it has the potential to become? The experience is hamstrung by glitches, oversights, and unfinished systems, but playing a 4X game from the perspective of the barbarians remains a fantastic concept and some of that Civilization “one more turn” allure is still intact. Forgiving types may want to give At the Gates a try now, but most others should probably leave the game out in the cold until a few updates are released.
  12. Feb 3, 2019
    Many innovative and motivating game mechanics, but due to passive AI factions and lack of diplomacy it stops being a challenge too quickly.
  13. Jan 31, 2019
    Jon Shafer's At the Gates is a unique 4X, with tons of fresh ideas, but many of them remain incomplete.
  14. Jan 31, 2019
    Even with my frustrations with the interface, the game itself made me want to keep going. I credit the style of gameplay and my total need for world domination for that. Anything related to the Roman Empire is compelling, but even though I sank 14 hours into this game, I didn’t even get strong enough to unlock any of the other clans. I got closer, though, with each restart, but in my last playthrough, I found myself stuck because right after creating a fishing and galley joint army to begin an exploration mission, my game crashed. I tried returning to the previous save, but it won’t allow me to play in that Kingdom again. So I suppose, my conclusion is that the game has a lot of potential and I intend to keep playing it. I get the feeling that a lot of this will be worked out in time.
  15. Jan 25, 2019
    Quotation forthcoming.
  16. Jan 23, 2019
    A solid foundation for a unique 4X experience – it just needs fleshing out a bit more before it can really shine.
  17. 60
    Ultimately, Jon Shafer’s At the Gates is a deep, interesting and gorgeous barbarian-‘em-up for about three-quarters of its runtime, with the quality of the experience varying hugely from there. With time invested to learn the game’s systems, there’s fun to be had in taking the various unlockable tribes to victory. It’s definitely rough around the edges, and there are a few features I’d happily trim, but if you enjoyed Jon’s previous work then the spark that kept me awake all night when Civ V launched is definitely still alive. I hope future updates can fill in a few of the gaps.
  18. Jan 23, 2019
    Passive AI and a flawed economy ruin what could have been a refreshing 4X experiment.
  19. CD-Action
    Dec 11, 2019
    At the Gates would need another year of fixes in Early Access to be relevant. As of now it’s a true diamond which never got the chance to shine. [03/2019, p.71]
  20. Mar 4, 2019
    Jon Shafer's At the Gates is sadly lackluster in comparison of its maker's past titles like Civilization V. It presents some innovation for the genre, but has serious failures in some of the basics of 4X games and poses as a weird package with big need for some quality of life updates.
  21. Feb 25, 2019
    A surprisingly bland strategy game missing the spark of Civilization. Its economy system is initially quite interesting, but after a while it gets tedious. And that’s all the game has to offer.
  22. Jan 24, 2019
    At the Gates tries some ambitious new ideas that, in time, may leave a mark on the 4X genre. But today, it's far too broken to recommend.
  23. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Apr 4, 2019
    An attempt to make an alternative to Civilization that failed because of not finishing its ideas and old technology. An unstable and buggy game with a lousy artificial intelligence won’t be interesting, even if it is signed by a great designer. [Issue#293]
  24. 40
    While there are a few interesting concepts at play in Jon Shafer’s At the Gates, they frequently go underdeveloped, leading to a lackluster experience.
  25. Jan 24, 2019
    In spite of having unique mechanics and a fresh take on the 4X and roguelike genres, Jon Shafer's At The Gates falls woefully short of delivering on both counts with frustrating RNG, mechanics, unintuitive design, and bugs.
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  1. Jan 25, 2019
    The former Civ 5 director's long-running passion project is filled with nice ideas, but they never threaten to pull together.
  2. Jan 25, 2019
    Civ games are famed for their addictive “one more turn” capabilities. At the Gates is more of a “one more game” affair, in which I hone and sharpen my strategic bones. This game has a lot of problems. It’s not for everyone. It really is slow, frustrating, and missing key UI components. But I like its harshness, its uncompromising vision of historical conquest and its spirit of inventiveness.
  3. At The Gates has an impressively complicated set of interlocking systems, but the amount of time and patience it takes to actually get anywhere is ridiculous.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 5 out of 14
  1. Apr 11, 2020
    More than a year since its official release this is still a provocatively unfinished game. But to Jon Shafer's credit, it is still veryMore than a year since its official release this is still a provocatively unfinished game. But to Jon Shafer's credit, it is still very addictive. The heart of the gameplay is not warfare or politics but resource management and survival. Do not come into this expecting a 4x experience. The initial challenge comes mainly from managing your production chain well enough during summer so that your clans don't starve during winter. Eventually, you have to figure out how to transition from an unsustainable foraging based economy to a farming based economy. You have to carefully find a balance between making sure your clans have enough food right now and investing enough in production of non-food based resources so that you can escape your nomadic lifestyle later. If you're too short sighted, you'll deplete a lot of resources and might find that your opponents have already claimed all the best land. If you're planning too much ahead, your clans will starve.

    Once you've settled and established a kingdom, you can start shifting your focus towards warfare. It is perhaps for the best that the "early game" takes so long, because the late game is very unsatisfying. Combat is boring, the AI is rudimentary, diplomacy is barely existent and you can't even properly vanquish your foes! You can take their settlement, but you can't use it for anything and control will eventually revert to the original owner, even though they're defeated. Similarly, you can capture enemy buildings, but they will be all but useless to you, because there's a penalty for owning captured clans (and you can't do anything about it). These things make the game world feel static and limited and removes all incentives for conquest. I also find it very disappointing that there is no game customisation or map settings to play around with at all – just a 'new game' button.

    I really can't recommend the game as a product, because it's not what it claims to be. But if you like economic sims and don't care for the other advertised features, then it is still a fun game. Just don't expect to find a reason to keep playing, once you've stabilised your economy.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 13, 2019
    After waiting years for the my kickstarter of the game I would have expect the game to be good. The graphics are bad for a mid 90's game. TheAfter waiting years for the my kickstarter of the game I would have expect the game to be good. The graphics are bad for a mid 90's game. The game play is shallow and boring. Unbalance and broken. Full Review »
  3. May 13, 2019
    At the Gates has enormous potential, but sadly as of May 2019 it is very glitchy (though playable). There have been no updates for the pastAt the Gates has enormous potential, but sadly as of May 2019 it is very glitchy (though playable). There have been no updates for the past three months though it was released only 4 months ago. This suggests the developers have moved on and the game will remain deeply flawed. My hope is help is on the way to make this game the outstanding game it could be. Full Review »