I have the mind of a petulant child and the schedule of a grown man, it’s a horribly wonderful thing. Therefore, it’s hard to gaze at the abyss — an abyss of 30,000 idling ships, a hostile monolithic enemy, and a whole galaxy to retake — and not feel my fingers twitch. And ding! my phone reminds me to get the heck back on task.
AI War: Fleet Command is one of my favorite games of the past three years, and it’s as monumentally fascinating as it is difficult to approach. Its systems are fresh and new, and therefore strange and scary, but once you dive in, it’s extremely involving and frankly, there isn’t much like it.
And it’s on sale, nearly all of it, on Steam. The whole kit and kaboodle is under ten bucks. Roll call:
- AI War, base game, plus first three expansions: $4.35 (75% off)
- Ancient Shadows, latest expansion: $4.99 (full price)
- Sale runs through February 7
Here’s a video from Arcen Games showing off the recent version 6.0:
- A really good video game blending aspects of 4x, RTS, and Tower Defense. Similar play to Sins of a Solar Empire and Supreme Commander, with a touch of Total War.
- Adjustable play to any level of desired complexity and difficulty.
- Multiplayer co-op.
- Even the base game is quite good and complete in itself. That’s $2.50 if your wallet’s got an echo.
- The game is under continual development with no sign of stopping. Not many bugs left at this late stage, just feature after feature keeps getting added. The developers are also great about engaging with their community.
- DRM free, even if you buy from Steam: the serials will unlock the DRM-free version of the game available from the developer.
Ungood things (gotta be honest here):
- Pretty daunting at first. Lots of old RTS tropes have been reworked or reinvented, you will have to learn some new gameplay mechanics.
- Honestly, it’s kinda time consuming, in both good and bad ways. Like many strategy games, once you overcome that first hump of understanding the game at a ‘conversational’ level, you will be involved in campaigns that can go on for 10-15 hours. However, those hours are glorious.
If you do end up getting AI War, be sure to pick up my free printable AI War Pocket Reference, so you can have all those precious hotkeys at your fingertips!