11 Best Space Strategy Games to Play in 2015 and 2016
Save the universe or destroy it, you decide.
Build, conquer, save or destroy. Will you build a city to stand the test of time, or will you perish before you raise your first wall? Space strategy games bring all of our fantasies and fears to life as you take control of small squads, vast armies, and enormous star ships in a desperate bid for survival.
This list of 11 games will let you be a benevolent master, divine savior, or a bloodthirsty tyrant. So, jump in your space cruiser and go for a ride.
11. Emperor: Battle For Dune
Release Date: 2001
Studio: Westwood Studios
Control the Spice, control the galaxy.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Dune I highly recommend jumping into this real-time strategy classic. Dune takes place on the desert planet Arrakis, which is the home to the only source of “Spice”, the galaxies economic foundation. Three great houses (The Harkonnen, The Atreides, and the Ordos ) battle one another, a native desert tribe called the Fremen, and even the planet itself for control of the infinitely valuable Spice Melange.
Dune offers players a unique RTS experience that sends players along a storyline path while simultaneously battling for control of the world map. The round based attack and defense system prevents you from focusing on only attacking. The story line also takes your command onto space frigates and other planets combating and sowing subterfuge.
Three individual campaigns further increase the immersion. Each campaign features a different faction; each with individual units and superweapons! The Harkonnen wield the might nukes, the Ordos strike down foes with the Lightning strike, and the Arteides debilitate all attackers with the Hawk Strike. Warfare has never been this nerve wracking and exciting.
This 2001 release is a must for all RTS fans, and is a great way for newbies to experience the wonder of RTS. The graphics quality is still pleasing, even compared to modern games, and the continual rotation of attack and defense increases the time you can spend on Arrakis. Overall, Emperor: Battle for Dune Will draw you in to a compelling story of life and death that allows you to wage a war where hundreds of individual units are in play all at once. Emperor was ahead of its time fourteen years ago, and will continue to be one of my all-time favorites for many years to come.
The entire planet is your enemy on Arrakis!
10. Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
Release Date: Winter 2015/2016
Move over Zombies! A bigger fish has arrived to threaten humanity.
This series needs almost no introduction. There are few games in the history of gaming that have caused so many of us to lose girlfriends and part-time jobs. Starcraft introduced so many of us to the endless (hence the lack of girlfriend) joy of LAN parties.
Starcaft II brought fans of the series into the modern era of gaming. The highly anticipated release came 12 years after its predecessor, and players were still LANning it up on the original. Not many games can withstand multiplayer scrutiny for over twelve years, especially when put up against the multiplayer revolution of Halo and Call of Duty. Starcraft II carried the legacy into the modern era with a brilliant flash and exciting story, and the new expansion: “Legacy of The Void” will continue to fuel the Starcraft engines of dominance.
When “Legacy of The Void” hits PCs late this year, or early next year (you know Blizzard, perfectionists and all), players will be thrown into the history of the unrivaled fear of the Zerg Swarm, and the noble Protoss who are seeking to stem the tide of extinction that is heralded by the swarm. Come along for the hair-raising freefall into The Void.
Even the Queen is not safe from the swarm
9. Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Studio: Firaxis Games
How do you bear the weight of progress, can humanity afford the price?
Sid Meier’s Civilization series is one of the longest lived strategy series in PC games with installments dating back to 1991. Civilization is a strategy game that allows players to move through human history, and technology. You control a fledgling tribe and fight to ensure its existence, as you enter battles with other tribes across the globe.
Key to your survival is diplomacy, and your ability to balance alliances as you combat a smart AI that develops armies and technology, and fights you for resources. If you are strong enough, and crafty enough, you may survive to see your civilization grow into the future. In Civilization: Beyond Earth, and the upcoming expansion Rising Tide (coming fall 2015) you take the journey to space, and explore the unknown.
Humanities fight for survival has drained Earth’s resources, and now in order to survive we must look to the stars. You are in control of a colony on an alien world, and have to learn to use advanced space technology to maintain a grip on survival in a hostile world. You are mankind’s hope for survival…no pressure.
A new planet to Colonize, mankind to save.
8. Grey Goo
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Stand as conqueror or fall and become one with the Goo.
What do you get when you put a civilization on the verge of extinction, a peaceful human society governed by artificial intelligence, and a species of self-replicating nano-machines? Grey Goo!
Explore and conquer Ecosystem Nine, a lush planet, and home of the Beta who are seeking refuge from extermination. After a generation of peace the Beta’s lives are suddenly launched into war as the humans, using Ai controlled machines, arrive to explore and colonize Nine. Full scale war breaks out upon the planet as the Goo, a singular entity comprised of nano-machines, arrives to assimilate all of Ecosystem Nine.
At its core Grey Goo is a simple strategy platform that allows players to spend more time executing tactics, and less time working with individual units; which gives players more time on the battlefield and less time in the command center. Each faction has unique units that will change how the game is played, and unique upgrade trees that will force players to evolve their tactics in order to survive the war for Ecosystem Nine.
What civilization would look like if Skynet was on our side.
7. Galactic Civilizations 3
Release Date: May 14, 2015
Studio: Stardock Entertainment
In an endless universe how will you forge your legacy?
The third installment of the enormously popular Galactic Civilizations, Galactic Civilizations III puts players in the pilot’s seat fighting to free the galaxy from the invading Dregnin. Your mission is to spread across the galaxy laying siege to enemy fleets while establishing colonies on planets across the system.
GC III gives commanders an immense amount of control over the battles with an extensive sandbox mode allowing players to set all the parameters of the battle. This means you get to make each battle your own, and have an endless supply of strategies to develop and employ. Oh, and you get to design and build your own space craft, yeah that’s right bring your space fantasies (well some them anyway) to life.
Lasers, space ships, and pretty nebulas…what more do you need?
6. Beyond Sol
Release Date: Under developemt
Studio: Praxia Entertainment
Can you protect your city from what rises in the darkness at the edge of space?
Beyond Sol is all about survival in the lonely expanse of space. You build and customize your city, and then build a fleet to protect you. Send the fleet out to explore and fight against other orbiting cities before they can destroy you. That’s not all, you’ll also have to contend against Space Pirates who ambush and plunder your fleets and city.
According to the Beyond Sol development team the game is still in progress, and you can follow their progress on the official website. The developers are seeking to release a version of the game that will be as close to perfection as they can manage and seek to create an engrossing experience right out of the gate.
Let’s hope the game is as awesome as it seems, because it will definitely be a must play for 2015 and 2016.
Cities in space? I’m sold! Where do I sign up?
5. Anno 2205
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2015
City Sim gone lunar.
Developer Ubisoft is releasing, in November, their foray into space simulation. In Anno 2205 you will build massive cities by mining resources…on the moon! There are few of us gamers that haven’t spent many our playing city building sims, and absolutely loving them.
Annon 2205 allows us to relive those wonderful hours, and allows us to explore the moon as we do it. My biggest draw to this game is that it most parallels a possible future for humanity. There may be no combat, but how often do you get to be in command of a virtual crystal ball, and see what life will be like when humans are finally able to start settling on the moon?
I knew the moon landing wasn’t faked!
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Studio: Ludeon Studios
Just a sleepy western space colony
Rimworld follows the story of three survivors who have crash landed on a planet at the distant limits of humanities reach. The games has an old western cowboy feel, but with all the wonderful goodies that accompany space travel. This wonderful little 2D strategy enlists an intelligent AI system that generates the story based on your decisions and actions.
You are the God of this new civilization, and must protect your people from the threats of nature, bandit raids, rival native tribes, and just overall bad moods. This is the type of game that helps you to feel again! Well, maybe not, but watching your little city grow will be very entertaining the entire time, and you will not be sorry for taking a run at Rimworld.
It was just another quiet day in the neighborhood.
3. Star Hammer: The Vanguard Prophecy
Release Date: June 4, 2015
Studio: Black Lab
Oh, so that’s how Ender beat the buggers.
Star Hammer throws players into 3D space battles in the defense of humanity. Utilizing an omniscient view of the battle field you command of Naval Strike Group 7. Your strategy is completely up to you; you are given orders, but you decide if you want to follow them.
Star Hammer gives you full combat control, allowing you to create new attack and flanking routes in at a seconds notice. All rendered in beautiful 3D that makes fighting in space look stunningly gorgeous. The fight to protect Earth has never been more eye catching or mind absorbing. Tons of fun in 2015.
If space war really looks this good, then my next career is a space marine.
2. Xcom 2
Release Date: November 2015
Studio: Firaxis Games
The soldiers of Xcom will never bow to alien rule!
Xcom is a turn based squad strategy title that pits human’s against an invading force of ruthless aliens packing heavy advanced weaponry and psychic powers. Players new to the games should check out Xcom: Enemy Unknown to prepare themselves for the upcoming sequel. In Xcom 2 you command what is left of the splintered human defense, fighting a secret war to retake earth from the alien conquerors.
Xcom combines RPG elements as you are able to customize and upgrade your command base, as well as, the members of your strike squad. Xcom 2 includes five solider classes with a myriad of abilities to customize each solider to your gameplay and tactics style. With a new combat and map system Xcom has nearly infinite possibilities for missions, and even includes a squad vs. squad multiplayer system to satiate your thirst for competition.
Snakes with guns? Come on, that’s just cheating.
1. Star Wars Battlefront
Release Date Nov. 17, 2015
Studio: EA, DICE
Oh man, things just go from bad to worse, a bad day to be a rebel soldier.
No list about space is complete without paying some homage to the grandpappy of all space warfare, Star Wars! Since the 1970’s science fiction has bowed to the evil empire and the Jedi who fight for galactic peace. Over the years Star Wars has had many entries in strategy realm, but few have gained the popularity as the Battlefront series.
Star Wars: Battlefront put players in control of characters from across the Star Wars lore in a series of battles that carry players to almost every fables Star Wars location. As the commander you take control of Republic and Imperial forces including heroes such as; Darth Vader, Yoda, and Luke Skywalker. You will relive all the battles in the pursuit of absolute control or freedom, you decide.
Now, you may be asking how Battle front is a strategy game, good question. Battlefront is not just simply picking up a blaster and shooting some clones. As the commander you have to manage reinforcements, capture and control strategic areas on the map, and choose who lives and who dies just like many of the other games on this list. Even though you control a single character on the field at a time you still have to manage the entire battlefield. A bit of a stretch? Who cares it’s Star Wars, and it can be everything at once and we would still love it!
Going none to nose with an AT-ST.
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