Developer: L30 Interactive
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Release Date: July 2nd 2013 (Beta) Full Release Q1 2014
Horizon is a 4x turn based strategy game that takes place in the near future where humans begin to establish contact with alien races. The game is still in the beta stage however and is an Early Access game on Steam. So how finished does the game appear to be and it is worth getting at this time? Or should you just wait until the full release if at all to buy the game?
Horizon allows you do discover deep space and interact with ten different alien races, all with their own deep culture and history. You can also branch out from Earth and begin to colonize other planets in our solar system and others. These can be bases for trade and commerce as well as military hubs for defending your territory. You can really play the game however you like. If you prefer exploration and colonization you can go and explore the galaxy. But if you are wanting to be more aggressive and build an army you can attack other alien races and take their land by force and dominate space. The options are limitless and the game offers deep customization in everything from ship building to developing new technologies, and there is a lot to do here in this game.
One of my favorite aspects of Horizon is colonizing new planets and developing new technologies. There is something that is really cool about leaving Earth and setting up a hub on Mars and Pluto, which are the only two planets you can colonize in our solar system at first. And then you can research new technologies that can allow you to develop anything from interstellar communication which allows you to communicate with alien species that are far away, to terraforming which allows you to colonize planets that you were not able to before like Mercury and Venus. The technology aspect of the game is very vast with ten levels of upgrades on more than 80 technologies. It may seem a bit daunting at first but you get the hang of it and you get to know what each upgrade does and how useful it can be.
Other aspects of the game that I thought worked really well were ship designing and diplomacy. Every ship that you make in the game is fully customizable and you can choose what type of systems are on the ships and what kinds of weapons are on there as well. But perhaps the most interesting and important part of the game is diplomacy. As you advance in turns or years, you come across different alien species. And as you deal with the different types of aliens you can decide if you want to make alliances with them or be enemies. My first playthrough I thought I would attack a friendly enemy ship that was in my territory to see what would happen. Well they came back with a lot more ships and took Mars from me and then went on to attack Earth. So it is important to think about how you want to deal with the alien species and if you want to be friendly or more aggressive. I thought it was a really good aspect of the game that seemed well hashed out and relatively deep.
Another part of the game that can be a bit overlooked because you only use it once is the tutorial. I thought they did a really nice job teaching you how to play the game and how to do certain things. I felt a bit lost at first on what to do but they really do a nice job guiding you and that is something that is needed in a game this vast and deep.
Actual gameplay and space combat works really well too. As I said before, it is a turn based strategy game so combat takes place in turns. It makes for battles that are a little drawn out at times but they are also a lot of fun. The combat is fluid and is another really strong point in the game.
Changes or Suggestions?
I think most of the game is relatively polished and it appears to be close to completion. Although there are probably a few things you can find that could be addressed or fixed if you were being nitpicky.
– Graphics seem a little rough at times and could use a bit more work. But that is true of any game in its Beta stage so that is not a big deal. In fact they are often fine, it is just in the cutscenes when you see new aliens and their ships that it could be a bit better.
– The maximum number of civilian buildings you can build on colonized planets are all the same. It tells you what the planet’s maximum population is but the number of buildings you can build are all the same. So that just seems a bit off.
– Maybe this was just me but whenever I was attacked by aliens I never get the chance to build new ships. After combat you have the opportunity to build new ships and progress to the next turn. But it takes at least two turns to build a ship unless you want to pay to speed it up. And before you are able to build anything they are just back with another fleet right away and it seems like it should take a couple turns to get back to my planet.
– Multiplayer. I think this would be a really cool multiplayer game and it would be a lot of fun. But I heard that there are no plans for multiplayer in the future and I think they are missing out a bit by not having it in this game.
I think that Horizon is a really fun 4x turn based strategy game that is near completion. Most of the features in the game are here but just need a little more work. So if you are wary about buying a game that is still in the Beta stage, I would say that this is one of the better Beta versions of a game I have played. There were no real noticeable bugs or glitches that you tend to find in other games in their Beta stage. But if you were wondering about just getting the game at all, I would definitely recommend it to any strategy fans. It is $24.99 and I think that is a fair price for a very deep and interesting game that you can spend a lot of time playing. So go check it out!