Follow on G+ Follow on Twitter Subscribe the Facebook page Subscribe the RSS feed Receive notifications of new posts by email

A List of Sci-Fi/Space Games You Can’t Miss In 2012

By on January 7th, 2012 6:38 pm

Thankfully, this year there are many good sci-fi and space games to look for. From strategy, to RPG, to space sims, action and adventure, there is a bunch of good sci-fi games for all tastes, that should be more than enough to keep you busy throughout the year of 2012. In case they really come out this year that is :) Well, I’m confident that the large majority of them will.

And now, and in no particular order, here are the sci-fi and space games that Space Sector recommends you to have a look at this year.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

This year the Sins Universe gets a stand-alone new expansion: Rebellion. Among many new additions there are new factions (Loyalists or Rebels) with their own and unique tech-trees. There’s also the new highly anticipated Titan-class ship that promises to dwarf existing capital ships. Other new types of ships were also announced. Improved graphics are also promised, with new lighting and particle effects. Previously scheduled for late 2011, there has been no word about Rebellion’s release date (and the beta has not started yet also), but most probably Rebellion will come out still in the first half of 2012, for the PC. 

\Edit (Sep 25, 2012): Rebellion released in Jun 12th 2012 and it is now the ultimate Sins experience, that certainly adds value on top of Sins Diplomacy or the Sins Trinity bundle. It was up to expectations but probably more to people new to the game than veteran players. Here’s our review.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

SEGA and Gearbox Software are working on an Aliens first-person shooter title. Alien is no doubt one of the most influential science fiction franchises ever made, a true landmark to horror, action and sci-fi, and one of my favorites. The shooter story starts onboard of the U.S.S. Sulaco, that got recovered in orbit around LV-426 (the planet where the Aliens movie unfolds – and part of Alien too, the first movie). After dealing with what is found inside the Sulaco, the story continues on the surface of LV-426. I’m not much for shooters these days but because it’s Alien I must check it out, and it will be no doubt a good appetizer for Prometheus, that gets released in June this year. Aliens: Colonial Marines is targeted for release this spring 2012 on the PC, PS 3 and Xbox 360.

\Edit (Sep 25, 2012): Colonial Marines release date was pushed to Feb 12, 2013. Seems firm but we never know.

Legends of Pegasus

“An epic journey into space that mixes real-time and turn-based strategy” – That’s how Kalypso Media, Legends of Pegasus publisher, presents its new space strategy title. They add that players will expand their space faring civilization by colonizing new planets, building factories, labs and shipyards, researching new technologies and designing new spacecrafts. Sounds like a 4X game no doubt. Legends of Pegasus will offer a single player campaign but there will be also multiplayer available through the Internet or over a LAN against Humans and AI opponents. The game late coverage has focused on space battles a bit too much in recent screenshots where we only see battles and explosions, hum, ok. I don’t have a good feeling for Legends of Pegasus, but I hope I’m wrong. Legends of Pegasus is targeted for release in Q2 2012 for the PC.

\Edit (Sep 25, 2012): Legends of Pegasus released in Aug 10th 2012 but it was a major letdown. I’m extremely disappointed with this game. After so much coverage over the past year, all the anticipation build-up, all that ended with a game that I would not call more than a (barely) playable prototype at release time. Here’s our review.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

X-COM, the original strategy series, is back, now with a re-imagined new installment, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Firaxis Games was given the job to bring back one of the most beloved sci-fi series of all time. The turn-based and real-time strategy mechanics seem to be kept from the original series. The main view, where you tracked alien UFOs crossing Earth’s skies and then sent your interceptor ships to shoot them down should unfold in real-time while the tactical combat will be fought in turns. Let’s hope Firaxis and 2K Games manage to revive the spirit of X-COM in its great splendor. Let’s also hope the horror, the tension and the fun are all there in a way that no other sci-fi tactical combat game was ever able to meet. X-COM: Enemy Unknown is target for release in Q3 2012 for the PC, PS3 and XBox 360.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): XCOM: Enemy Unknown was released on Oct 12th 2012, and it’s a wonderful experience. Although you can never completely satisfy everybody – and there are many X-COM fans – the game was a huge success, both gameplay-wise and commercially. These are surely good news for the franchise, which may open the door for future expansions or even sequels. Here’s our review.


Horizon is a 4X space strategy game being developed by L3O, a small indie studio from Canada. Development started in 2003 but suddenly stopped, at least for quite a bit of time around 2009. Now, a few days ago, the indie devs have announced that they are resuming development. And now it seems they will go all the way through since they are hiring a 3D game artist and a game programmer and have set a (tentative) release date for Q4 2012. Horizons’ major features include full tactical turn-based combat, happening in the same view as the rest of the game mechanics, and an in-depth ship design system which let’s you choose weapons and emplacements on different hull sizes. You can know more about Horizon by reading an interview we did with Horizon’s designer and producer Raffi Parsekhian. Some folks have doubts if L3O will be able to stand up to the task. I’m with the group of people who think that this time they are gonna make it. Good luck L3O!

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Horizon is not yet on the immediate horizon ;) The devs pushed their internal beta testing to somewhere next year (2013), hopefully by middle year. Well, a bit more patience for this one. Will be added to the “2013 games-to-look-for” list.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Heart of the Swarm is Blizzard’s first expansion pack to its sci-fi RTS, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Heart of the Swarm will continue Wings of Liberty’s story, now with 20 new missions focusing on the Zerg race. New multiplayer content is also expected to be included in the expansion, as well as new features and upgrades to the online platform. I was not a big fan of the original StarCraft game. It was too much of a click-fest for my taste, although I do recognize that StarCraft 2 is probably one of the best RTS experiences out there, judging from the dozens of optimal reviews. HotS will be available for Mac and Windows, and although Blizzard has not set any release date yet (as usual for Blizzard), consensus is that HotS will come out this year. There’s no firm word if StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (the second expansion) will come out this year also or not.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Heart of the Swarm’s release was pushed to Mar 12, 2013. As this is Blizzard, it seems that it can actually be a firm date.


Zer0sum Games, a one-man show indie studio called Daniel DiCicco :), has come out and asked the community for the extra bucks to finish-off his 4X action-strategy space title for the PC. Dan explained that he needed $7.500 to pay the artist and to help on multiplayer development (he got $17,676!!). The pledge at Kickstarter was a huge success because, in my opinion, Dan had already a good game base established and because his game showed enough potential and innovation, sufficient enough to make many folks open the wallet (I was one of those). Dan, that has quit his day job in the meantime to dedicate his time fully to StarDrive, has promised a close-beta version of StarDrive for this spring, followed by a full release somewhere in the summer. Good luck Dan, we’ll be here eagerly waiting to play your game.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): StarDrive’s beta and release were pushed by Iceberg Interactive to Q1 2013. The latest we have on StarDrive is an interview with the developer and a first beta hands-on preview.

Empire of the Eclipse

The iOS players can’t complain much about a lack of space games lately, and specially 4X space games. Empire of the Eclipse, developed by ZarkSoft Games, is a very promising new title for this platform. EotE is an MMO, and so you’ll have the opportunity to play what I think is history’s first mobile 4X MMO space game ever. EotE seems to contain lots of depth and scale, with thousands of space sectors available to play. I have very high expectations for this title, that I’ve been following for quite some time now. We did an interview with Lee Dotson, President of ZarkSoft Games if you want to know more about EotE. EotE is getting close for a limited region launch in January 2012, followed by a full international launch not much time after. Stay tuned for news very soon.

\Edit (Sep 25, 2012): A rough start for Empire of the Eclipse. On its release, in May 24th 2012, EotE didn’t live to the expectations. By then it was struggling to maintain a populated server, and grow on its user base. This is attributed to basically a non-existent tutorial system (youtube videos just don’t cut it), many bugs, and unstable servers. Here’s our review.

Gemini Wars

At the beginning of this year, Camel 101 will bring us Gemini Wars, a new space RTS, that focuses on tactical space warfare. From what I could tell there will also be a few sprinkles of 4X strategy elements in Gemini Wars, since it allows you to build space stations, colonize planets, extract minerals and do research, although (and very importantly) the game will not feature diplomacy options, which makes it a weak 4X game or better even not a 4X at all. Camel 101 is an independent and self funded game development studio, but that recently successfully managed to make a deal with the Iceberg Interactive publisher to help with retail and to put the game on some digital stores. Gemini Wars is targeted for release soon, so stay alert for news.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Gemini Wars was released on Jun 8th 2012. The game launched without a skirmish mode and multiplayer, but they are now included via patches. We are still to release a review for this one. Please bear with us. Here’s our preview.

Gratuitous Tank Battles

Cliff Harris, the same guy behind Gratuitous Space Battles, will now bring us Gratuitous Tank Battles, his new sci-fi strategy / tower defense game featuring laser weapons, tanks and mechs in an alternate history, where world war 1 continues for 200 years. I like Gratuitous Space Battles, it is a fun game to play. It doesn’t have lots of depth and all that but it has a very addictive gameplay. GTB is expected to be released sometime in Q1 2012 for both PC and Mac. You can have a look at GTB’s gameplay on this trailer.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Gratuitous Tank Battles was released on May 18th 2012, and I enjoyed it quite a bit for a while. It’s definitely a solid sci-fi tower-defense gaming experience. We don’t have a review for this one, unfortunately. However, here’s our preview.

UFO Online: Fight for Earth

Looks like free-to-play MMO games are here to stay. UFO Online: Fight for Earth is a new sci-fi browser-based MMO developed by Gamigo, that is obviously inspired in the turn-based tactics X-COM series (UFO: Enemy Unknown, X-COM Terror from the Deep, among other titles). UFO Online is powered by the Unity 3D graphics engine and it provides 3 playable factions, many different classes, skills and quests all set in tactical battles against the AI and other Players (PvE and PvP). UFO Online entered closed beta not long ago, so, we’ll probably witness the open-beta soon. You have a small UFO Online preview here.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): At the moment of this update, it seems that UFO Online is still in closed beta.

Star Prospector

Cryptstone Games, a computer game development company from Canada, is developing Star Prospector, a single-player sci-fi RTS. Star Prospector features a mix between RPG and real-time strategy elements and your mission, in the role of a prospector, is to mine, salvage and build bases on remote planets in search for resources, technology and adventure. In the good tradition of RPG games you also get loot drops from your foes and skill points that will allow you to get access to new units, buildings and items. Although certainly not like StarCraft 2 in terms of graphics, Star Prospector seems to be a decent title, that intertwines some 4X elements and RPG elements. I’m curious to see what Cryptsone Games has assembled for us. Although the dev has not set a formal release date yet, Star Prospetor has been in beta for quite some time now, and is expected to release soon. You have a small preview here. And a first impressions article here.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Star Prospector was released in Jan 24th 2012. Since its release, Star Prospector received a free DLC with a new Tower-defense game mode. The latest we have on it is still the first impressions article.

X Rebirth

Space simulation fans will be happy to know that publisher Deep Silver and developer Egosoft announced the latest game set in the X Universe: X Rebirth. Rebirth promises to innovate but at the same time not deviate too much from its origins. X Rebirth is all about action, adventure and combat set in a vast and detailed Universe, all with great graphics. Space sims fans seem to have a great title to look for. X Rebirth is expected to release in 2012 for the PC.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Egosoft has pushed X Rebirth’s release date to somewhere in 2013.


Like so many XCOM fans I was disappointed to know that the new XCOM was going to be a shooter. Thank god XCOM: Enemy Unknown has now been recently announced. It’s good to know that the series will continue with its original form. But XCOM surely will have its own merits and should contain enough tension and fear to please sci-fi shooter fans. The game unfolds on an American 1950’s setting and you play the role of an FBI agent tasked with dealing and eliminating an alien threat. Although not my favorite genre of sci-fi, XCOM shows good potential and it is surely a game to have a look at this year. XCOM will be available for the PC and XBox 360.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): 2K Games has withdraw the 2012 release date for its XCOM sci-fi shooter. A decision no doubt related with the release of the sci-fi strategy XCOM: Enemy Unknown. There’s no release date set at the moment.

Miner Wars 2081

Keen Software House, an indie software company, will bring us Miner Wars 2081, a first-person action space simulation game set on a post-apocalyptic solar system, set 10 years after Earth’s destruction. The remaining population is now struggling to live in space without a home planet. The player controls a mining ship on an adventure across the inner Solar System. Features include a destructible and persistent environment, a wide variety of upgradable ships all with its own advantages and disadvantages, dozens of factions to choose from, all in a combination of single-player and multiplayer elements. It has a been a long time since I played an action space sim, I think Miner Wars 2081 is a good candidate to get back to a space ship cockpit. Miner Wars 2081 is expected to release in Q1 2012 for the PC and Xbox 360.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Miner Wars 2081 was released on Nov 28th 2012. You can grab a demo at the developer’s website. Keen Software House will now aim on finishing their Miner Wars MMO to release on Q4 2013.

UFO: Extraterrestrials 2

There are 3 X-COM type games coming out this year. One I already talked about, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, the one that supposedly follows on the footsteps of the original X-COM series. The other two titles are X-COM clones. One is Xenonauts (that I’ll talk about in a while) and the other is UFO: Extraterrestrials 2, a sequel to the not so memorable UFO: Extraterrestrials game, also developed by Chaos Concept. Being an XCOM clone, UFO 2: Extraterrestrials is a sci-fi strategy game that combines real-time mechanics for air combat and turn-based tactics for missions. Let’s see if Chaos Concept will manage to surprise us, in a good way, after all this is their second UFO game, and surely there were many lessons learned from the first title.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): After many failed release date attempts, Chaos Concept decided to withdraw a release date from their website completely, which now reads “Project in Progress”. Little is know about the game’s progress though. At the time of this update, they’re looking for C++ programmers, so that hints that they may be still far from releasing. We’ll keep an eye on this X-COM style game.

Mass Effect 3

BioWare brings us Mass Effect 3, and so this intergalactic action RPG trilogy seems to be complete. You continue to play as Commander Shepard and must now lead a counter assault against the ancient alien race known as the Reapers that have launched an all-out invasion of the galaxy, and have already taken Earth. I never played any game of this series but I know how popular these games are, and for that reason alone, and by the fact that Mass Effect is a sci-fi game, it more than deserves to be in this list. Mass Effect 3 will be released on March 6, 2012 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): Mass Effect 3 was released on Mar 6th 2012 and received great review scores. But, as usual in highly anticipated games, not without its share of drama. The most notorious one being its unsatisfying ending. There’s talk of Mass Effect 4, but as it seems, it was not officially announced and probably just a rumor or sound bites.


The second X-COM clone, remake, re-imagined title, whatever, is Xenonauts. Xenonauts is a single-player sci-fi strategy game for the PC. Like in X-COM: UFO Defense, the player is in control of an organisation tasked with defending the planet against extraterrestrial invasion. The skies must be defended against alien incursions, while ground teams must be sent into combat to capture crashed UFOs. Yep, it’s basically the same thing. The devs are not hiding anything however, they state in their website that Xenonauts is heavily (their word) inspired by the classic X-Com / UFO: Enemy Unknown, released in the mid-90s. The game is due for release in 2012. In fact, a preview copy should be available soon, so stay tuned for news on that.

\Edit (Dec 28, 2012): After a successful Kickstarter – that generated around $150,000 – Goldhawk interactive attempted to release the Xenonauts beta on the same day as XCOM: Enemy Unknown was released (Oct 9-12th 2012). However, and at the time of this update, they still seem to be working on it. They plan to release the beta in two phases, one still with placeholders and the 2nd to do fine balancing and tweak things, which is probably more of a late alpha followed by a proper beta. Stay tuned for developments on this X-COM inspired title. We have a alpha preview, but it’s quite old, and many things may have changed since then.

     Subscribe RSS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. BiggTedd says:

    Another great article Adam! I’ve only stumbled upon this site recently, and now find myself checking your posts daily! Great stuff, and your articles are always informative, unbiased and positive, I think it’s great how people here are so supportive of developers, definitely spreading the word about Space Sector and Adam Solo.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Thanks a lot for your kind words BiggTedd. It’s a pleasure to have you onboard as a regular reader. I hope to always be worthy of your time. Cheers.

  2. Evil Azrael says:

    Ui, a new Space Shooter :) I am currently playing X-Wing 95 as hasn’t been any good space in the last years :( I hope this Miner game will support joysticks and has a good single player mode.
    I own all the X-Games, but i haven’t played any since X² as i fear it will take way too much of my scarce time :(

    • Adam Solo says:

      You’re in luck, It does support Joysticks ;)

      Regarding single player it seems that you’re in luck also :) Keen Software House state that “Game play is led by an epic story and is a combination of a single/multi-player game, cooperative, or you against everyone.” So, it looks like single-player is also strong in Miner Wars 2081.

      • Evil Azrael says:

        Ok, i bought the game. I tried it only for a few moments. if you choose joystick the mouse gets disabled in the menu (-> UI discussion). And it seems that currently only 2 axis are supported. Ok it’s “pre-alpha”, but the intro says “coming autumn 2009” ;)

  3. Zeraan says:

    No love for Beyond Beyaan? :( It even have a release date of May 31, 2012!

    A lot of those games I’m very interested in, especially XCOM: Enemy unknown and Stardrive (one of its backers :D), looks like 2012 will be an wonderful year for sci-fi games!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Sorry about forgetting your game in this list Zeraan. I know I probably forgot some other good titles also. Now I remember reading your post where you set a release date for May this year. Sorry Zerran, but probably I got a bit confused with your release plan when you say that “May 31st will be the end of the Alpha version, and the Beta testing has begun. However, it will be a full release, because it will be feature-complete, and people can mod the data.”.

      Definitely, Beyond Beyaan is also a title to look for in 2012 ;)

      • Zeraan says:

        I was hoping that it wouldn’t be confusing :( The problem is that I won’t be able to playtest and ensure that everything will be balanced in terms of racial perks, technologies, etc, by full release. However, the game itself will be fully functioning, so any changes will be just data changes, not changes in the code (aside from bug fixing).

        Desura just responded and asked me to provide some more details, and the game itself for review. So I’m trying to finish up things to make it semi-playable, then I will send them the game. Hope that they accept the game for alphafunding! I will send you the same version for preview as well!

        • Adam Solo says:

          From your words I understand that you’re aiming at an alpha or a beta release. As you say yourself ” fully functioning (…) aside from bug fixing”.

          It’s great to know that you’re in Desura’s acceptance process. Good luck with that!
          And thanks for sending a preview copy my way!

  4. Tycow says:

    Hey Adam, brilliant article. I’ve added a few of these to my wishlist for the coming year! I’m really looking forward to Gemini Wars, Star Prospector, & Stardrive. Also, Starfarer is shaping up to be excellent.

    Regarding your article; you’ve made a small lore mistake in your Aliens: Colonial Marines section. LV-426 was the planet Aliens (and part of Alien) took place on, not Alien 3. Alien 3 was set on Fiorina 161. :)

    Keep up the good work. :D

    • Adam Solo says:

      Dough, what an unforgiving mistake :) Thanks for the correction. Of course it’s Fiorina 161. God damnit. I carried myself away with Colonials story. Gearbox states “The shooter story starts onboard of the U.S.S. Sulaco, that got recovered in orbit around LV-426”. But that doesn’t make any sense. If it would to be recovered it should be on-orbit Fiorina 161, where we lost contact with it in the movies. Well, looks like it’s a re-imagined story then :) Corrected.

      • Tycow says:

        Hehe easy mistake to make! You’re right though, the Sulaco was last seen over Fiorina 161, so it seems daft that it’s back at LV-426. I assume it’ll be explained away in a throw away comment in the game!

  5. Larry says:

    Mass Effect 3 is the big “to get” game for me. I fear my PC may be a little dated to play it enjoyably though.

    I’m also holding out for a Half-Life 3 announcement this year.

  6. Claude says:

    Super list! But the surprise is X-Com from Firaxis. Extremely difficult to forget it and think about something else. I’m going to retire soon (I sign the papers next Wednesday), so I’ll have more time to play games. You think I’m old? Come to the gym with me then! ;-)

    Good luck everyone!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Thanks Claude! Yes, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the game of the hour, until the dust comes down there’s little else than that.

      Congratulations on your retirement, this should mean that you’ll have your life back again to do what you please, but from what I can tell you may have 35 :) Retirement to play games, now that’s the kind of retirement I hope for one day.

      • Claude says:

        Thank you! I’m 52.

        I still remember my Commodore 64. I didn’t know what to do with it! :-) Too complicated. Or my Atari 2600… wow.

        Life is short, that’s why I prefer to have less money in the future and a better life NOW.
        I wish to everyone the same.

        Great site here with a lot of useful news & reviews!

        • Adam Solo says:

          I started with a ZX Spectrum 128K (top of the line by then). Then moved to an IBM (PS1) PC. Yes, I’m not that experienced, I’m only 33 :) And I second your “Life is short (…)” statement.

  7. SolCommand says:

    From your list, by far, my most expected game is Mass Effect 3. When it comes out I’ll probably call my boss and tell him I’m sick for at least a couple of days :)

  8. zigzag says:

    Hah hah! Seems ambitious. This looks like my list for last year!

  9. aReclusiveMind says:

    Thanks for posting this list Adam!

    2012 thoughts:

    StarDrive looks pretty interesting. I’d likely have donated had I known about it earlier. I’m not sure if I like the idea of controlling the command ship or not. At times, I think it would be fun to do in larger battles, but at other times I fear it will take away from my abilities to command aspects of the empire in a meaningful way.

    Legends of Pegasus and Gemini Wars had been on my list, but now, I’m doubtful that they will be worthwhile compared to some of the other options out there.

    One title I donated to recently is a somewhat similar space game to StarDrive in that it is a bit more action oriented with plans for a campaign. It’s called Starfarer. I assume you are aware of it, but if not, it may be worth checking out. It still needs a lot of development work done though.

    Current Thoughts:

    I’ve started watching some of the Distant Worlds Legends Let’s Play videos after reading your review. My interest is peaked, but the entry price (especially now post sale) is really high, even in US dollars. I wish they’d bundle the game and expansions for say $50, as it would make the game much more of an impulse buy. The base game alone at $40 is very unappealing since by all accounts its not much fun without the other expansions and I’d always feel like I was missing useful features. Hopefully Matrix will have some more sale offerings prior to next November on it and the expansions.

    Sword of the Stars II was a total flop and only Skyrim kept me from getting angrier about it. After seeing Distant Worlds I’m actually less impressed in the new features SOTS has added. They added a lot of complication for seemingly no reason. DW seems to have added features that made sense and also streamlined in the process. The automation features are also very appealing for initial learning.

    • Adam Solo says:


      You’re welcome.

      StarDrive definitely has everything to be a hit. It probably will be the best 4X space game to come out this year, but let’s wait and see. It has been released on Desura already btw (the first alpha build).

      Little is now yet about Legends of Pegasus. Stay tuned for a surprise soon! Regarding Gemini Wars let’s see. I’m curious to know what they will be able to offer. The trailers are nice but little is know about the actual gameplay, at least the parts that are not battles. And that worries me. However Camel 101 said recently that they are making the final touches on the game and should release in 20 April 2012, if not before.

      Yes, I’m aware of Starfarer. I’m waiting for news about it to introduce it big in Space Sector. Stay tuned for that one also :)

      Distant Worlds’s full package is expensive, now even more that the titles are no longer in sales. I guess Matrix Games prefers to cash-in big with the fans than to open the doors to new people. I’m sure there will be a gold edition with all expansions soon. If so and how soon I can’t tell, I mean I could tell, but I can’t because I don’t know :D If you’re a 4X fan you will not be sorry, I guarantee you that. I’m only aware of one big 4X fan that don’t likes Distant Worlds with the recent expansions, but I will not reveal his name for politeness :D

      Sword of the Stars 2 was and is a mess. A total let down. Everything has been said already on what happened in the past so it’s time to give you guys some news about this. Stay tuned for that as well :)


  10. Nick says:

    Thanks for the wrap-up Adam! A little something for everyone. I personally am looking foward to Starfarer and Xenonauts and perhaps another Distant Worlds expansion if the devs bless us so.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Thanks Nick.

      A new Distant Worlds expansion would be great but personally I’m betting more on Distant Worlds 2 being announced soon (at least in my dreams). I’ll cover Starfarer very soon, stay tuned. Xenonauts seems to have everything to be a great X-COM remake/re-imagined title, and I’m also looking forward for it.

  11. SGT E.Rome says:

    @Adam, Greetings from Afghanistan. Thanks for the informative reviews and Games to watch list for 2012! I can’t wait to get some of those quality strategy/rts games coming out! The last space 4x strategy game I played was Space Empires 5 and that was a let down; not enough quality to keep me engaged….

    • Adam Solo says:

      Greetings SGT, you’re welcome.

      Space Empires V was probably not the best of the series (I prefer SE4). You should try Distant Worlds: Legends, Armada 2526 Supernova or Star Ruler. They are all good 4X space strategy games. My personal preference goes for the first two.

  12. Phrike says:

    I think they’ve missed one of the best ones, Endless space. And some games such as xenonauts don’t qualify as sci-fi space games

    • Adam Solo says:

      Well, it’s Sci-Fi/Space, not Sci-Fi Space. One or the other. Although it could get interpreted as both, as you did.

      Endless Space was not known at the time.


  13. Harry says:

    Please delete Legends of Pegasus..

    • Adam Solo says:

      I’m thinking in making a follow-up post to this list by the end of the year, and do that each year. The idea for this post was to list the games worth having a look at in the current year. Probably it should have been better named to “can’t miss in 2012 having a look at” or “List of Promising Sci-Fi/Space Games for YYYY”. Some games were 1 year due so I couldn’t know their release state.

      As we know, some titles didn’t live to the expectations. Legends of Pegasus, as you point out, was one of such cases. That will be concluded on such a post.

    • Adam Solo says:

      That, or probably an update directly in this post inserting available reviews and a small sentence saying if the game was really up to expectations. That could work also.

  14. Firedragon says:

    If you guys are looking for what looks to be a fantastic new Freelancer/Wing Commander type game, have a look at this :-
    Looks awesome to me and I thought worth sharing.

      • Cmdrecrane says:

        Whilst that article is all and good from a gamers perspective.

        I will entertain everyone with the opinion of myself being a dedicated fan of the Wing Commander Series.

        It might not be released this year but the recently crowd-funded GREENLIT Star Citizen is the GAME ANNOUNCEMENT of the year :) I mean it is a sigh of relief for a new original IP to come about. $2 million dollars is alot of dedication I can tell you that :)

        A game with gameplay that the most dedicated gamers would want. It is actually since Chris Roberts is one . It also helps that he has created many great games that people have dedicated hours playing and also hours creating modifications several years after they were made. Wing Commander 1 despite having rudimentary graphics in comparison to what we have today still holds up as a fun game to play.

        Those game modifications gave new life to those games and the game series many many years after the franchise had been abandoned by it’s publisher.

        I have dreamed of making a game that was very much like Chris Roberts’ game Wing Commander Privateer except on a larger and more detailed scale. I am impressed that he is actually MAKING that game. I cannot say much for other games out there.

        Even though I can picture myself and others wanting/dreaming of creating games spurned off games from the past ten years I would say that the Star Citizen concepts are very radical. I would say people have tried to make very awesome games that people want to play but either lacked the vision or got their hopes squashed by the fat cats in the board room wanting to pump out another samey sequel.

        Star Citizen is a science fiction game that is worth a lot of gamers attention despite only being in prototype and is a couple of years away from release. I say bring on the people coming back to the PC after relegating themselves to the console so mistakenly :)

        If you want me to sell the game for you better then I’ll let the guys at RSI help you as every section you read gives you an enthralling insight into what we will be playing we hope in late 2014. Here is the link again :

        Remember to pledge as this will be a game like no other. Every dollar counts since we want to make this as good as it can be by hitting the stretch goals and showing the gaming community that it is worth it bringing back games that are made by those who want to create more ambitious games without the limitations of people who have no idea neutering what could of been one of the greatest games/ game series that you will play.

  15. Ace of the Stars says:

    Great site indeed, found this while surfing the WWW and now I come here every single day. Keep up the good work Adam!

  16. silver442 says:

    hey i was could you decide for me between legend of pegasis or gemini wars because i am a little stretched for money

    oh and awsm list thanks

    • Adam Solo says:

      Legends of Pegasus will probably not be a good option silver. It was very poor at release and the developer has declared bankruptcy shortly after. Perhaps you should look at Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion or XCOM: Enemy Unknown instead. You can find reviews for both games in this site.

  17. nadasurf says:

    I am actualy playing a good free2play RTS game

  18. AnimeGod says:

    The so called death of the Space flight sims that required a Joystick are more or less because of poor programming focus. Makers like Sony did not want to deal with joysticks when creating and funding new games for the Play Stations and Xbox also did not have the programming people needed to make it work. Playing FreeSpace or FreeSpace 2 is a pure joy. Those games were designed for the Joystick and game pads are just not good enough to do some of the items of combat maneuvers. FreeSpace was well ahead of the curve. Had the company not had a licensing fight that lasted decades bankrupting all parties, Space sims could have been taken to the newest levels. F22 is another sim that requires a full flight sim setup to take full advantage of all the possibilities. Game pad users get smoked in a blink of an eye because they do not have true 3d flight controls but are tied to x/y coordination.
    It would be a pleasure to see a gaming company work to create a FreeSpace type game for the joystick full of dog fights. Freespace graphics and engine was revolutionary and was the first to use realistic phys X for realistic type of effects in flying in space. In fact, Phys X used by Microsoft was stolen from the FreeSpace engine.
    Game developers could create a new game. However, most of the staff programmers are just not good enough to program a true space sim. Plus, most game companies have such short turn around times that the quality of games have fallen off with a few rare exceptions.

  19. Gary says:

    It’s close to three years since this article was written, and I thought it would be interesting to see how these games fared. Of the 18 games listed:

    * Only one game was cancelled: XCOM
    * 16 of the 18 games have been released, with UFO 2: Extraterrestrials estimated release for Q1 2015
    * 9 of the 18 games were released in 2012
    * 5 of the 18 games were released in 2013
    * 12 of the 18 games have a review score of greater than 50%
    * 7 of the 18 games have a review score of greater than 70%

    Here’s the list of games, with release date in (), and metacritic metascore and user score listed after. A couple games do not have metacritic scores, so other sources (Steam & Desura) were used.

    Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (2012): 82, 77
    Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013): 45, 34
    Legends of Pegasus (2012): 36, 15
    XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012): 89, 81
    Horizon (2013): 58, 64
    StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013): 86, 78
    StarDrive (2013): 61, 68
    Empire of the Eclipse (iOS) (2012): 78, N/A
    Gemini Wars (2012): 53, 65
    Gratuitous Tank Battles (2012): 69, 66
    UFO Online: Fight for Earth (Oct 10, 2014): no metacritic reviews, Steam: not recommended
    Star Prospector (2012): no metacritic reviews, Desura: 84
    X Rebirth (2013): 33, 32
    XCOM (cancelled)
    Miner Wars 2081 (2012): 52, 61
    UFO 2: Extraterrestials (est: Q1 2015)
    Mass Effect 3 (2012): 89, 52
    Xenonauts (2014): 76, 82

Related Articles:

Post category: Game Lists, News & Announcements