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

A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Games You Can’t Miss in 2014

By on January 10th, 2014 2:02 pm

Another year, another list of interesting space-based, science fiction and fantasy-themed games to look for. Of course, strategy has always the priority here, but you’ll also find a good deal of simulation games, a bit of RPG and even some adventure in this list. Of note, quite a few space 4X games releasing this year and a couple of space trading and combat simulation heavy-weights. Also, fantasy is having quite a year with a bit of always healthy competition. Also of note is that almost half of the titles present in the list have gone through a crowdfunding scheme, namely through Kickstarter in all of these cases, which says a lot about the popularity of this crowdfunding platform. Time will tell how well these titles will do, but here at SpaceSector we think these are some of the most interesting titles which we believe you should have a look at in 2014. Enjoy!

Galactic Civilizations 3 | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by Stardock
Galactic Civilizations 3
Release Date: 2014 (Pre-orders available)

In the same year Stardock celebrated 20 years of existence it also announced Galactic Civilizations 3, the third installment for its most popular game series, and arguably best space 4X game franchise after Master of Orion. We already know that there will be multiplayer now, something the series always lacked, that the map will be divided in hexagons this time and that the game will be released exclusively for 64-bit PCs. Pre-orders are already open by the way.

With respect to the release date, the devs say that they’re still in “internal alpha testing” and that they expect to enter closed alpha early 2014 with a public beta “soon to follow”. We have an interview to be released soon, with questions assembled from the site’s readership and community, so, if you want to know more about this highly anticipated title make sure not to miss that!

Coming in 2014 - Age of Wonders 3
Age of Wonders 3
Triumph Studios
Release Date: March 2014

One of the mostly hotly anticipated turn-based strategy titles for 2014 is Triumph Studios’ 4X fantasy game, Age of Wonders 3. Like many of you, I’m very excited about the revival of this series and can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product. If you’re anxious for more information, and you haven’t checked out their frequently updated news section on the official site, I highly recommend it. Information on the Dreadnought and Sorcerer classes, designing your leader, soundtrack, exploration, and much more is also available for your reading pleasure.

In November, a great Let’s Play Age of Wonders 3 video was put up by PCGames. This one is in German, but even if you don’t speak the language, there’s a plethora of information about gameplay on offer. In addition to the gameplay session, PCGames also did an interview with the producer. Though PCGames is a German channel, the interview is primarily in English.

\Edit (May 7, 2014): Age of Wonders 3 was released on March 31, 2014. Here’s our review. A clip from the review: “If you (…) don’t mind fighting many similar battles over many hours of play, you’re likely to enjoy this game more than I have. If you are planning to play it in multiplayer mode (…), I believe you will have the opportunity to enjoy some very interesting tactical combat decisions. If instead you’re a fan of deeper 4X games, I’d suggest you think long and hard about whether this title is for you.”.

Star Citizen | Space Trading and Space Combat simulation by Cloud Imperium Games (Chris Roberts)
Star Citizen
Cloud Imperium Games / Behavior Interactive
Release Date: 2014 and 2015 for certain modules

Chris Roberts, the father of the Wing Commander series has recently returned to the games’ industry and in 2011 embarked in a journey to develop what seems to be the most ambitious space trading and combat simulator ever, and first-person shooter, one shouldn’t forget. Star Citizen is the crowdfunding champion. It raised more than 2 million dollars on Kickstarter, but that was just the beginning. Money hasn’t stopped arriving at Cloud Imperium Games since then. How much do they have now? More than $36M! Thirty six million dollars to make a space game, and counting :) You can find all the stretch goals’ info here.

Star Citizen is being developed using a modular approach. The first module, “Hangar Module” was already released to backers. The following modules are expected to be released in 2014. These are the Dogfighting Module, Social/Planetside Module, Squadron44 (single-player, alpha) and Persistent Universe (MMO persistent universe, beta), with a final release estimated for early 2015 available for the Windows PC.

Coming in 2014 - Warhammer 40k: Armageddon
Warhammer 40k: Armageddon
TheLordzStudio / Matrix Games
Release Date: Q1 2014

Warhammer 40k: Armageddon is an upcoming hex based turn-based strategy game for PC and iOS. It is being developed on a heavily enhanced version of the Panzer Corps engine. This is not an engine I have hands on experience with, as to be honest I don’t typically play PC war games, and this is primarily because I’m not all that interested in 20th century warfare. In this case though, we’re talking about a futuristic war involving the Imperial Guard, the Blood Angel Space Marine chapter, and the Orks. Now that is something that excites me as, to my knowledge, no dreadnoughts have been used in the last century by the modern military.

Warhammer 40k is a well established space fantasy setting that is rich with lore and powerful machines of war, and it will be a shame if they deliver anything less than an immersive, thematic, experience that transcends traditional war games. They’ve already announced the game will contain over 300 units, of which I’ve confirmed Blood Angel Dreadnoughts and makeshift Ork vehicles will be present, and this means they’ve got the tools to make this happen.

Coming in 2014 - Worlds of Magic
Worlds of Magic
Lucid Dreamers / Wastelands Interactive
Release Date: Q2 2014

With two successful Kickstarter campaigns under its belt, fantasy 4X game Worlds of Magic was delayed late in 2013 to Q2 2014. I feel this is absolutely the right move for this game and studio. While I was happy to see their Kickstarter dream succeed, I personally couldn’t fathom them making use of the additional backer funds and still managing to get a quality title out in Q1. There is a fair bit of competition in the turn-based fantasy strategy genre in the coming year, and delaying to Q2 in order to polish and define the unique niche they are going to fill in the genre is of the utmost importance in my mind.

I’m anxious to watch as this game progresses towards the finish line. They’ve still got a fair amount of time, and already I can see some polish starting to settle in based on these screenshots. They’re dreaming what some may consider the impossible dream, to create a game that will be accepted and loved as a true successor to Master of Magic. I’d love to see this happen, but time will tell.

Coming in 2014 - Endless Legend
Endless Legend
Amplitude Studios
Release Date: 2014

Amplitude Studio’s upcoming fantasy 4X game, Endless Legend, is set to be the third game in the Endless setting. Late in 2013, Amplitude introduced their rogue-like dungeon game, Dungeon of the Endless, to the world via Steam’s Early Access system as the second title in the setting. Endless Space was, of course, the first. Despite some of the issues I had with Endless Space, I feel like some of the design decisions and mechanics introduced in it could end up working out significantly better in a fantasy setting. My hope is that the lack of star lanes, a more robust combat system with spells and special abilities, neutral factions to interact with, meaningful quests, and other features unique to this fantasy setting will raise this game far above its older brother’s shoulders.

I’ve linked to quite a few of the Games2Gether forum design documents, and I encourage you to keep an eye on this forum if you’re interested in keeping up with them as they release. They are up to 8 now, with the latest one on unit design being released just a couple of weeks ago.

Coming in 2014 - RimWorld
Ludeon Studios
Release Date: 2014

RimWorld is an upcoming sci-fi colony simulation game from Ludeon Studios for Windows, Mac and Linux. RimWorld was a game I had quite a lot of fun with even in its very early stages. After a very successful Kickstarter, developer Tynan Sylvester of Ludeon Studios announced in December that he had hired Rhopunzel, an experienced pixel artist who’s recent credits include Starbound and Gnomoria. In addition, he’s brought on Alistair Lindsay, the music composer and sound designer behind quite a few games, but most recently Prison Architect. The latest word on this sci-fi colony sim is that colony level kickstarter backers should have access to an alpha build sometime around the end of January.

There’s also news about work being done on an in-game editor that should someday be opened for modding. It has been awhile since the last game update was released, but the Ludeon dev blog indicates work is most definitely being done behind the scenes.

Coming in 2014 - Warlock II - The Exiled
Warlock 2: The Exiled
Ino’co / Paradox Interactive
Release Date: Q2 2014

Warlock 2: The Exiled is the upcoming turn-based strategy game for the PC, follow-up to Warlock: Master of the Arcane. Warlock was a game that I had briefly tried when it released, but which seemed too shallow at the time for me. I’ve since gone back and decided to give it another chance, and I’m glad I did as I’m having quite a bit of fun with it. I am now excited for Warlock II, and I look forward to seeing the enhancements it brings to the series. The biggest addition coming in Warlock II appears to be a new mode called Exiled mode. In addition to the single game sandbox random maps, Exiled mode will allow players to embark on a multiple world journey in what sounds like a campaign mode with similarities to Eador: Masters of the Broken World. I’m a fan of these types of campaigns, as long as they can prevent it from becoming monotonous, and its inclusion has certainly peaked my interest.

If you’re interested in seeing more, a gameplay video and a brief let’s play with the game producers was uploaded in early December. I was pleased to see a new spell tree and feel it is going to be more enjoyable to use than the random research circle used in the original.

Elite: Dangerous | Space Trading and Combat Simulation by Frontier Developments (David Braben)
Elite: Dangerous
Frontier Developments
Release Date: Oct 2014  (already available)

Elite (1984) is a classic space trading and combat simulation video game designed by David Braben and Ian Bell. About a year ago, Braben decided to use Kickstarter as an “experiment”, a way to do test-marketing for his new concept for an Elite sequel called Elite: Dangerous. And what an experiment it was. At the end of the day Braben managed to raise more than £1.5M on the crowdfunding platform, for a total of more than £2.2M raised at this time.

“Go where you like, be what you like – pirate, bounty hunter, trader, assassin, or a mix of all of these.”, is what the game seems to be all about. Trade, fight, increase your pilot’s rating and explore space in single-player or in multiplayer. Early access (alpha) is already available through Elite: Dangerous’ website (£200, ouch!). Beta pre-orders are also available. The full game is slated to release on October 2014 for Windows PC and Mac.

Coming in 2014 - Maia
Simon Roth
Release Date: TBA (Now available on Early Access)

Maia is an upcoming space colonization survival game from developer Simon Roth for Windows, Mac and Linux. In early December, Maia launched on Steam’s Early Access program, and since that time Maia has been receiving updates at a rapid pace. Early Access varies from game to game of course, with some really being late betas, while others, like Maia, are still very early alpha versions. Maia presents a space colonization concept that should offer a unique experience when development is completed, but right now the experience is primarily for those who want to help shape the game while it is being formed.

As 2014 progresses, I’m looking forward to seeing how Maia progresses and grows beyond just being a good concept.

Coming in 2014 - Unclaimed World
Unclaimed World
Refactored Games
Release Date: TBA

Unclaimed World is a sci-fi survival and exploration game in development by Refactored Games. When I first heard about Unclaimed World, the first thing that I noticed was its attention grabbing beautiful art style. When I began to dig deeper, and began to actually read about their plans for this survival game, I realized it may have much more to offer. The developers have been holding their cards pretty tight to their chest throughout development, so at this point it’s hard to say how close to their plans have come to reality.

While it has been close to a year since we last mentioned this title, recent news and conversations I’ve had with the development team indicate this game is still being very actively developed. They plan to initially release a survival demo, and according to their most recent forum posts, an arrangement is being made with Desura to try and make this happen. Until then, they are busy hunting bugs and polishing the game as much as possible.

Coming in 2014 - StarDrive Unity
StarDrive Unity
Zero Sum Games
Release Date: TBA

StarDrive Unity is an upcoming turn-based space 4X strategy game from studio Zero Sum Games. StarDrive Unity is a standalone spinoff from StarDrive vanilla. Last year, we had an interview with developer Daniel DiCicco about the future of StarDrive, his reason for switching to Unity for this upcoming project, and his goals for this upcoming game. In addition to the 4X turn-based mode, a battle arena mode is also in development. The plan is for this battle mode to include moddable story based scenarios and campaigns. With quite a few turn-based space 4X games in development, it’s going to be interesting to see if the StarDrive’s move to turn-based ends up being a good decision. One difference StarDrive brings to the table is that its combat appears to still be pauseable real-time.

If you’re interested in seeing some early pre-alpha footage, I’d recommend you check out this video from late November.

Coming in 2014 - Spacebase DF-9
Spacebase DF-9
Double Fine Productions
Release Date: TBA (Now available on Early Access)

Spacebase DF-9 is a sci-fi building simulation game currently in development by Double Fine Productions for Windows, Mac and Linux. When you think of Double Fine, you may immediately think of Broken Age, their yet to be released Kickstart’d old school adventure game. In actuality, Double Fine actually has multiple projects in development at all times, Spacebase DF-9 being one of them. Spacebase DF-9 appears to be a more social simulation, involving not only external space threats, but space bars, space station rivalries, workout regiments, and gourmet chefs. While certainly a lighter simulation at this point, there appear to still be attacking raiders, oxygen concerns, meteors, and other hazards that could potentially increase the survival aspects as well.

Spacebase DF-9 appears at this point to be a smaller project at Double Fine, with limited resources assigned to work on it. Their long term plans point to some very interesting ideas, but whether or not the project will self-sustain long enough to see these come to fruition remains to be seen. It’s available on Steam’s Early Access program for those interested in giving a try, but I’ve not played it myself as of yet.

Star Lords | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by Arkavi Studios
Star Lords
Arkavi Studios / Iceberg Interactive
Release Date: TBA (Now available on Early Access)

The indie game developers of Arkavi Studios bring us Star Lords, their take on building a space empire and fighting for supremacy in the galaxy. It’s a turn-based space 4X strategy game for the Windows PC where the focus is put on diplomacy and espionage mechanics to (hopefully) achieve a more intricate political layer. They’re currently in alpha stage and already selling pre-orders with instant access on Steam.

We have an older first impressions article of an also older pre-alpha version. Many things may already be different but it’s probably worth a quick check. Most probably there will be another preview coming up soon before the game releases and the review is produced, so be on the lookout for that too. I got a good vibe from this game. The turn-based space combat mechanic in particular seems to be shaping up quite nicely. It’s surely one 4X game to keep in mind this year.

Horizon | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by L3O Interactive
L3O Interactive / Iceberg Interactive
Release Date: TBA (Now available on Early Access)

L3O has come a long way with their dream to make their space 4X game turn into reality one day. It was one of the first games we covered on the site. Early screenshots I’ve seen date back from 2006. Development seems to have endured long dormant periods, but in 2012 they suddenly re-emerged with what seemed to be a new strength and determination to make it happen. And they seem to be very close to achieving that now. They reached alpha and entered in Early Access on Steam on July of last year and have recently announced to have entered beta stage, so all seems to indicate that they’re not too far from releasing.

What makes this game special is its focus on storyline elements with missions, like quests, which are quite an uncommon feature to be found in 4X games.There’s also an interesting event-dependent tech progression system, opposed to all techs known from the start. That’s also a nice touch. The initiative turn-based combat system is also refreshing and by the time I had a look at it, when the game was in alpha, I think it showed a lot of potential. Horizon is surely another space 4X game to look closely this year. It will be released for the Windows PC.

\Edit (Feb 19, 2014): Horizon was released on Feb 6, 2014. Here’s our review. Unfortunately, Horizon at release, and at the time of this review, proved to be an “overall unfinished, unpolished and very poorly balanced game”.

Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager: The Road to the Moon
Polar Motion / Slitherine / Matrix Games
Release Date: 2014 (Already available on Early Access)

The Road to the Moon will be the first episode of three planned for Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager, a space simulation game where, like in Buzz Aldrin’s Race into Space, you run a space agency by hiring astronauts, scheduling missions, doing research and assembling hardware. The game isn’t complete yet. This first episode shall cover the first 15 years of space flight. Episodes 2 and 3 will be available later as additional games, says Slitherine.

The Road to the Moon episode is currently in beta and is expected to release somewhere in 2014 for the PC, Mac, iPad and Android. In the meantime the game is already available for the PC under Slitherine’s early access program.

Star Ruler 2 | space 4X game by Blind Mind Studios
Star Ruler 2
Blind Mind Studios
Release Date: 2014

Star Ruler didn’t start well. Well, 4X games rarely do in any case, but in Star Ruler’s particular case it was really a lack luster release. However, Blind Mind Studios, a small indie studio, didn’t give up and managed to remedy the situation, and by the time the game hit version 1.1 the experience was completely different. It’s not the best space 4X game around but it’s surely a good one if you appreciate real-time, a huge 3D universe and a great ship design system.

Now, BMS is working on a sequel for Star Ruler. We don’t know much about Star Ruler 2 yet, but ship design seems to be a big focus, again. Diplomacy seems to be getting an overhaul (Star Ruler’s diplomacy system was quite “light”). Hopefully, the research system will also get an overhaul and made much more intuitive this time around. “High moddability” was also promised. Looks like the huge scale will continue, so as multiplayer. There haven’t been updates in a while but this probably only means that BMS is currently working hard on their game, which they say will be “released somewhere in 2014”.

StarCraft2: Legacy of the Void | Real-time sci-fi strategy game by Blizzard
StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void
Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: TBD

The third and last chapter of StarCraft2 doesn’t have a release date set yet but there’s a chance that StarCraft2’s Protoss campaign will still arrive this year, however with Blizzard you never know. So, after StarCraft2: Wings of Liberty (Human campaign) and StarCraft2: Heart of the Swarm (Zerg campaign), Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan will most probably return to finish the story with the Protoss now taking the central stage.

I was never a fan of the original StarCraft, mostly because of the real-time clickfest, but I played a fair deal of StarCraft2: Wings of Liberty for a review, and I can advance that, to my surprise, I enjoyed it a lot. The review didn’t happen (yet) but I still plan to release it at some point in time. A complete review after Legacy of the Void comes out seems sensible. Let’s see how things turn out.

Limit Theory
Limit Theory
Josh Parnell
Release Date: Mid 2014

Limit Theory, a game successfully Kickstarted in December 2012, is looking to launch itself towards release sometime in “mid 2014” for the PC. Limit Theory is described as a vast, procedurally-generated universe ready to be explored, exploited, and conquered. It may seem like an insurmountable task for a young solo developer and student, but developer Josh Parnell states he loves taking on this type of nearly impossible challenge. Whether his drive and love for Limit Theory will make it a success, time will tell, but if you’re a fan of space flight and trading simulations, Limit Theory is certainly one to watch.

If you’re interested in the game’s current progress, a video development update posted on the final day of 2013 shows off recent progress. New graphical effects, UI changes, and AI technology are showcased.

M.O.R.E. | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by IdeaLcenter
Release Date: 2014 (Pre-orders available)

In a time where Kickstarter was witnessing its boom, an international group of people decided to get together and develop a space 4X game that would pick up from Master of Orion 2 and “expand its gaming experience without complicating it”. And so it was that IdeaLcenter was formed. They went to Kickstarter and managed to raise more than $90,000 to turn that vision into a reality. The plan is bold and ambitious. 20 playable races, 3D galaxies, 3D space combat, ship design, multiplayer, cutscenes and much more.

Not much was heard from IdeaLcenter in the following year after Kickstarter but now they published their first post-Kickstarter video showing off their progress. We also recently got in contact with the lead designer who answered a few questions about the release plan, pre-orders and expected DLCs. They’re still in pre-alpha, so there’s still much work ahead of them. However, their current plan is to reach alpha in March/April, with beta in May/June and final release not before August 2014 for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Distant Worlds: 4th Expansion
Distant Worlds: Universe
CodeForce / Matrix Games / Slitherine
Release Date: Late Q1 2014

Distant Worlds is a space 4X game that matured a lot through each expansion released. It all started with a lackluster release in 2010, but after a host of patches and three expansions (Return of the Shakturi, Legends and then Shadows) the game’s quality and overall experience were raised to an incredible level. Complex, deep, alive, that’s what I think best defines this real-time space 4X strategy game. But above all, it offers an insane amount of replayability. There’s always something new to try in this game, and that’s why I recommend it any day to any space 4X fan. Distant Worlds: Legends and then Shadows is one of the games I’ve played the most in recent years. It’s also the most complex, replayable and fun space 4X game available today.

But, CodeForce and Matrix Games never stop and are now preparing to release their 4th expansion to Distant Worlds in late Q1 2014. This will be a modder-focused expansion, as Erik Rutins (Matrix Games’ Director of Product Development) told us on an interview last summer. As for content this is as much as we have at the moment:”We want it to be something that when the modders read the list, they will hopefully faint and enjoy. That’s always our goal, to really get people to look at the next expansion and go: “Holy cow! This is what I’ve been waiting for, I really want this!”. Work on Distant Worlds 2 should kick-off after this 4th expansion, but there could be even another expansion before major work starts on the sequel.

\Update (Jan 15th, 2014): Matrix Games confirmed a March release and said that the game’s modding capabilities will be extended significantly. They also confirmed that this 4th expansion will be a “wrap up” release of the entire Distant Worlds series in one package (with discounts for existing customers). There will also be a new storyline and new technologies to go along with it. Full update here.

Goldhawk Interactive
Release Date: TBA (Already available on Early Access)

Xenonauts is a veteran on this annual “titles you can’t miss” list rubric. This is their third entry. Is it this year? :) I certainly hope so. However, after so many beta attempts, a supposedly two-phased beta, that is taking quite a while, it’s hard to understand where the devs are at the moment. But, there’s a lot of recent activity on the forums with lots of release candidates and hotfixes being published. Testing seems to be very intense right now. So, hopefully this means that they’re getting close to the final release.

Anyway, the last time we tried Xenonauts, back in June 2013, when the game was made available on Steam’s Early Access, things were looking really nice and the game already offered an enjoyably and somewhat challenging experience. However, it certainly didn’t feel finished. Some art assets were still missing, the offered maps were not that interesting. Let’s say that the gameplay was already enjoyable but still quite far from an X-COM: UFO Defense type of experience. Xenonauts is being developed by indie studio Goldhawk Interactive and is already available on Early Access on Steam or DRM-free on the Humble store for the Windows PC.

Predestination | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by Brain and Nerd
Brain and Nerd
Release Date: March 2014

Kickstarted about a year ago, Predestination is Brian Drain’s vision for a space 4X game that could become a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2, or at least that seemed to be Brian’s goal when he started his adventure. Aware of Steve Barcia’s masterpiece flaws, Brian and the rest of the Brain and Nerd team, propose a solution to help reduce late-game micromanagement, which they call an “optional colony blueprint system” where all colonies using the same blueprint will produce the same buildings. Additional focus is also put on planetary development, with distinct colonizable areas. Both the strategic and tactical aspects will play in turns and there’s a 3D galaxy map.

By the end of 2013 they opened a second Kickstarter to hopefully expand the 3D ship designer feature. They’re currently in beta and apparently in the latest stages of testing. If all goes according to plan they plan to release on March 2014 for Windows PC. Check out our most recent interview with Brian for more.

Planetary Annihilation
Uber Entertainment
Release Date: Early 2014 (Already available on Early Access)

Planetary Annihilation, the upcoming RTS game from Uber Entertainment, was one of the most backed and funded Kickstarter projects in 2012. Touted as RTS on a massive interplanetary scale, and with a team whose pedigree included the likes of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, over 44,000 RTS fans pledged to make this game happen. If the game turned out to be anything less than a smash hit, it’s fair to say that thousands of people would be very disappointed.

While not officially released, Planetary Annihilation has been available for Kickstarter backers, and for purchasers on Steam Early Access for Windows, Mac and Linux, since as early as June 2013. Despite some initial controversy surrounding its pricing model, entire Youtube channels have already popped up around the game, and thousands of videos have been uploaded. Planetary Annihilation isn’t expected to officially release until early 2014, but it’s fair to say there are already many RTS fans enjoying what it has to offer.

     Subscribe RSS

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


  1. Gee says:

    Wot – no “No Man’s Sky”?

    • Kordanor says:

      Was just announced. Highly doubt that’s a game for 2014, especially after the setback they had.

      • Gee says:

        Agreed – hard to judge its launch date (esp given the flood) but here in the UK it’s been named as a “Most anticipated in 2014” by The Times, The Guardian, Games Magazine, Rock Paper Shotgun etc.

        So I’m “hopeful” for 2014!

        • Phil says:

          I’d highly doubt a release date in 2014, especially due to the flood where they lost a lot. I believe they had the code backed up but it’s likely going to set them back some.

  2. GoTo2k says:

    I kinda miss Space Engineers in that list. Also Pulsar: Lost Colony might be worth a look.

    • Markypoo says:

      Why is it called pulsar? I read nothing of a star dying, spinning and shooting a beam of electromagnetic radiation..

      Hmm. I want to make a space game, what should I call it? Two random space phenomenon!
      “Event horizon nebulae”
      The game will be about a ship crash…

      • Snow says:

        Dues ex means ex god, it’s about a man…
        Limit theory has nothing to do with limits or theories…
        Star drive has nothing to do with mobile stars.
        Elite: dangerous has nothing to do with dangerous elites.

        • Chuki792 says:

          Deus Ex actually means “God From…”, putting my dramatical arts studies hat on, its from the Greek term “Deus Ex Machina” which means “God from the Machine” or “God from the Hand” (Hand referring to hand operated machinery/pulleys used on stage). It describes a plot element in Greek tragedies that asserts itself at the end of a story but was not introduced prior… i.e. hero saves damsel but can’t escape the underworld and lo, here comes zeus to save the day! or it turns out the hero is half god and something devine and saves the day. (sorry for the history lesson :-p)

        • Snow says:

          That one guy at EB Games lied to me!

        • Adam says:

          God *in* the machine, Hand *of* God
          Deus ex: Of God(s)
          It’s a bit tricky to tranlsate ancient greek into modern english since it’s such a context-reliant language.

        • Slevan says:

          Actually Limit Theory is about Limit Theory, if you watch his initial development video for the kickstarter he explains how the Limit Theory is what inspired the entire game, as it is procedurally generated and so forth. He explains it quite well but it’s very philosophical :).

          Food for thought.

        • Birkenhead says:

          The interpretation above is correct, except that Deus is Latin not Greek. Theos is God is Greek

      • Njordin says:

        Event Horizon: Nebulae?
        sounds interesting!
        i´d definitely buy this game.

  3. Atts says:

    Awesome list, though I dunno if I’d agree with AOW3, reviving the game as a solely multiplayer game is pretty sad given the awesome lore and campgains from the first three, particularly AOW2:Wizards Throne.

    • BTAxis says:

      Er, AOW3 isn’t multiplayer-only. The website states that it will have campaigns with branching storylines.

      • Atts says:

        Hmm, my bad, perhaps i’m thinking of Imperium Galactica 3? Not Nexus, the actual IG3 or maybe I misread somewhere, thanks for the clarification!

  4. SJ says:

    Remember also about Race To Mars ;)

  5. SpaceEnthusiast says:

    It’s just a little upsetting Stardrive is already getting a sequel. If the first game isn’t patched to a respectable state, why should we buy the second one?

    • Robert says:

      Don’t. I will buy it so you don’t have to.

    • Chuki792 says:


      Agreed. The new game is going to have to have more bells and whistle’s than Chitty-Bang-Bang for me to forget the first offering (though i’ll take a 8+ review from Adam too)

    • Jeff P says:

      I keep checking the Stardrive and Steam forums every time there is a sale to see if it would be worth my time and money to get this title. It appears it still has the crash/bug/slowdown problems that have plagued the title since beta, and I’ve passed on it. As such, I don’t have much confidence that Stardrive II will earn my gaming dollars in 2014 (or 2015).

  6. Evil Azrael says:

    Hihi, quite a couple of duplicates from the last you cannot miss list ;)
    How about a short retrospective summary

  7. Robert says:

    This looks absolutely incredible. So much awesomeness to look forward to.

  8. Ermdog says:

    Wow, every one sounds good except maybe 2 or 3. I’m going to have to upgrade my PC if I want to run some of these games, such as Star Citizen. I’ve haven’t played many games like that, but that looks above and beyond anything I’ve seen. I’m really looking forward to Horizon, Star Lords, M.O.R.E, GalCiv3 and Warlock 2. I’ve been playing both Horizon and Star Lords Alpha/Betas and really look forward to them both. Star Lords is still early Alpha but they have really good concepts and a lot of things that resemble MoO2. I just hope they take their time and make it a great game.

  9. Jordn says:

    No console games?

    Destiny says “hello!”
    Infamous Second Son
    Planetside 2
    Deep Down
    Project Spark
    Elder Scrolls Online
    Dragon Age Inquisition
    Sunset Overdrive
    The Witcher 3

    There are also games like WatchDogs and the Division which my not be sufficiently sci fi for you or Thief which might not be fantasy enough.

    • Ermdog says:

      I don’t know if you knew, but this site is mostly about sci-fi/fantasy strategy games, mainly 4x ones. These types of games don’t work on console, so naturally console games aren’t covered, unless you are XCOM which is also on PC. The games you have listed are mostly all Action/FPS games, even though they are sci-fi related, they are not the same genre. I actually look forward to some of those games, but they are in a different category of games.

      • Jordn says:

        Nope, I didn’t know. When you’re linked to the Sci Fi section of Reddit with a tile of “A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Games You Can’t Miss in 2014” there isn’t anything there that says “sorry, this site only talks about strategy games.”

        You might try changing the title to avoid confusion:

        “A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Strategy Games You Can’t Miss in 2014”

        “Top Sci Fi RTS/TBS Games for 2014”

        Something like that. Otherwise it seems silly to include more obscure kickstarters and miss things like Wasteland 2.

        OTOH, I don’t see how Star Citizen and Elite necessarily fit that category either.

        • Ermdog says:

          Like I said, this site is “mostly’ about strategy/4x games. There are some space simulators covered as well, just not many. I guess you would have to follow the site to really know what they cover, instead you saw a title on reddit, which is fine. Just scroll through the reviews or previews and you will see what games we are interested in. I just presumed many knew what this site was about. No hard feelings :)

        • Atts says:

          The site tends to focus mostly on Sci-fi and Fantasy off the beaten track styled games, if you wanted to hear about those higher tier and usually much worse games, your far better to look at IGN or Gamespot. The idea of SpaceSector is to cover games they don’t in the specific fields listed above, or at least, thats how i interperit the website.

    • SQW says:

      Okay okay, who let the console kiddie in on the forum! =)

      FYI, spaceship sims are about as close to FPS as you can get on this site.

      • Jordn says:

        Actually, I’ve been gaming for close to 40 years now and I’m pretty much platform agnostic.

        When you end up being linked to the big scary internet with a title like “A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Games You Can’t Miss in 2014” then you’re going to have a bad day if you don’t include the most obvious can’t miss titles.

        The internet doesn’t know or care what this sites intended purpose is, all it can see is the headline and content.

        p.s. – All the major gaming sites have picked a console exclusive as game of the year. You might want to consider broadening your horizons a bit.


        • Daetrax says:

          Here’s the thing though, pleb, “Major gaming sites” are prostitutes. They pick a console game, because there are more people that play those. Does not make it a better game.

        • csebal says:

          I should politely point you to the top of the page, right under the title, where it says:
          “your source for space and sci-fi strategy games”

          While I do not expect people to read every article on a site they visit, reading the title of the site, especially when seeing it for the first time might be prudent.. :) Some food for thought.

      • SQW says:

        It’s like telling RPS and PC Gamer they are loosing out on the console page views and should broaden their appeal.

        No one comes to a site dedicated to space 4x for AAA shooter news – IGN etc already got that covered. If you go through all the previous blog posts on this site, you should have a good idea why your list doesn’t fit here.

        • Jordn says:

          I’m not going through all your blog post. I really don’t care about your blog (or anyone’s blog for that matter)

          Your article got linked out to an aggregate site using the headline:

          “A List of Space/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Games You Can’t Miss in 2014”

          When you write a headline you have to take into account the fact that you will be linked out to other aggregate sites like Reddit. You aren’t writing for a tiny audience anymore, you have the potential to reach many more than that. Not all of them are going to know who you are and what you do.

        • Happy Corner says:

          “I’m not going through all your blog post. I really don’t care about your blog (or anyone’s blog for that matter)”

          You can’t be bothered to read a site, even long enough to know what it’s about, but you’re cool with vomiting a bunch of links on it anyway?

          Okay, you’re just a spambot. Got it.

      • Chuki792 says:

        Aww leave the guy alone, he made a mistake. Its allowed. Lets not act like “Console Kiddies” ourselves eh?

        • SpaceEnthusiast says:

          Made A mistake? By his own admittance, he felt his time was important enough to not bother reading a three minute article(or read people’s opinions), but not important enough to immediately drop his own like it was worth something.

          From there, he complained this site isn’t like console gaming sites with paid reviews. People from reddit and other dens of iniquity might see this site and be upset by such.

          Don’t forget the internet invocation. When he says the “internet” doesn’t know or care about the difference; he means himself. At least it wasn’t a complete waste, he left some parting advice: if you can’t conform, your “horizons” need broadening. A euphemism if I ever heard one.

        • Chuki792 says:

          I do get it, and I fully agree in principle, but Ermdog pretty much said all that needed to be said. And Internet or no, there is no reason for Daetrax’s “Pleb” comment; name-calling is just not on in my opinion, just ask this guy;


          While ‘Pleb’ (derived from Plebian) was a common term 2000 years ago, it carries with it a very different connotation nowadays, at least here in the UK…

  10. DoucheDan says:

    Factorio? After finding this game my life is now complete…

    • RandomBlue says:

      Thanks for mentioning that game. Just checked it out with a friend and we both ended up buying the alpha. The demo was quite fun.

  11. Martok says:

    Yep, a lot of gaming goodness is coming our way this year! I’m already a Kickstarter/Steam-early-access backer on a bunch of these (Horizon, Limit Theory, MORE, Predestination, World of Magic), and am cautiously optimistic about most of them.

    However, there’s a lot of other titles mentioned that I’m looking forward to as well. Age of Wonders 3 and StarDrive Unity are probably tops on that list, but Star Lords, Warlock 2, and the fourth Distant Worlds expansion are all on my “will probably get unless it completely sucks” list as well.

    Adam, another PC title you may want to keep an eye on (and that I believe is still slated to be released this year) is Sovereignty: Crown of Kings from Matrix/Slitherine. ( Between this game, AoW3, Warlock 2, and World of Magic, 2014 could turn out to be a banner year for fantasy strategy games. :)

    • Adam Solo says:

      On Sovereignty: Crown of Kings, I’ll give it a check and then see what I can do. No promises though :)

      • Martok says:

        No worries, Adam. I wasn’t expecting you to write an article on it, I just wanted to bring it to your attention since several other fantasy strategy titles have been mentioned as well. :)

    • Keith Turner says:

      Hi Mikey, thanks for the contribution. Unfortunately, we don’t cover horror exploration or even FPS games on the site so I don’t feel that title would be a good fit.

      We have a limited staff and in order to best serve our readers, we almost always choose titles that fit either the strategy or simulation genre. Those are the types of games we are most qualified to speak about from a position of experience and knowledge, and are also the games we feel most confident about reviewing when they release.


      • eleazar says:

        It may be hard to define exactly what you cover here, but i think the niche is a real one.

        It says on the top “Your source for Space/Sci-Fi Strategy Games” and i image appended after that: “And other assorted games likely to be of interest to those who are primarily fans of Sci-fi Strategy.” I consider myself one of those people, and their coverage works for me.

  12. SQW says:

    Adam, not sure when it’s scheduled to ship but Starsector (previously known as Starfarer) is a good indie title to include in any space game lists.

    • Keith Turner says:

      Starsector is a great suggestion and fits in perfectly with our coverage areas. The only thing is, we actually had Starsector(aka Starfarer) on our list on our 2012 list. We discussed and decided to leave Starsector off the list this year as we felt it unlikely it would “release” this year.

      I don’t think either Adam or I feel very confident it will release in 2014. Speaking for myself, as someone who has owned the game for over 2 years now, I don’t think this is possible unless the pace of development really picks up. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen progress over the years, but in my opinion the game still has a long way to go when it comes to the campaign/sandbox gameplay.

      I enjoy its combat system quite a bit and really hope we see this release within the next two years as I love the idea behind the game.

    • SQW says:

      Yeah, the game’s combat section’s been in development for 2 years now. I hate to think how long the exploration and economy part would take if that aspect of the game is to be as polished as the combat portion is right now.

    • Adam Solo says:

      What Keith said. Starsector is inside our coverage area but we were a bit stricter on the release dates this time around. Don’t worry, when it happens we’ll definitely write about it here.

  13. Lens Flares Suck says:

    I’ve been playing ‘Xenonauts’ lately and it is a spectacularly successful update of classic X-com gameplay.

    Of course there’s a new version out every two days, which is how pre-release things work. I suspect they’ll have a release version in the next month, or two at the most.

    If you loved the original X-Com you owe it to yourself to check this out. It is the best ‘new’ X-com I’ve ever seen.

    • Mark says:

      Yeah after the dumbed down mess that XcomEU turned out to be, I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for Xenonauts to be a worthy sequel to the original.

  14. trix62 says:

    Age of Wonders 3 is my main one on this list. Galactic Civilizations 3 would be second if it wasn’t only 64 bit systems. I also always wanted a “true warhammer game”. Don’t know much about that one..did not really like panzer corps. I’ll be watching most of the other games.

    • BTJ says:

      I think 64bit only is great. I’ve been waiting for this for years. Why do you not like it, if I may ask?

      • trix62 says:

        Because I cannot afford a new system right now.

        • BTJ says:

          Well that is certainly a reason. :-)
          It sounded a bit like you had other reservations vs 64 bit.
          I hope you can afford a new system when you want it. For GalCiv3, a 800$ system with Win7 should be sufficient.



        • Chuki792 says:

          Do you need a whole new system? Win7 64-bit must be on deal by now, esp with Win 8 bieing on release (i hear its pretty crap but dont quote me on that), and AFAIK, the system requirements aren’t hugely different and should actually make better use of your existing harware, particularly the RAM

        • Markypoo says:

          He will need a 64-bit processor not just the operating system..

  15. Axiom says:

    Adam you forgot about The Last Federation by Arcen Games (makers of AI War : Fleet Command).

    • Adam Solo says:

      It’s certainly a game to keep in mind. Seems quite unique judging by the game’s description. A mix of genres: simulation, strategy, tactics. In real-time.

  16. hakkarin says:

    I am very glad about the StarDrive sequel. I think the game will work MUCH better as a turn based Total War style game rather then as the real time game that the current one is. It will allow for more in-depth empire management and more fun combat, since you won’t have to do both at the same time.

    • RandomBlue says:

      I’m looking forward to that as well. I really liked StarDrive in beta but I much prefer turn-based 4X games to real-time. I think the Unity engine will also make it a lot easier for him to do what he wants to do with the game. The engine he was using was more of a graphics/lighting engine than a full-fledged game engine so he had to a lot of stuff from the ground up.

  17. paolot says:

    When Homeworld: Shipbreakers and the HD remakes of the Homeworld games are they thought to be released?

  18. csebal says:

    Now let’s see: some interesting titles on that list, most of them fall into the MEH category. That is: will keep an eye on them, buy them when they are on sale, IF they turn out to be any good.

    A few that stand out:
    AoW3 – A long abandoned title in a highly neglected genre finally gets a sequel. About time is all I can say.

    Elite – A disgrace to the memory of the original game, from what I have seen so far.

    DF clones – if just one of those gets anywhere, I will be happy.. I still would not bet on it actually happening.

    StarDrive Unity – Will buy when its on sale. SD was quite shallow once you got bored of the novelty ship design, so I’m not particularly interested in shelling out more money on a sequel.

    Space Program Manager – While I realize its a manager game and not a simulation, I still can only say this: KSP all the way.

    Star Ruler 2 – Original was half decent, sequel might be interesting, but I am still pissed at the developers for leaving the original in the state it was left in.

    DW 4th exp – There might be more than one way to skin a cat, but thats of no significance, if the cat has no skin left. The last expansion of DW was quite lackluster in my opinion and I just do not see how a further expansion can improve on that.

    Xenonauts – I approve of this game.

    Planetary Annihilation – Right now, supcom or TA are better in my opinion. Will see how the final game will compare to its predecessors.

    • Happy Corner says:

      As for Distant Worlds, I think the expansion could add a lot if it’s as modding-focused as they say – and the DW community takes advantage of that.

      I played the everliving shit out of Civilization 4 back in the day, and part of that was because of all the awesome mods that people made. The Fall From Heaven, Planetfall, and Dune Wars mods practically made it a whole new game. There are tons of other series that gained a lot from mods, too. Fallout 3/New Vegas, Elder Scrolls, Space Empires, Silent Hunter…

      I just hope the Distant Worlds fanbase is up to it. I remember there were people making space-themed mods for Civ 4 too (Star Trek and Babylon 5 mods at the least), but I don’t know if those projects ever amounted to anything.

    • Mark says:

      Completely agree with your feelings on AoW3 Xenonauts and DW 4th exp. Not so sure about Elite, still keeping my fingers crossed for that one…

  19. SQW says:

    I wish Kerberos would take a break from all their Rogue-likes and get back to their SOTS franchise.

    The wasted potential of the 2nd installment was soul crushing. =(

    • Mark says:

      Frankly I’m not sure that Kerb are up to it. SOTS II incorporated a lot of spectacularly bad design decisions that everyone except the devs saw. Even now they still see their game as a flawless masterpiece if only you take the time to “get it”.

      Blinkered thinking seems to be Kerb’s trademark. As long as they maintain the same attitude, any sequel is bound to suffer the same dismal fate as SOTS II.

      • Happy Corner says:

        I have to concur with everything you wrote.

        Sword of the Stars: The Pit actually wasn’t bad, as commercial roguelikes go. The vanilla game was bland, but things livened up a little with the expansions, and now it’s a respectable entry in the genre, IMO.

        I wouldn’t cry in my beer if Kerberos just made roguelikes and never attempted another 4X game. Not that The Pit is THAT good, but better for them to stick to something they still know how to do.

  20. Harry says:

    I hope this year will be better than last year.

    Legends of Pegasus, star drive, all games dissapointed last year.

    Sots2 patches. All games have lower score than the old MoO2..

    Why does nobody just redo MoO2 and add some good AI to it.. And more random events. This would be a nice game.

    Adam start a Kickstarter Projekt..

  21. Chuki792 says:

    StarDrive Unity: GTFO, seriously just GTFO! I’ll play that only when its on sale for peanuts or if the game comes with compensation for being an early backer of the original. (This more than any other game made me wary of pre-orders – a view recently reinforced by X:Stillbirth)

    Star Ruler 2. No thanks! I really dont get all the love for the original’s ship designer. IMO it was convoluted and confusing, and not explained very well. ANd who’s idea was it to allow the stupid scale that you/the AI could design? I mean, a ship the size of a planet, even some bigger than the galactic core?? Plus no further support after the last big patch, how many years ago now?? Ugh!!

    Horizon; I was stoked for this game at first, but after playing other early access games, some listed here, I have to say i’m no longer expecting much from it. Althouh to be fair, most of my criticism is based on the visuals and combat. I feel they’d be better if battles were instanced rather than taking place on the main map, and they need to update the ship models; they’re very low-res, and also allow you to zoom in a bit (a lot!?) more; it just looks so unpolished.

    Star Lords; My current favourite, even at this early stage. I’ve even left the game alone after just 7-hrs so as not to ruin the experience on release (I’ve reported a few bugs and crashes so I’ve done my tester duty!). The game has a lot in it already and there should be a new build deploying any day now which I’m eagerly anticipating testing.

    GalCiv 3; All i can say is “gimme, gimme, gimme, NOOOWW!”

    Predestination: Looks amazing, sounds amazing, hoping it will be as this one seems to be shaping up quite nicely.

    M.O.R.E. This one seems ambitious for a 2014 release but if it’s even half of what it promises, I’ll definitely take a bite outta that cake!

  22. ashbery76 says:

    What Stardrive taught us is you cannot presume free features or expansions packs are going made even when the developer talks about future plans.The game was abandoned.The issue with both Horizons and Starlords is they look good but need a lot more work and when I hear them saying release is upcoming I roll my eyes.I have both.

    You can only really trust higher budget games like AOW3 and GC3,EndlessLegend to be a full game experience.

    All the indie 4x’s are a big risk at release.

    • Chuki792 says:

      Oh I agree, theres a tonne of work still to do on Horizon and Star Lords both. I didn’t notice much difference in Horizon’s shift from Alpha to Beta with the exception that you can now customise your faction and select an alien one. However, I’ve not seen any firm or even suggested release dates on those so I’d be surprised if either is released before Q3 of this year (Though i’m hoping they’ll surprise us all). Saying that, I have no idea how far along they are in development since we have no idea how complete the next build is going to be. Arkavi studios did mention on their Steam forum that there is a new build coming out early this week (hopefully today!) so i’ll wait for that before making further comment on their title.

      In principle, i agree with your assertion that indie devs are riskier, however some of the most calamitous releases in the past couple of years have been from dev’s we should have been able to trust… They know who they are! (it’s just a shame Steam doesn’t)

      • ashbery76 says:

        The problem with both games is development seems very slow.The new Starlords build on steam was not that different to the one I played 4 months before.

        MORE is also very dubious.I see art and UI mock ups but no game at all.

        • Martok says:

          MORE is the one I’m most worried about as well. Their Kickstarter video really raised expectations, especially among those of us who backed the project. While of course I’d like to believe them, I’m still concerned their reach may have exceeded their grasp.

  23. Aivi says:

    I have to mention Novus AEterno MMORTS which is missing. I’m looking forward to it .. the combat tactics seems pretty cool – here is the kickstarter page

  24. Smeghead says:

    Perhaps Adam sees something I don’t – but I don’t see how Josh’s Limit Theory is anywhere near ready for release. He’s got some of the graphics done, but I see no evidence of core mechanics or an actual GAME taking form. Release due mid-2014? Yup, right. Sure. Finish coding, test, alpha and beta – all in the next 4-5 months.

    I can’t see this one being released – or at least in a state that’s competitive on the market (and only measured against low-budget releases from zero-experience indies).

    Hey, we’ll see. I’ll put a wager on it, Adam, if you’re willing.

  25. JohnR says:

    My take on your list:

    GalCiv3 – I thought GalCivs 1 and 2 were just kind of ok. Like all Stardock games, good but not great. They had their moments, but failed to engage me the way Distant Worlds did. Will definitely wait for full release and reviews on this one.

    Age of Wonders 3 – Definitely one of my most anticipated games this year. AoW2 is now about a decade old and still better than newer fantasy 4X titles like Warlock and Fallen Enchantress. With AoW3 I fully expect Triumph studios to retain the best fantasy 4X crown. On a related note, you guys have a few too many fantasy games on this list. Maybe you should change your name to Space/Fantasy sector??? ;)

    Star Citizen – I’ve been gaming since the late 90’s and never have I seen so much hype and fanboyism surrounding a game. I think one person said it very well in his article entitled ‘The Cult of Star Citizen’. Anything with this much hype is bound not to live up to the lofty expectations. Further, if you go to the Roberts Space Industries site you find it’s mostly about selling rather pricey ships. If that’s not pay-to-win, please tell me what is? Finally, I’m not sure what the big whoop is about a heavily instanced space sim. BTW, I thought mmo’s were not in scope for you guys?

    Elite: Dangerous – This one sounds a lot like Star Citizen without the hype machine. Sorry, I’ve never been a space sim fan. In fact I dislike first person shooters in general.

    Warlock 2 – This one doesn’t seem like a big step up from the original game, and in any event I’m saving my bread for AoW3.

    Stardrive Unity – The first Stardrive should be a poster child for the risks and pitfalls of crowdfunding. Much was promised in the original game’s Kickstarter campaign, but much less was delivered. I think SpaceSector was in bed a bit too much with ZeroSum, which prevented SS from seeing the game for the disappointing mess it was. That said, I’m definitely passing on this second game. Anyway, I think the original StarDrive proved that Kickstarter/crowdfunding is not the panacea everyone at SS seems to think it is.

    Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void – Starcraft 2 was my single biggest gaming disappointment ever. Gameplay marginally improved from the original combined with a laughingly bad and juvenile story that should make any 12 year old cringe with embarrassment. An initially great game series sacrificed on the alter of e-sports and the rabid Korean obsession with the game.

    Distant Worlds Universe – One of the greatest 4X space strategy games ever, but I really think Matrix is long overdue to move on to DW2. Also, they really do need to get away from that terrible pricing model.

    Xenonauts – This one looks a bit primitive, but seems a lot like my beloved UFO: Afterlight, so I’m willing to give it a chance. Will wait for official release and reviews though. As an aside, I think early access is another very bad trend in gaming. It basically allows the developer to do without a QA staff, and instead pass this function on the customer who must now pay for the privilege of QA’ing the game. What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Adam Solo says:

      We aren’t fundamentalists here John ;) So, the occasional MMO gets in, the occasional non-strategy also gets in. If it’s space, sci-fi or fantasy, chances are we’ll look into it, but only the strategy ones get prime time, as you know :)

      About SpaceSector being in bed with ZeroSum. Well, Zero is a nice guy, and I had a lot of fun interviewing Daniel for the StarDrive coverage. But our relationship stopped there :D Seriously, the game did have a lot of coverage, as all space 4Xs tend to here. It was previewed, previewed again and then reviewed. We did our best and then moved along.

      On Kickstarter, I know you hate it with a passion, but saying that everyone here thinks KS is the solution for all problems in game development is clearly an overstatement. My personal opinion is that the KS concept is great and I’m glad it exists for a multitude of reasons. But that’s not the same as saying that the system hasn’t flaws. Oh, surely it has. Lots of them. My hope is that with time, the crowdfunding system will evolve like everything else. But, in theory, I suspect you also agree with the KS idea, or am I wrong?

      You know, I understand what you say about StarCraft2, because I also hated it with a passion (StarCraft1 at least). But you know what, to my surprise I enjoyed my time with StarCraft2: Wings of Liberty. Yes, I’m not mad, I did enjoyed it. Not in a “must play again soon” kind of way, but it wasn’t a bad experience. I agree that the story is juvenile, but it’s interesting enough for a change of scenery.

      I agree with you on Early Access. Something very strange is at work here. As you say, a big portion of game development (QA, testing and balancing) is being transferred to post-release, or at least to after a game has sold considerable copies, which in some cases begs the obvious question: Why finish the game at all? Personally I think EA is a bad system as it’s implemented now, in Steam at least. An early access game shouldn’t be sold basically in the same way a released game is (same store, same mechanisms). EA games should obey to specific rules, like what’s done, what’s missing, an expected release date (or at least an approximation) and have a clear indication that the game isn’t finished yet. This, in my opinion, is not always the case. But, more on this for another day.

      • Happy Corner says:

        That’s kind of shocking to hear YOU say that you hated Starcraft… I thought I was the only one. Actually, “hated” is too strong a word. More like, I tried to play it, couldn’t see what the big deal was, and got bored. RTS games were never my thing anyway.

        I also agree that there’s too many EA games in the Steam store these days. A lot of designers are too lazy or greedy to use that approach the way it was really meant to. Now there’s too much junk when you’re browsing. There’s not even a way to filter out the EA games.

        • Adam Solo says:

          The thing is, I love RTS games, at least the older ones like Dune 2, Warcraft, Red Alert, Age of Empires, Homeworld, Company of Heroes. Those kinds of RTS with reasonable pacings.

          But, like you, I also tried StarCraft, couldn’t see what the big deal was and also got bored quickly. But, my experience went even further than that. I didn’t like it, at all. It’s the clickfest thing.

          However, I understand why so many people love it. The asymmetrical races, the balancing, the setting, and the highly competitive side. I also love the setting, I like the races and I also like to have asymmetry in the games I play, but I just couldn’t get over the pacing and the clickfest.

      • Smeghead says:

        Jim Sterling has a concise summary of what’s wrong with Early Access…. just FYI:

  26. whocares says:

    GALAXIAL can make it for 2014 also:

  27. MrStimpson says:

    SPAZ 2! I doubt it will be released in 2014, but who knows :)

  28. Gary says:

    Horizon was released on Steam on Feb 6, 2014. Will Space Sector be doing a review soon? I don’t buy any new strategy games without reading your review, first :)

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, we’re on it. I played a fair bit of the beta and I’m currently playing the release version. Hopefully the review will be up in the next couple of weeks.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Have you checked the reviews and comments on Steam? They are quite favorable.

      • Ermdog says:

        Most of the comments on Steam are negative from my viewing. I spent about 50 hours on this game, but I have just uninstalled it. It’s just a really sloppy game with a poor interface, poor combat, and poor colony management. Patches will not be able to save this game. I was really hoping this game was going to turn out good. Well there is always Star Lords, GalCiv3, and Warlock 2 to look forward to.

        • Chuki792 says:

          Its not a bad game, but I’d certainly not say it was good or worth the current Steam price (£20.89/$34.27 w/10% off) considering what else is coming out in the next few months. The graphics look dated as they have since early access, even if you take into account its homage to MOO2. The combat i find middling at best – they have added ‘strike force’ lock option which makes all ships move together at the same speed but since you cant select multiple ships i dont see how this is supposed to work… unless i’m missing something.
          The colony management i also thought would have changed after the feedback given by many players, but its still very light and planets dont feel very different from each other.
          I’ve only played a few hours of the release version but I’m not getting the urge to fire it up over the alpha version of Star Lords, which i prefer a lot more, even at this early stage. I will give it another chance though, now that the elder scrolls beta is over!

        • Ermdog says:

          My thoughts the same Chuki, I think Star Lords in it’s current state is better than Horizon.

          I give them credit for trying something different, but it didn’t quite work out. The Tactical combat is painful. There is no easy way to select your ships, the battlefield is too huge and becomes a mess trying to navigate around it. I sent 2 fleets to try and bomb an enemy planet, but trying to get there was hard enough. They started me in the tactical screen on the outer edge of the system. I had to make my way to the planet but met enemy resistance, which took a few turns just to engage. After wiping out the enemy forces another 5 ships appeared, and another 3, and then another 5. There was just a mass AI spamming of ships in which I don’t know how. I was ultimately destroyed because they kept sending waves of ships at me.

          Research I don’t like either. I don’t even mind the fact that you are researching everything at once (but don’t care for it), but how many things can I research that have the same bonus to that stat? Early game I had about 4 techs that all did the same thing, bonus to ground combat. The whole game is about upgrading everything, so what you already have, just gets better.

          I think the initial idea was good, but I think if they would of just made everything simple, it would be a better game. If they went off of what MoO2 did, in which you can only move system to system (not planet to planet), and made tactical in a smaller area, the game would be much more enjoyable.

          Overall I think they tried to make things unique and have a more “real” feel to it, but it didn’t quite work out.

      • Gary says:

        I have to agree more with Ermdog. From what I’ve read on the Steam forum, there are a lot of negative comments (although there are positive comments, too). People seem to either love Horizon or hate it.

        That’s why I’m waiting for the Space Sector review :)

  29. mike says:

    StarDrive Unity? Ok, so I do not need to listen to anything else you have to say. Why not recommend X:Rebirth while you are at it?

  30. Ermdog says:

    Some good games being released right around the corner like Age of Wonders III (mar 31st), and Warlock 2 (Apr 10th). Eventually I want both of them, but I want to limit myself to 1 for now, and its a hard choice to make.

    With all the previews and early access games that have came out, things are looking good for a lot of games. I eagerly await for the arrival of these games on this list

    • Keith Turner says:

      Indeed, April is going to be very busy month. I’ll be reviewing both Age of Wonders III and Warlock 2, in that order. I’d have preferred a bigger gap between their releases, but it is what it is. I’ll be spending a couple of weeks with each of them prior to writing my reviews.

      • Ermdog says:

        I eagerly await your reviews on those games then. I hope the games don’t disappoint.

      • SQW says:

        Check out the ‘Can’t Miss 2013’ list and you’ll most likely want to crawl into a hole and cry. =)

        Seriously, temper your optimism.

        • Ermdog says:

          Out of the games I really wanted on the ‘Can’t Miss 2013’ there has been 1 huge disappointment so far (Horizon). Stardrive wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Distant Worlds: Shadows and Pandora: First Contact were both good games.

          The other 5 games I want have not even been released yet and are still in production. Some of them I have Early Access to and are amazing so far. The ones on the list that did suck I had no desire to ever play.

          That being said, you shouldn’t care about my optimism on the games I want to play. You base your opinion only a select few games that have actually came out. So I say to you, quit being a Negative Nancy.

        • SQW says:

          Sorry I came out negative in my last post; you work in the marketing industry for a while and you become jaded to all the hype and press releases you see.

          I meant from the 2013 list, we got the flaming wrecks (horizon, X-rebirth, Aliens), the mixed successes (SC2, Pandora, SD) and the mehs (Star command); there just weren’t any that even got close to what the hype promised. Unfortunately, 2014 list is starting to feel a lot like more of the same.

        • Ermdog says:

          I get what you mean. I don’t want every game on this list, nor do I think they will all be winners. I have been fooled before in judgement but I tend to think I can pick out a winner when I see one.

          There are a lot of squeals on this list that have had prior success, so I tend to think those will do well. Games like GalCiv 3, Warlock 2, AOW 3, Distant Words , and I think Stardrive 2 will be an improvement. The others that look good I can only hope they turn out to be gems, yet I prepare for disappointment.

  31. Gavin says:

    Thank you for taking the time to compile this list of 4x games for 2014. This is just the info I needed.

  32. meprun says:

    pfff already bought:

    age of wonders 3===overrated!

    Horizon= tactical combat hurts my eyes!

    Lords of the black sub=lingo is more usable as a 4x game. But i still have hopes.

    star ruler 2= colony management hurts my eyes! nice universe. battles can save the game!

    xenonauts= for a graphical inferior game, the gameplay is fun. But if you think about the advancements made after 20 years xcom. almost nothing changed. the latter ufo series where better or the new xcom.

  33. Sammy says:

    There are another three I’d add: No Man’s Sky (even if it’s being released in 2015, it looks so good that it should be added), Routine, and Space Engineers.
    If you don’t know about Routine, it’s a space thriller with some action, fps and adventure elements. Seems great.

  34. jcjcjc says:

    What game if any is most like “Earth and Beond”? I loved that game.

    • Gary says:

      AFAIK, there really isn’t any current MMO like Earth & Beyond. I guess the closest that comes to it is Star Trek Online. There just aren’t any analogous games.

Related Articles:

Post category: Game Lists