In need of something to play over the Easter holidays? Humble Bundle has a range of sci-fi RTS, adventure and strategy games for bugger all that will keep you going.
It's officially called the Intergalactic Bundle, which is basically a neat way to wrap up a range of different adventures in space. It's not all strategy, with games like Rebel Galaxy and Space Hulk: Ascension, but those with a penchant for RTS and turn-based games will definitely get the most bang for buck out of the bundle.
First tier: Pay $US1 or more
- Space Hulk Ascension
- Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
- Galactic Civilizations 2: Ultimate Edition
Let's be clear: for the cost of $US1, this is a ridiculous offering. GalCiv 2 is still one of the best turn-based 4X games going around, although in the last few years there have been plenty of modern rivals to take its crown. Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity is a little weird to see - the Rebellion expansion only came out in 2012, and has a vastly better reception, a much bigger modding community and more support for modern computers - but it's still a solid RTS in its own right.
And even if you ignored the other two games, Space Hulk Ascension is a solid deal for $US1. It's no X-COM - few games are that good - but it's got three branching campaigns, plenty of mechanics to muck around with, and it offers a decent challenge to boot.
Second tier: Pay more than the average>
Average at the moment is $US6.60 ($8.81), which is well worth it for at least one of the games here.
- Rebel Galaxy
- Planetary Annihilation: TITANS
Planetary Annihilation's reputation got battered and bruised not longer after the game launched, and for a while it was being held up as a sort of a warning sign against Kickstarter games. TITANS was the game's standalone expansion that released in 2015, and it fared far, far better than the original Planetary Annihilation has. The player base is still pretty small, although its inclusion in the Humble Bundle might improve that to some degree.
The real crown jewel here is Rebel Galaxy, the guitar riffing space trucker that does a damn good job of blending Freelancer's mercantile traits into third-person naval combat in space. It can get a little repetitive with the amount of trading back and forth, but there's plenty of charm to keep you going. Any Cowboy Bebop fans will love the soundtrack as well. Highly recommended.
Third tier: Pay $US15 or more
- Offworld Trading Company
- Galactic Civilizations 3
The problem with this tier is that neither game is a real standout: Galactic Civilizations 3 has come a long way since its initial launch, but Stellaris is probably a more exhaustive and intriguing space 4X, if you're looking for more complex and layered systems to play with.
Offworld Trading Company is an interesting economic RTS, which isn't a phrase that gets dropped on this site too often. Luke wrote in his review that there really isn't anything quite like it, but then again there are few games that really try to wrap raw capitalism into the framework of a space RTS. I saw a commenter once describe it as StarCraft without the fighting, which is kind of apt since the game revolves around your ability to disrupt your competitors economy.
The game has an even smaller player base than Planetary Annihilation, however. That means most of your gametime will be spent in the campaign, which isn't great. Still, if you want to see something no other RTS has done, it's worth a look.
So that's the latest Humble Bundle; a real good mix, especially at the low end if you like tabletop games or you just want a cheap modern spin on Freelancer. See anything you like? Let us know in the comments!