Hands-On

Published on October 17th, 2013 | by Cory Wells, Contributor

Beta impressions from Horizon, a space strategy game

menuReal-time strategy games usually stick to PC-only releases. Some of the more popular titles like Command & Conquer have seen the occasional console release, RTS fans often prefer the traditional mouse and keyboard combo. Beyond that, the genre begins to get broken down into sub-categories.
The most common types of strategy games are war related, but city and space strategies still exist in the same universe. One of the more notable cult genres is the space-strategy style. Games like SINS of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilization and Faster than Light endure a specific following. These games are often high in detail, accompanied by a high amount of invested time to not only play, but also to understand.

Horizon is an indie, strategy title being developed by L30 Interactive. The game is currently in Beta, and this writer has had a chance to spend some time as a space traveler.

As of now, the early build is fairly limited in options. The game does start you out on Earth, as you will build scout ships and explore the Universe. The gameplay, however, is turn-based. You will set a destination or an action for your ships, and then take your turn.

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Besides scouting, players will upgrade certain aspects of your base to allow for better production. Your base can also focus on specific developmental operations, such as weapons, construction, or technology. New technologies can be discovered by probing enemy ships. At the same time, defenses are a necessity as hostile opponents will be encountered throughout exploration. Much like Civilization, you will encounter leaders of different species that you can either declare war on, or create a treaty with.

Much like real world politics, other leaders will have different enemies and allies with the possibility of enemy confrontations. Thus, choices are further inspected as you may run into the time old tale of being “guilty by association.” With that being said, the galaxy in Horizon is vast and allows for a lot of exploration.

galaxy map

Upon encountering other species, some will be neutral and others hostile. Some will offer side-missions, building rapport with that species. Of course, if you want to go to war, you have the choice to invade an entire planet. The battles are also turn-based. Your ships will take down enemy shields and can also board them. As a ship starts to take on damage, it will lose guns, which limits the amount of shots that can be fired in one turn. This once again plays into the decisiveness of the game acknowledging that defensive moves are just as important as offensive.

The beta has the option to design custom ships in-game. There is a template for each type of ship, rather it be a Scout, Transport, Cruiser, or a Mothership. Each ship fits in different classes based on size. Scouts are small and quick and are used for exploring. Transports are medium and are used for boarding soldiers to enemy ships. Cruisers and Motherships are large and loaded with weapons. These are best to lead fleets with. Grouping units creates the fleets as they all have to be within the same solar system. Certain abilities have to be implemented in the ships such as the ability to colonize or board other ships. Additional missiles or guns can be added as all the ships can be merged into a fleet.

 

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Early access for the beta is available through Steam. The pre-order is $24.99 as the developers have issued a statement about what to expect in beta. Check out the beta trailer below.

“Horizon is currently in a Beta stage with most of its features in-play but not yet finished. This means the game will continue to be improved and updated on a regular basis with bug fixes, balance tuning, AI improvements, as well as additional content.”

<jwplayer=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVr_IKXc8zU“>

System Requirements

      Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP SP3
    • Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHz
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB Video Card w/Pixel Shader 3.0 Support
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX 9.0c-compatible
      Recommended:
    • OS:Windows 7
    • Processor:Intel Core i3/i5/i7 or AMD equivalent
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:1 GB ATI 4800 series or better, 1 GB NVIDIA 9800 or better
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX 9.0c-compatible

Check back with GAMINGTruth for more information released in the future.

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