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Reviews

AI War breaks most of the genre’s rules. Which is precisely why it’s incredible… This out-of-the-blue one-man passion project is one of this year’s finest strategy games.
Alec Meer, PC Gamer UK, November 2009

It’s a balancing act, with your own strength on one side, and the AI’s opinion of you on the other. Piss it off before you’re ready to face it, and you’re going to get squashed. That moment, when you’re finally in a position to turn the tables, is about as glorious as gaming gets.
Phill Cameron, Eurogamer, February 2011

I think I’ve stumbled across this year’s Really New Thing. There’s a lot of 2009 to go, but I’ll be surprised if anyone else twists the RTS formula this dramatically and this effectively. And I’m hoping it’ll be the Next Big Thing, because it’s big, different, entirely unprecedented and an exciting way to play an RTS.
Tom Chick, Crispy Gamer, August 2009

Having played this title at two distinct points in its life cycle what really stands out is the incredible dedication of Arcen Games in keeping on top of how the game evolves and expands. Even though a great many features have been added and tweaked and refined, it was possible for me to drop back into AI War after more than a year away and not find it to be a confusing mish-mash of feature overload. The post-release support is, quite honestly, the best I’ve seen for any game.
Peter Parrish, IncGamers, February 2011

AI War is, quite simply, the best experience you could have with co-op or single-player real-time strategy in this or any year. It combines grand strategy with emergent AI to form an excellent game perfect for parties and multiplayer. It is easily worth double the price that the developer is selling it at, and anyone with any affinity or taste for strategy games should not miss it. It may be daunting at first, but an excellent tutorial and amazing gameplay mechanics alleviate this into a game that almost anyone can – and should – play.
James Murff, Big Download, November 2009

Also see us on MetaCritic, which named AI War as the 40th best-reviewed PC title of 2009 (AAA titles included). That’s a pretty big deal for a tiny company like us!

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I can’t recommend it any more highly to strategy fans and fans of space games in general. Innovative, absorbing and most importantly a hell of a lot of fun to play, AI War is the best indie game I’ve got my hands on so far in 2009.
Steve Blanch, Bytten

It’s a powerful experience when a game’s less frenetic moments are just as absorbing as its action, and AI War manages to engross from all available angles, challenging the player with strategically demanding scenarios and framing it all in brilliant 2D visuals that provide ample visual stimuli but maintain easy access to statistics. Expertly crafted resourcing and development tools prevent stagnation of the game’s simple conquest objective, and the sheer scope of ships, maps and difficulty levels — not to mention co-op — is likely to keep this gem afloat for some time. RTS fans rejoice.
Adam Hall, Boomtown

[AI War] manages to propel the RTS genre forward and beyond its usual trappings with an innovation that is so simple it’s amazing it hasn’t been done previously, while still managing to keep the spirit of those classic RTS games alive. Best of all, it does so with one key element in mind: co-op is not just a bullet point on a box, but a way of designing, creating, and playing games.
Jason Love, Co-Optimus

My views of indie games have forever been altered. When was the last time you played an indie game that contained the amount of content of several retail games? If you have ever played and enjoyed Sins of a Solar Empire but cried because you couldn’t play it on a laptop or that the scale just wasn’t grand enough for you, then you should pick up AI War — Fleet Command right now.
Derek Duncan, DarkZero

It’s a Sins of the Solar Empire meets Supreme Commander meets Simply Nothing Else, and I think a lot of you will find this very intriguing.
Kieron Gillen, Rock, Paper Shotgun

Combining deep strategic gameplay with AI that is worthy of the moniker, AI War: Fleet Command is a game deserving of a much larger audience. Indeed, it is a must-have title for anyone who takes games of interstellar conquest seriously.
Scott Tortorice, GameSquad

I love that AI War is so different from every other Real-Time strategy out these days … No other strategy game that I’ve played treats the player to battles of such epic proportions … AI War: Fleet Command is a game that combines equal portions of quality and quantity. Not only is it a great game, but it’s a great big game. The battles, micromanagement, exploration, and discovery, will keep strategy gamers coming back.
John, i-luv-games

“AI War is the type of game one never truly masters…Here, the concept of “casual” cowers in fear.”
Keram, Indie Game Reviewer

Sure, the genres are different, and the settings couldn’t be more varied, but here we go. A.I. War: Fleet Command is more addictive than Diablo II. … A.I. War: Fleet Command is the rare game that comes along out of nowhere and makes you pay attention. … It won’t break the bank, you don’t need a brand new gaming rig to enjoy it, you can lose yourself in the story, and you can keep playing it for hours. Fans of space battles should do themselves a favor and pick this game up as soon as possible.
A.J. Hess, Diehard GameFAN

One of the most methodical, challenging and unrestricted games I have ever played, AI War is the embodiment of nearly everything that can go right in an RTS game with few drawbacks… I’ve seen some good developer support, but Arcen Games really takes the cake… I hold Arcen Games up as the standard that all developers and publishers should be held to.
Sandy Warnstaff, Reclaim Your Game

For me, it’s a rare thing indeed for a game to move from total obscurity to a fixed place on my hard drive in the course of a handful of days… [AI War] is just brimming with innovative twists on the 4X-style RTS.
Tyler Sager, Gaming Nexus

I’ve come to test AI War – Fleet Command yesterday, and I got totally hooked to it. What started as a “ten minute test”, became a two hours first sip. This indie game is made of pure awesomesauce… it’s probably the best RTS Artificial Intelligence I’ve ever met. And that’s the best part, you can actually feel there’s a mind behind it.
Dungeoner.net Review

Since you specify the parameters of the Universe you play in, there are a lot of replay opportunities and the degrees of AI difficulty and play style will also further add to that, so you’re getting a lot of indie-fuelled strategic play for your $20. But you are also encouraged to become part of the AI War community, and participate in its future evolution and development. With DLC already being rolled out regularly, and a planned expansion in the works, you too could be a part of its emergence.
UK Gamer Review

On the surface, AI War seems to be a traditional real-time strategy, not unlike its similar space-based cousin, Sins of a Solar Empire, with large numbers of units across huge, mostly empty, maps. However, this assumption would largely be inaccurate. Instead, AI War is a rather novel blend of RTS, tower defense, grand strategy, and, strangely Warcraft III “creep crawling.”
Christopher Beck, The Wargamer Review

Challenging and multifaceted AI that increases in difficulty as you become more powerful, extremely large battles with lots of varied units that promote strategic variety, ample interface designed to handle a large scale.
James Allen, Out Of Eight PC Game Review AI War: Fleet Command provides the kind of gameplay depth rarely seen in today’s mainstream RTS offerings, and it does so with one dimension tied behind its back.
Derek Hidey, Cheat Code Central

[I]f you love realistic, complex and thorough space-based real time strategies, purchase this game right now as it is an aspiring space commander’s dream.
Tom Clark, AceGamez

I just love the fact that I had to think of new strategies to overcome some of the AI planets. Not many RTS game can do this since half the time, you just need to find a single magic formula that wins every single time. Not so in AI War. It just so exquisitely designed, clearly the work of a lengthy beta test and a dedicated developer behind it… the best strategy game experience of 2009 (and will continue with many DLC’s and an expansion in 2010).
Theshi, Malaysian Gamer

While the casual gamer will find the sheer volume of this game very intimidating, AIW:CF will undoubtedly have a strong draw to the RTS enthusiast. Because of its support for a vast number of units, and exploration of a seemingly endless planetary system, it will leave gamers playing the same map for hours on end.
Curtis Takaichi, Gamer Limit

If it hadn’t been brought to my attention through an email, I probably would have never heard of AI War: Fleet Command. This would be a shame because it turned out to be one of the more entertaining games I’ve played recently. It isn’t something for everyone, but fans of well-thought-out strategy games will want to download the game and give it a try.
Ricky Tucker, Game Vortex

Anyone who likes RTS games should try it, and anyone who considers themselves an RTS purist, especially if they have like-minded friends who will join them in saving humanity in this game, should consider AI War: Fleet Command to be an absolute must-have.
CaptainD, CaptainD’s PC Gaming Blog

I’ve played quite a few space RTS and empire builder type games in my time, but AI War feels like it’s on a different scale … one of the more epic tactical RTS games I think I’ve seen to date. If you’re an RTS nut this is not one to pass over!
Andy Yates, PC Games and Reviews

I am highlighting (not reviewing) this game mainly because it’s the first selling game, indie or otherwise, that is actually built on top of SlimDX. […] What is interesting about AI War is, well, the AI. Since I haven’t actually played the game yet, I can’t actually tell you how effective it is. But as a strictly technical piece of work, it’s really quite impressive.
Promit’s Ventspace Highlight

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A Grand Strategic 4X Tower Defense RTS

“You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win.” These are your orders.

Humanity has already fought its war against the machines — and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their attention outward, away from the galaxy, to alien threats or opportunities unknown.

This inattention is our only hope: a small resistance, too insignificant even to be noticed by the AI central command, has survived. These are the forces you will command. The AI subcommanders will fight you to the death when they see you — but your glimmer of opportunity comes from quietly subduing those subcommanders without alerting central processing to the danger until it’s too late.

You do have a few things going in your favor. Your ships are much faster. You have safe AI routines to automate defenses and mining outposts. You have production techniques that can churn out fully-outfitted unmanned fighters in seconds. There will never be more than a few thousand of your ships versus tens of thousands of theirs, but through careful strategy you must somehow reach and destroy the heavily-guarded AI cores.

Go forth into the galaxy, steal AI technology, recapture those planets you must in order to achieve your ends, and save what remains of humanity. But draw too much attention to yourself, and the full might of the AI overlords will come crashing down.

Expansions Available!
The Zenith Remnant (Expansion 1)

Children of Neinzul (Expansion 2)
Light of the Spire (Expansion 3)
Ancient Shadows (Expansion 4)
Vengeance of the Machine (Expansion 5)
Destroyer of Worlds (Expansion 6)

So What Exactly Is This Game?

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AI War is a one-of-a-kind strategy game that plays like an RTS but feels like a 4X. With tower defense and grand strategy bits, too. You’ll be wanting the demo (see the bottom of this page) to really know what we mean, there’s nothing else on the market remotely like this (as many reviewers have glowingly pointed out).

More specifically, this is a game that you can either play solo, or in 2-8 player co-op. You always play against a pair of AIs, and you can configure an enormous amount of things about the experience. The AI is very excellent, and also an entirely unique concept. The longer you play, the more the AI will impress you, which is kind of backwards from most strategy games, right? We named this “AI War” for a reason.

The only way to play is in procedurally-generated “campaigns.” There are quite literally billions of possibilities, and every campaign has a really different feel to it. They also last a good while: most between 7 to 13 hours, about the length of time it takes to play through an FPS campaign once. This means your decisions — victories and blunders alike — have really long-term, interesting consequences. Some players talk about feeling bittersweet when they conclude a long campaign. You can save and load at any time, even in multiplayer, so you could have one campaign going for weeks or months if you like.

In the past we’ve emphasized how many ships are in the game, and it’s true that there are often 30,000 and sometimes even 100,000+ ships in the galaxy at once. But scale really isn’t the focus of the game in the sense you might think from that: it’s about having a huge, living galaxy to make your way through, rather than about throwing as many ships as possible at your enemies. There are a number of checks in the mechanics to keep players from “blobbing” excessively, actually.

This is foremost a game about cleverly picking your battles, evaluating scout intel for weaknesses and opportunities, and executing really long-term plans despite the monkey wrenches the AI is sure to throw into the works. It’s about thinking on your feet and evaluating each situation, rather than memorizing stats.

Why Would I Want This Game?

  • Because you’ve had a hankering for a deep strategy game for a long time, but you hate the obtuse, slow mechanics of some of the older genre standbys.
  • Because you love RTS games or 4X games, but you hate it when they’re click-fests, involve a lot of sitting around and waiting, or just require you to memorize a bunch of spreadsheets to win.
  • Because you’ve been hearing about this cult classic of a game since May of 2009, and it’s recently been hugely updated and re-launched, and you finally want to give it a try.
  • Because you like kicking robots in the teeth.

Information For Strategy “Grognards”

You want to try this game — seriously. There’s a big expansive demo (see bottom of this page) that you can try for hours and hours for free, and you’ll know if you love it or not. We’ve got a real odd mix of fans, so if you’re on the fence you should still try it: we’ve got RTS addicts, 4X lovers, and folks in between. This game is extremely configurable, so you can set it up to have a slower, more thoughtful, 4X feel, or you can make everything happen blazing fast so that your reflexes are tested. By default it’s in the middle, where things move along at a good clip but fast-clicking isn’t rewarded.

Information For Strategy Newbies

It’s true that AI War is one of the deeper strategy games out there. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be your entry point into this awesome genre. There’s a big ol’ demo that you can spend as much time as you need in, and it includes some pretty awesome tutorials. We also have a really huge wiki full of information useful to both new and advanced players. It, like our forums for the game, is an indispensable resource. There’s no reason you can’t get into this game if you think you might have any interest in this sort of thing.

Want More To Read?

Want to read about all the features in extreme detail? You can of course try the demo of the game to make sure that you know what you’re getting, but the (more or less) full feature list is also now available on the AI War wiki. It’s a ridiculously long list, but that just goes to show how much is packed into this game.

Other popular resources for figuring out if this game is for you are Fast Facts: AI War in 2 pages or less, which is sort of a cliff notes explanation of the game, or the more exhaustive Like Chess, A Game Of AI War Has Three Abstract “Phases” explanation of the game, which should give you a good idea of whether you might enjoy this game as your next long-term hardcore strategy staple if you’re a grognard.

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The AI War Community Is An Active One

You might enjoy participating in our forums in general — it’s a really friendly community, and the players who participate there and make suggestions through our feature/bug tracker are able to really impact the game; just check out all the entries in our release notes that have attributions to various players!

Buy Direct From Arcen!

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Buy From Humble Widget!

System Requirements

COMPATIBLE OPERATING SYSTEMS
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Windows XP SP2 or later
Mac OSX Intel CPU and “Snow Leopard” 10.6 or later.
Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work

HARDWARE
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2 GB RAM
1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
600 MB Hard Disk Space
Graphics card must support 1024×1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024×768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer

Demo (Unlockable Into Full Game With CD Key)

This zip archive contains the OSX, Windows, and Linux versions all in one package.  More than 99% of the files are the same between all three operating systems, so this gives you the flexibility of having all three operating systems in one package without needing to download multiple large archives.  To play the demo, simply unzip the archive into the location of your choice.

To run the game:
1. Windows: Run AIWar.exe (this is 32bit)
2. OSX: Run AIWar.app (this will run as 32bit or 64bit, depending on your OS).
3. Linux: Run AIWarLinux.x86 if you are on a 32bit OS, or AIWarLinux.x86_64 if you are on a 64bit OS.

That’s it!  Note: if you have a CD key (NOT a steam key) for the game, then you can unlock this demo into the full version of the game.