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Space, the Final Frontier
Ever since man laid his eyes on the cosmos their has been a desire to explore space. Famous spaceships such as the USS Enterprise, Millennium Falcon and the Death-Star have all captured our imagination. Who doesn't want to fly an X-Wing and blow shit up?
Note that a great many of the games on the Shmups page also take place in space.
The List Edit
|Aces of the Galaxy||Artech Studios||2008||
After Burner Climax IN SPACE! The gameplay is very basic: shoot everything that moves. The game is a bit short, but shit blew up real good, so who cares? Give it a try. Available on Xbox Live Arcade.
Also: catchy menu music.
|Ad Astra||Steve Chapman||
Still not completed. Latest version (1.3c) released in 2010
Ad Astra is an indie space sim developed in Chapman's spare time. The game has many of the staples you would expect from a space sim, such as trading, bounty hunting, mining, and tons of systems to explore. Two of the neat features of Ad Astra are seamless transitions between outer space and planetary space and a fully customizable soundtrack.
|Allegiance||Microsoft Game Studios||2000||
An abandoned multiplayer game by MGS still supported by the community. Its gameplay is basically Tribes in space: 1 player is the RTS commander, his teammates control the ships and do the fighting. This decade-old game looks dated now, but newer textures are available. Protip: Mouse control is toggled by Num0, many newbies don't catch this.
|Armada Online||Mark Jordan||2005-present||The MMO version of Armada developed independently by its original creator. It's still in Alpha stage, but this hidden gem already has some creative ideas rarely seen in mainstream games. The community is still active and helpful.Armada-Online website|
|Black Prophecy||Reakktor Media||2011-present||
A space combat MMO that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone. It's Eve's aggressive cousin, with more combat and less other typical MMO stuff (It's still there, just enough to make your time invested). A bit of a hardware hog for a MMO, but the game looks fucking amazing. It's F2P, also. Currently Dead, don't bother
|Elite||Firebird||1984||This is the granddaddy of the space exploring and sandbox games. 8-bit computing with (wireframe) 3D rendering, and 3D combat. 170kb but over 2,000 unique worlds with their own commodities and fluff. If you want the Elite experience on modern computers, look for the open-source Oolite.|
|Endless Space||Amplitude Studios||2012||Turn based 4X in space.|
|EVE Online||CCP||2003-present||Fuckhuge galaxy, fuckhuge ships, and hostile players are way more of a problem than any NPCs. Pirates camping the jumpgates, parking cargo into unremarkable interplanetary space for safe keeping, make money by mining, trading, research, collecting bounties, privateering, smuggling, mercenary...|
|Digital Anvil||2003||A /v/ favorite. Basically it's a free-form space sim that plays much like a MMO when you get online. The story mode is worth a swing through, but online is where you stay (and play with /v/ bros). More on brolancing on the /v/lancer wiki.|
|Freespace 2||Volition, Inc.||1999||One of the staple games in the space genre.
Many mods for Freespace 2 are still widely used, mostly run on Freespace SCP.
|Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition||Stardock||2006-2008||Turn based 4X in space. The deepest of its kind. Has a very extensible Ship Builder. Shit's addictive.|
|Gratuitous Space Battles||Positech Games||2009||
An unique fleet management game. You build ships, deploy them on battles, give them directives, then sit back and enjoy the havoc, gain money to buy ship parts, rinse and repeat. Although you play mainly on the Ship Builder and Formation screen, the space battles steal the show.
|Homeworld||Relic Entertainment||1999||RTS with true 3D tactics, fuck yeah. Comes with an awesome story and a beautiful soundtrack. Part 2 of the series is decent as well, especially with Complex Mod applied.|
|Nexus: The Jupiter Incident||Mithis Entertainment||2004||A combat-centric RTS. Tough to get a solid control of, but past that, it will treat you with a deep gameplay and an interesting alien war story to go along. The graphic looks impressive even in 2011. You'll have a good time if the stealth missions don't make you ragequit.|
|Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity||Ironclad Games||2008-2010||GalCiv's RTS cousin. Not quite like Homeworld since it's more 4X oriented. Plays and looks good.|
|Space Engine||Vladimir Romanyuk||2011||A universe simulator is the only way to describe this game, as in it simulates the entire universe... TO SCALE. All in a 400mb free download. How? Procedural generation. A great experience to make you feel humble and small, and also a great way to make some wicked looking wallpapers.|
|Star Conflict||Star Gem Games||2012||Instance-based MMO space combat. This is basically one of the only choices for straightforward online space combat with little to no MMO hassles to get in the way like STO or EVE. Looks decent, runs on pretty dated rigs, and you'll get some good space combat action if you have an okay ping. The rounds are matchmade, but since the game is F2P, players wouldn't be barred to join from any initial cost.|
|Star Trek: Armada II||Mad Doc Software||2002||Trek RTSs are rare, but the the ones we got are good. Traditional RTS gameplay all the way through, with enough twists and Trek themes to make things fresh. Best played with mods for a huge graphic update.|
|Star Trek Online||Cryptic Studios||2010||
Despite a lot of hardcore fan misgivings, it actually does emulate the Star Trek experience quite well-- especially the TOS and early NG style cheesiness, which is fun. Free to play now, with a cash shop for vanity type crap.
Also, like it or not, this is currently the main story material for Trek's Prime World, now that Trek TV series is no longer produced. Get on that ship, trekkies!
|Star Trek: Invasion||Warthog Games||2000||
Little known Trek space combat at the end of the Playstation lifecycle. Unlike many other Trek games, you control a very small craft, so the scale of the battles is relatively bigger. Incredibly satisfying to play once you got used to the controls (especially strafing and lock-on tailing abilities).
|Strike Suit Zero||Born Ready Games||2013||A Kickstarted space combat from a relatively new studio trying to revive the genre, going so far as to outsource the mech design to Appleseed mech designer Junji Okubo. For better and for worse, the influences of other franchises are all over the place: Freelancer, Freespace, Macross, Battlestar Galactica, Homeworld, Zone of the Enders or even freakin' Project Sylpheed. So what you have here is something with identity crisis, but delivers in parts that count: massive space battles with all kinds of eyecandy sprinkled over the screen (colorful laser, explosion flashes, engine trails,...).|
|The Ur-Quan Masters||
Original game: Toys for Bob
Original game: 1992
|Port of the old game "Star Control II" for modern pc. It is basically Mass Effect with the shooter part replaced with small scale starship battles and with better story and characters. It is surprising to see how much Bioware |
|X³: Terran Conflict||Egosoft||2008||
Often called "EVE Offline". Has a just as steep, if not even steeper learning curve but once you're in you can experience an incredibly open and versatile world with what seems to be endless choices regarding everything from your career path to your ship choice, and it goes as far as being able to purchase space stations to establish your own trading routes. Also there are tons of mods thanks to the active community. The successor X: Rebirth is currently in the making and will be out
|X-Wing (series)||LucasArts||1993-1999||X-Wing, TIE Figher, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter (as well as the campaign expansion Balance of Power) and X-Wing Alliance make up an absolutely shit series of Star Wars starfighter games. Pilot a wide variety of craft in heated battle against and alongside other fighters and capital ships, on both sides of the galactic conflict. Every one of these games is worth playing, though X-Wing itself is a bit dated.|