There’s something nervy about Pandora. It’s billing itself as the “spiritual successor of Alpha Centauri”, and that’s not a statement to make lightly. At least, not around these parts, where I will sucker-punch anyone who denies that Alpha Centauri is one of the finest sci-fi games ever made, and undoubtedly the happiest marriage of theme and design.
So Pandora has enormous shoes to fill. But to judge from the trailer, at least, there’s an awful lot of promising signs about this one.
Say this for Pandora: it looks a hell of a lot prettier and more diverse than Planet in Alpha Centauri. Where Planet was kind of a desolate burnt-orange wasteland, covered in pink Xenofungus, Pandora actually looks like the kind of place one could actually inhabit. Plus, it’s plentiful supply of hexes guarantees that it will be fertile soil for warfare.
It’s also worth mentioning that our pal Dan Griliopoulos did quite a bit of writing for the game, and calls Proxy Studios “the best team I’ve ever worked with.” So that’s quite an endorsement and, honestly, it’s a bit of a relief knowing there was a professional writer on the game. There is an awful tendency for game designers to think they can also do all the fiction and flavor on their game world, and while a few can (Brian Reynolds did most of Alpha Centauri, after all), they tend to the be exceptions in a sea of mediocrity. Hiring Dan was a smart move, and I’m excited to see what he and Proxy have done with this sci-fi 4X.
You can pick it up from Slitherine for $30.