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FPS and RTS collide in new Steam sci-fi strategy game Silica

Steam sci-fi strategy game Silica is a blend of first-person shooter and real-time strategy games, with the choice to focus on either side of its twin styles.

Silica - a human in a space suit holds up a glowing blue crystal to inspect it

If you love first-person shooters and real-time strategy games – or even if you’re only really into one of those two genres – Silica has something for you. This crossover Steam game is a loving blend of RTS and FPS games in the vein of PC classics such as Battlezone II and Natural Selection 2, but allows players the freedom of choice to decide which play style they prefer.

Coming primarily from solo developer Martin ‘Dram’ Melichárek, the lead developer behind Take On Mars, Silica is set for a release via Steam Early Access. It’s set on Baltarus, a fictional planet “located thousands of light years from Earth,” and offers you the option to take the hot seat of a commander controlling your chosen faction from above in the style of a traditional RTS, or put boots to the ground as an infantry soldier, playing as humans or aliens.

The strategy side of things will be very familiar to those of you with an affinity for the likes StarCraft and Command & Conquer. You’ll deploy harvesters to farm the prize jewel of Baltarus – an element called Balterium that contains “a tremendous amount of untapped potential that can power up human civilization for generations to come.”

As you collect resources, you’ll be able to build out your base, creating manufacturing and recruiting plants that will be able to send out a range of units to take on your opponents. The humans have five infantry classes and eleven vehicles to choose from, while the alien forces feature eight different creatures including a stealthy Crab, fast-moving Hunter, and heavily armoured Goliath.

Silica - the RTS mode, showing units being constructed in a top-down view

Those of you who aren’t as strategy-minded needn’t worry, though – Silica doesn’t demand that of you, instead allowing the AI to take charge of all the commanding decisions if you prefer to focus on the high-octane action at ground level. Along with the various soldiers and aforementioned alien creatures, you’ll also be able to control the Harvesters and other vehicles, from Light Quads to the hard-hitting Siege Tanks.

Silica features six distinct locations with three different game modes to play. Strategy mode is the main focus, with players able to play in any combination of the RTS and FPS modes in an up to three-way conflict between factions. Elsewhere, Prospector mode functions as a way to get to grips with all the essentials of Silica, while Arena mode lets players duke it out in an “unbalanced FPS free-for-all” as their favourite units.

Silica is coming to Steam Early Access soon, with plans for it to remain in early access for roughly nine to 12 months. In the meantime, you can wishlist the game on Steam. It offers support for both single-player and multiplayer, with up to 12 players able to take part in Strategy mode and up to 32 in the free-for-all Arena mode.

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If that’s not enough to keep you busy, take a look at the best strategy games on PC, or perhaps the best multiplayer games if you’re more interested in the spirit of competition.