Endings Game: Human Extinction Simulator

By Adam Smith on August 5th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

As when I first wrote about the terrifyingly titled Human Extinction Simulator, I feel it is necessary to point out that the game wasn’t grown in the same lab vats as the likes of Pandemic and Plague Inc. In the Extinction Simulator, your role is to prevent humanity’s destruction by working out methods by which alien fleets can be defeated. The simulator takes the form of a turn-based tactical combat game and I’ve been playing an early beta version. Most of the current content takes the form of tutorial type missions but I still managed to fail humanity a few times. I am learning though and enjoying the school of hard alien knocks (not a Mass Effect Mills and Boon spin-off).

The combat is very much like encounters between naval ships of old, wheeling around in great turning circles for position and attempting to slam opponents with a broadside. Some ships, particularly the nippier squadrons of tiny fighters, are rigged for direct assaults but ensuring victory requires learning the weapons coverage of each individual vessel. Movement is important as well, of course, and each class of ship has a distinct turning arc and speed.

A well-designed interface means that the complexity is in the tactics rather than attempts to implement basic maneuvers. Clicking on a ship marks out the hexes it can attack or move to, and the potential consequences of any move are displayed in the form of stonking great exclamation marks. It’s a bit like a cross between Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol and Leviathan: Warships. It also has similarities with another game, as developer Dave Toulouse points out:

The first thing to know about HES is that it’s played on a hex grid and that each ship can move in very specific ways. The best way to think about it is Chess. Why does the knight move in L patterns? Because it does and that’s it. In HES it’s not as simplistic as that as I still keep some realistic notions. For example fighters are more maneuverable than cruisers but not all fighters can move the same way.

The theme is well-communicated, right down to the bleak planetary bombardment providing the backdrop to the menu, and the (relatively) close quarters combat is tense. Modding will be supported and the game is seeking votes on Greenlight, in preparation for release later this year.

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9 Comments »

  1. froz says:

    It looks like Master of Orion 2 combat. From the description i looks like it’s real-time pausable (like leviathan: warships), but the trailer shows regular turn-based combat.

    There was this really great freeware multiplayer game with real-time pausable gameplay. I can’t remember the name, it was star something I think and I believe it was inspired by this old classic:
    http://www.windowsgames.co.uk/critical.html

    Ahh, now I really wish this one was similar. That freeware game was absolutely brilliant… Someone please help me, it’s so frustrating I can’t remember that name. And it’s not the first time too, I keep remembering and forgetting the name every other year…

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      Bugamn says:

      Was it Shadow Armada?

      I have found it on a forum described as “turn-based strategic space combat game inspired by Critical Mass”, so it seems to fit.

      • froz says:

        Yes! I have just found it with google and came back here to write that to anyone who might have the same problem as I had :). Thanks anyway.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Oh, wow, Critical Mass! I played the demo one time, and it was fun, but I couldn’t justify paying $20 for such an ancient game.

        That was ten years ago. He’s still trying to get full retail price for a game that was made for Windows 3.1.

        Yeah. I think I’ll check out some of the other games mentioned in this thread.

  2. Gog Magog says:

    They really coulda just named it “Death and Hatred to Mankind” but maybe that reference would have been wasted.

  3. Elethio says:

    I think I’d like to see a sequal to this sometime where the objective IS to wipe out mankind.