This is a deep (real-time) strategy game made by Indie Dev Arcen Games
that reduces the need to micromanage and allows you to focus more on strategy. It's not about building the largest, most powerful army and wiping out all traces of the competition. In fact, if you attempt that, you will likely find yourself wiped out pretty quickly. This game is about trying to appear insignificant and choosing your battles. Also, there is no PVP in this game. If you play with other players, it's cooperative vs the AI.
A great review was just written up on EuroGamer:
You're humanity's last hope, because you're the last of humanity. You're given a single chance to reclaim the galaxy, and there's one giant, obscene obstacle in your way: the AI. Think Terminator or the Matrix; think any sort of sci-fi where the computers take over and you've got yourself the premise of AI War. Except this time, the battle is fought over the entire galaxy, over dozens of them. You've got to take it all back and the AI can stop you at any time. You've just got to piss it off enough to think you're a genuine threat.
This is Buckaroo, only the stakes are a little higher, and the scale is cosmic. Each little piece of detritus you're littering over that angry donkey is a star system, a data bank, a factory. At any point, you might well take one thing too many, and suddenly, in the top left of your screen, a little message is going to pop up. It's not going to be a pleasant sort of message. It will read something like this:
"30,000 ships headed towards your system in 5:00."
That timer at the end is going to start ticking down and you're going to frantically start to build up your defences, except somewhere, in the back of your mind, you're going to know it's not enough. It'll never be enough. You recall all your ships, from everywhere, to try to mount some kind of realistic defence, but somehow they seem to be moving slower than usual, or maybe it's just because this is so much more urgent and your mind is wanting, no, needing, them to move faster. And oh God the AI ships are here and we're all going to die.
That's AI War at its climax. Well, one of its climaxes. This happens so often, with you barely scraping through each time, that if you aren't a frayed mess of overloaded nerve endings, you're probably just as much a machine as the one you're fighting.
The third expansion, Light of the Spire has just released (and is discounted) on Steam. Also, to celebrate, AI War itself is 50% off
Try out the free demo and see if you like it. If so, buy it! I'd really love to have some other players to attempt to defeat the AI with. I keep losing.
Also, Arcen Games are a great studio! They're like Stardock in that they don't have any DRM in their games beyond a simple serial number that you use to unlock the full version from the demo. There's no internet connection required to activate or login, no phoning home, no max activations, etc. (In fact, if you like Sins of a Solar Empire by Stardock, you really need to check out this game. Even though they are way different, I can't help but be reminded of SoaSE when I try to describe the game to others.)AI War: Fleet Command