For many gamers, AD2460 will feel like something completely different. Rather than playing on a console or a powerhouse PC, this is a 4x space empire game designed to be played in the web browser.
However, the internet is teeming with browser-based games, and there are plenty of standalone 4x apps and traditional games. So, is this free-to-play game worth checking out, or should you take your space empire somewhere else?
A Rich Legacy
Let’s be honest: space expansion games on a web browser can be a pretty tough sell. Fortunately, this game is made by one of the experts in this field.
AD2460 is brought to life by the same people who created Planetarion. This was a similar kind of space empire web browser game that came out way back in the year 2000.
The good news is that the developers have clearly learned many lessons. This new game has a slicker interface, more streamlined tech trees, and more community involvement.
At the end of the day, though, core gameplay is very similar. And that core gameplay might not be everyone’s cup of tea!
All About Time Management
Some of you may be wondering what the benefits of a browser-based game are. I’ve got two words for you: “time management.”
Most gamers inevitably have less and less time to spend gaming. Gone are the days of spending eight hours pwning those noobs online. Once you’re saddled with a full-time job, a spouse, and maybe some children, you may be lucky to get an hour or two of gaming in each night.
With this game, you can put as much or as little time into it as you want. You won’t feel compelled to play for another hour until you hit something like a save point. Instead, your empire will be waiting for you if you have to leave (provided no one has wiped you out — more on that in a minute).
I should also mention that this browser-based game requires no special plugins. That means that if you have a desk job that provides some downtime, you may be able to quietly manage your empire at work. Just make sure the boss isn’t around!
The actual gameplay of AD2460 will feel familiar to anyone who has placed one of those “build up a base” games on your smartphone. You’re mostly reading, selecting upgrades, and waiting for various cooldown timers.
However, make no mistake: you are not alone in the galaxy. All of the game’s other players share the same virtual space lanes. And while your empire starts out small and remote (keeping you safe), your expansion will eventually mean you reach other players.
The next step is in your hands. You might start an intergalactic war and try to wipe them out. Alternately, you may forge an alliance and start taking out the competition together.
This adds some elements of adrenaline and fun to what might otherwise be a game of menus.
Fun on the Go… Sort Of
This game is fully browser-based, meaning that you cannot download it as an app. However, you can still play it on your phone if you so choose.
Like I said before, no special plugins are required to play this on a browser. So, nothing keeps you from trying to play it on Safari, Chrome, or whatever your mobile browser of choice is.
The actual experience of doing so is a mixed bag. Most of the game is spent reading lots of tiny text, so you may end up having to zoom in and out quite a bit when playing the game on your phone. With the added screen real estate, I found this experience to be more natural when playing on a tablet instead of a phone.
Spreadsheet: The Game
I’ll go ahead and say it: this game is divisive. And that’s because the core gameplay is very engrossing to certain players and a huge turnoff to others.
While there are things like alliances and conquests to keep things interesting, most of AD2460 could be described as “Spreadsheet: the Game.” You are managing resources, monitoring cooldowns, and plotting your next tech tree decision.
If you like the idea of micromanaging an empire, then this game will scratch that itch like no other. However, if you mostly want to build forces and stomp someone else down, you’d probably be better off playing a more traditional RTS like StarCraft 2.
A Friendly Community
A game like this succeeds or fails based on the strength of its community. And I’m happy to report that this game has a fantastic community.
There are online forums full of helpful tips for starting players. And there are plenty of players expanding the mythology of this game through fanfiction. Heck, you can even read some of the developers’ favorite fanfiction directly in the game!
So, while this may not be the fanciest or most polished game you ever play, it may very well have the most supportive community you ever encounter.
Ultimately, I think you should give AD2460 a chance. First, it’s free-to-play, so you literally have nothing to lose. Second, it’s one of the best browser-based games I’ve ever played. Finally, the community feels like a safe haven from the usual mob of online goons and trolls.