Space Hulk: Tactics review

A tactics game that doesn’t quite hit the mark? Our review of Space Hulk: Tactics…


For anyone who didn’t spend their youth playing the tabletop game, here’s a Space Hulk primer: on one side you have Terminators, huge Space Marines bristling with armour and guns. On the other there’s the Genestealers, an alien race that skulk around abandoned spaceships. You pick a side, then try and kill the other.

Except it’s not quite that simple, especially not in Space Hulk: Tactics. Every mission you play, whether it’s in the campaign, skirmish, or multiplayer mode, has its own set of victory conditions. The Space Marine player might need to get three of their characters to safety within a set number of turns, while the Genestealer player might have a specific target to take down in the same length of time.

Play as the Marines and you’ll have a small squad of slow-moving, heavily armoured giants at your disposal. You can equip different weapons and buffs as you play through the campaign, giving your marines new ways of mowing down xeno scum. For all the armaments and thick shoulder pads, though, your squad is actually pretty vulnerable.

Genestealers are faster, stronger, and if they get too close then a team member will almost certainly die. Plus, you can’t see the aliens all the time: they’re represented by blips until they come into your line of sight, in typical turn-based tactics style.

It’s all fairly competent, at least until you get to the presentation: characters move slowly and robotically, so every time you have to sit through an animated scene of one of them walking, or watch a Genestealer spring out of a vent, you’ll probably find yourself mashing buttons to get back into the violence.

Balance is also a bit off. This is a game where every shot counts, and a lot of them are going to miss. You might be standing in front of an alien target, you might play a special card to improve your attack, but if the game decides you’re going to miss, there’s nothing you can do about it.

There are moments when Space Hulk: Tactics manages to capture some of the horror inherent in its premise. Outnumbered, on the verge of death, and only a few steps away from your goal, the next move you make is life-or-death. But then you’ll press the wrong button and end up with a squad of enhanced superhumans all facing in different directions as they’re torn apart.

There are better turn-based strategy games, better horror games, and better Warhammer 40K games out there. Space Hulk: Tactics might be the finest Space Hulk video game we’ve had in a while, but the slow pace and frustrations still keep it from greatness.


The level editor is easy to use, even on a controller, and building your own scenarios was one of the things that made the original Space Hulk so memorable. There’s a decent community of makers already, and sharing your own creations is super-simple.

Verdict: 55%

A game that captures some of the best, but also a lot of the worst, about its board game inspiration.


Genre: RPG / Turn-based tactics
Format: PS4 / PC
Developer: Cyanide
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Price: £34.99
Release: Out now

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