Planets Under Attack Review
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A fast-paced strategy game for adrenaline junkies wanting instant gratification for their victories, and no time invested in their soul crushing losses. It serves as a litmus test for those new to the strategy genre and wanting a game without complicated gameplay to make their brain explode.
- Fast paced gameplay
- Variety of game modes
- Zero loading times
- Flawed and forgettable story
- Sega Genesis era graphics
- No A.I. bots for online multiplayer
Space; the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Money Inc. Its continuing mission: to plunder new star systems, attack unsuspecting aliens, and to gain as much profit as no man has done before. Am I a Ferengi or something? No, instead Planets Under Attack has been warped into your living room, developed by Targem Games and published by TopWare Interactive. This sleek and to the point strategy game tries to fill a niche left hungry in the wake of big budget games.
Planets Under Attack is a very streamlined, simplistic strategy game where the player starts off with one or more planet and must win a variety of game modes by taking over other planets. Capture, king of the hill, domination, and the classic elimination modes are staples in the game, with a new interesting mode called payback, which I will explain later. Each planet has a population which is used to make ships to attack other planets. There are three planet types to add some strategic depth to the gameplay: City, Bank, and Fortress. City planets give you more population and more population means more ships at a 1 to 1 ration. Bank planets give you an influx of cash at regular intervals. This is very important as it costs money to attack other planets. When attacking, your income from non-bank planets freezes. Your total bank roll also counts as your attack and defense stat. Fortresses are stationary turrets that shoot any non-allied ship passing by it. Lastly, only city planets produces a population, meaning the other two will never regenerate people unless you send them there manually.
The entire game is essentially a test of risk and reward. As it is a real-time strategy game there are no breaks, and the gameplay offers very little time for breaks to recollect your thoughts if you suddenly start being on the losing end of the battle. Every time you attack it costs money, and as mentioned, your money bar is also your attack and defense stat, making the gameplay very simple to learn. Each attack sends waves of ships against the target, reducing the population of your planets. When a planet reaches zero population, it is taken over. When you are not attacking, or while moving ships to allied planets, your money goes up until it reaches a limit based off the number of planets and upgrades you control. More planets and upgrades mean a higher population, and a higher bank account. Sound simple? It is, but don’t let simplicity hide the fun.
The game does have some RPG elements that give it more depth, particularly for online multiplayer, as completing missions on the various difficulty settings nets you experience, with each new level unlocking an upgrade. Each player can equip one tech upgrade from each of the three categories: ships, people, and special. Again, it is all about analyzing risk and reward as most of the upgrades have some kind of drawback to even out the bonus. Make your ships hit the enemy harder than the juggernaut but they are as slow as molasses going uphill in a Canadian blizzard. Have your planets produce population faster but at the cost of collecting taxes at a slower rate. Risk vs. Reward 101 is what the name of the game should be called.
Graphically the game looks like it could be run off of a Sega Genesis, as small ship models and non-moving portraits are not the most graphically taxing, but they are sleek without any frame rate or pixilation issues. The lack of graphics gives it a charm that is refreshing for those whose priorities are gameplay and not graphics. The game does feature some voice acting, and while not worthy of an Emmy, they are not atrocious, just normal and unremarkable. My ear drums were not asking me to rake them out, which is a good sign. However, on a funny note the British actor they hired ... (continued on next page)
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