5/23/2017 0 Comments
Ever picture yourself traveling the stars to distant planets and solar systems just for the exploration? What if you were asked to colonize on some strange deserted planet, would you take that opportunity? Would you leave knowing that you may never return home? All of these questions are amazing expectations for realistic space travel in the near future, but who wants to wait for that opportunity to come along?? We all want actions NOW, but you couldn’t possibly get yourself a one-way ticket to a new life, or could you…
Planetbase is a simulation-strategy title developed and published by the fine folks at Madruga Works and is very similar to games like Civilization and Age of Empires. Similar to the previously mentioned games, you start by landing on a remote planet in a small shuttle containing a minimal number of astronauts and a few robots. You are tasked with survival by any means necessary and are provided various resources to help your expedition. However, these resources are very limited and you must take action to gain more and help your party survive. The title provides a large variety of buildings and facilities to build the base of your wildest dreams. You are not only the architect of this futuristic escapade, but you must also be the in-depth manager of your crew. The crew can and will work on their own, but nothing will get accomplished in a timely matter without your input. As the manager, you must manage the power level, water level, and the overall happiness of everyone in your expedition party.
The building component of this game is something that is easy to start but can be difficult to master. Each facility presented to you can be chosen in different sizes that cost a different amount of materials to build and will take more or less power, as well as consuming other utilities dependent on the size. Ok sounds easy enough, right? Put a couple wind turbines down, a nice water treatment plant, a cafeteria, a dormitory, and an oxygen tunnel. Now you are up and running and you have a pretty cool base too. But it looks like you ran into a new problem, you have the base of your dreams, but no more materials to advance. You can’t build a factory and it seems like your time has come to an end. Taking the time to manage your early-on resources and building the base needed for survival takes some time to get down and you need to go through different stages to find out what works the best for you. The strategy aspect allows for multiple scenarios of success and failure. You can have too few crew members, get too many, lose all your power, or experience the unfortunate event of a meteor shower.
The game comes equipped with the normal story mode, where you land on a planet and do what it takes to survive, along with a challenge mode, where you need to do the same, but also put your wits together and solve some overarching issue or challenge. There are four different challenges, one for each of the different planets, and they are all unlocked from the get-go. They are denoted as more difficult depending on which challenge and will test the ultimate knowledge of the landscape and the game as a whole. The campaign is based on the same four planets and like the challenges gets more difficult the further down the list of planets you go. Starting on the desert planet, you must obtain certain milestones to unlock the next planet. These milestones could be as easy as surviving one night on the planet or be as complex as getting 300 crew members living in the colony at the same time, but don’t fret! Each planet has ten different milestones to do and you do not need to complete all of them to gain access to every planet.
The visual aesthetics of Planetbase are rather appealing and I feel the developers did a great job of bringing this type of game to the console. Being very similar to games like Civilization, it shares some of the same graphical qualities. The world is displayed in an in-depth variation from a top-down perspective and all of the people and buildings can be expanded for greater detail. On the other hand, the sounds are quite average. I didn’t notice much to the variety of the ambiance and there is no dialogue, which is standard for games of this caliber. The noises made when a ship lands or a facility is being built is a nice touch to add to the realistic tone, but it doesn’t have any variety to the overall appeal.
I felt that Planetbase as a whole was an average, but enjoyable experience. I personally do not play a lot of games in this genre and don’t really have much exposure to it. The title was easy to pick up and play and I enjoyed the little nuances of making the colony work. However, I didn’t find much replayability from my standpoint. I got my colony to a great sustainable level, got some milestones, and unlocked the other planets, but after that, I didn’t see much to come back to. I am sure if you are into these types of games, you would love making new colonies and starting from the ground up over and over again. This game did well and I applaud it, but it wasn’t for me in a sense of long term appeal.
In the end, Planetbase was a cool little strategy game that exposed us to the final frontier. It displayed a cool concept of going to distant planets that would void us from other habitants and allow you to build your base to your liking without having to follow any particular style. I would recommend this title to anyone that is a fan of Civilization due to the fact that they would really appreciate the appeal and not get bogged down by the minor nuances throughout the game.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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