What can I say about a survival strategy game where you’re responsible for the lives of a handful of brave and determined marines?
Well I can say it’s one hell of a ride down bug splatter lane, that’s for sure! I rather enjoyed this small strategy game and it certainly has a lot more content than the price would suggest. Take a peek below for my thoughts on Infested Planet.
This is yet another game that I’ve reviewed that has hardly any story to speak off. You do get some dialogue before and in between missions about what is going on and why you’re doing what you’re doing, but as a whole, the game just doesn’t feel like it rely’s on a story to carry the game, but it also misses the opportunity to drive home a new sci-fi twisted story that could have been very cool indeed. The little bits of information you get throughout the dialogue are usually all you’ll get, from that you need to grasp what is happening around you while the rest is up to you.
The basics are as follows, you’re trying to terraform an alien planet only to find, (gosh, how inconvenient,) some real aliens already living there. Once this is discovered, your sent in to clear the way for the good old civies to start the terraforming process and make the world habitable by normal puny humans who probably don’t like wearing big bulky suits all the time.
On your journey, you meet some lovely alien beasts that are just itching to gobble your tasty marines right up. Your job is to try to make that as hard as possible, new marines are always a pest to bring up to speed on these matters and often slow down these costly expeditions.
I’m more than happy, after playing Line Of Defense, to say how wonderful the control scheme for Infested Planet really is. It’s nothing special or out of the ordinary, in fact it sticks with many of the old controls developed over the years by other strategy games, and guess what, they work flawlessly.
You can drag boxes over men, set position facings by holding the movement key and pointing in a direction, you have keyboard shortcuts that allow you to move & attack enemies in sight, it almost felt like I was in strategy heaven.
But seriously, Infested Planet does everything as you would expect from a strategy game and so for new and old veterans, the control scheme is a doddle to get used to and a pleasure to use on a daily basis.
Now a game doesn’t always need to have the best looking graphics for me to enjoy a game, often a poor graphics game often hides some respectful features underneath.
Well Infested Planet isn’t a glitzy game but it also isn’t poor in the art style either. The game uses a slightly cartoony or colourful approach to graphics with the game looking rather more vibrant than detailed. This really isn’t a bad thing, in my case at least, the best comparison I can think of is to think of Borderlands graphics. The graphics were rather out there and in your face with bright colours and Infested Planet really uses that to make a believable alien looking world filled with bone crunching monsters, all from a top down view.
The UI in-game is also very well done. Minimalistic with only the very vital details shown at hand. It allows the action of the game to be kept within view even when spreading men out into several smaller teams.
As for the detail and textures of the games characters and enemies, well, it’s not something that is easily viewable behind the blood and gore but each unit looks the part, if not a bit simplistic in design. When you have hordes of enemies coming at you, the last thing you’ll be worrying about is if you look good in your battle armour.
The sound effects themselves are pretty distinct and do well to give you an indication on what weapons are firing and when buildings are under attack. Explosions also give a satisfying boom when going off and generally other sounds are well done and polished.
As for the music, during the missions you’ll find a lack of music entirely, the game allows you to focus on the sounds of battle instead of distracting you with soothing tunes. As for out of battle, during menus and R&D, you’ll find a rather nice selection of music that gives a nice background hum to an otherwise deadly quiet period of gameplay. Overall I would say the sound and music in Infested Planet strikes a nice balance between too much and too little.
So Infested Planet puts you in the command of a group of five marines, which during missions can be expanded to meet your needs. Your main job is to eradicate the bugs cluttering up the newly found planet where humanity plans to make a new colony world.
During the story missions you’ll undertake and the side bonus missions that will help fund research and design, you’ll come across a rather interesting and often random assortment of problems. The major one is the bugs themselves, often higher in numbers than your own forces, sometimes by the thousands, and with many tricks hidden up their sleeves, or slimy pouches. As you hit the enemy harder with more firepower and begin to take on larger hives, the enemy will adapt itself to your tactics, often in a rather random fashion.
The mutations that the enemy can go through can range from defensive hives that fire back at you or much stronger and far nastier bugs, healing hives, mine fields and also the ability to quickly retaliate after losing a hive. There are roughly thirty-three different mutations that the bugs can go through to put a stop to your slaughtering. Often in later matches you’ll find the enemy has half a dozen enhancements and your original tactics often have to be adapted to the new situation.
This really does keep the game interesting and the fact that you may never see some mutations until you play the game again or try the weekly challenges, makes replayability high and active missions much more challenging and fun to enjoy for some time to come.
Add on to that the weekly challenges, bronze, silver and gold missions that change on a weekly basis and you have a large amount of things to do within the game to keep you busy and a small incentive to come back every now and then.
The weekly challenges are scored depending on how quick you did them and how well you did in the missions, then they are ranked against all the other players who’ve done the weekly challenge. This is the sole multiplayer aspect and although I don’t play much competitive strategy, I would have liked a co-op mode to play with friends against hordes of enemies.
My only down side for the game is the resurrecting soldiers business. Once one of your marines dies, he’ll be out of action for ten – fifteen seconds while another one is brewed at one of your outposts, usually they spawn on the closest owned outpost to get back into the fight quicker. It’s a small issue but I do find that allowing your troops to be killed with relatively no penalty makes the game slightly too easy in some circumstances. You simply have to wait for the troops to re-materialize and throw them into hell again with no thought to the consequences.
Well that’s the gameplay section over and done with, please check below for the scores and the final verdict.
The game was reviewed with the final release version of the game which will officially launch on the 6th of March. Check it out on Steam here.
- Simple UI & Controls
- Fast Paced Strategy
- Mutations Keep The Game Alive
- Little In The Way Of Story
- No Multiplayer Or Co-Op