Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition – review

  • Format: PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Team 17
  • Developer: Team Jolly Roger
  • Players: 1-8
  • Site: http://interplanetary.weebly.com/
  • Game code provided by Publisher

Interplanetary is all about destruction, mass destruction, and making complex calculations on how to best thwack the baddies (anyone who isn’t you) with missiles, artillery, and perhaps even asteroids on a turn by turn basis. Via destruction. Considering just how much it feels like the most complex Worms spinoff ever, it’s unsurprising to find that this is being published by Team 17, developers and publishers of everyone’s favourite annelids.

You are a lonely planet with only enemy planets to keep you company (fire weaponry at you). There are a few cities that you need to protect from them, and if you want peace then you need look no further than the complete annihilation of your enemies. The only ceasefires occur when your non-allies target another planet, so there really isn’t any point in holding back.

Waging war in a solar system is a feat unto itself, but even more of a feat is navigating the Civilization-style tech tree that’s full to the brim with stats that mean everything and nothing. Energy, materials, intel and a few others make up the simple-ish set of resources that you need to juggle in order build stuff, shoot stuff, and protect stuff. There are clear paths to the super-weapons, but everything else is just noise; crucial noise, but noise none the less.

Since economy is so basic by comparison to the actual warfare, much of what you pick doesn’t really matter because you don’t have to worry about the usual strategy stuff like specific conditions from terrain etc. That’s not to say that high level play won’t need intimate knowledge on how to best use your resources and which things to research first, but there aren’t so many moving parts you have to consider at every step.

Luckily, you won’t need a Maths or Physics degree to get the most out of using gravity to your advantage when you’re slinging missiles, artillery, and asteroids at your foes. The handy pathing shows how a projectile will travel if it did so in this instant; meaning that as the planets move, gravity will affect your projectiles accordingly. Sometimes this will pull them off trajectory – or perhaps it will initiate some sort of genius-level manoeuvre with some ridiculous shots that curl around planets as they’re sucked in by their gravitational fields before landing right where you wanted it. Or, if you’re like us, the first shot you make will curl around the sun and land right back in your face. We wish that wasn’t true, but it is.

It’s all well and good firing off against your enemies but, while the game might emphasise the slinging of explosives, you’re not getting anywhere without a good bit of resource and building management. Surprisingly, this was also the bit we found to be the most stressful. Weapons are fire and forget (unless you hit yourself with them – in which case they are very much remembered) but buildings make up a much more important part of the game.

The complex bits of building management are more to do with placement and juggling lines of power, rather than the building and management of resource-gathering buildings. Mines and power-plants can sort of be built and left to their own devices; but when things come flying your way, you will need to build up a vast and complex set of defences to hopefully counter those attacks. Losing mines and power-plants is bad but you can build them fairly cheaply. Cities can only heal over time and can’t be replaced, meaning each lost city is a lost lifeline.

The most stressful part perhaps isn’t the placement of buildings per se, but the watching of the potential Armageddons flying through space at the end of each turn. Just because we’d put up lots of defences didn’t mean we were safe from nuclear devastation. We didn’t have the right defences for a substantial number of turns once, for example, so our defences just let the enemy missiles blow a few buildings to smithereens. And even when we did have the correct defences, that’s not to say that we had enough power to activate them or that when activated, they actually stopped them. There’s always a chance that your defences won’t catch whatever’s hurtling at you, which adds to the tension on the overview.

One thing that stood out to us was the very finite resources your planet has. It’s entirely possible for you to run out of materials (which we did) before the end of the game. It means any buildings you lose will soon become irreplaceable, and you may even need to sell non-essential buildings just so you can keep up the good fight. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a possibility that the game could end with everyone wiping each other out. It’s a slim chance, but definitely possible thanks to missiles taking time to reach their targets.

It’s a great game for anyone who can judge trajectories of objects hurtling through space and wants nothing more than to dominate their solar system from a mostly ruined planet. Unfortunately, it feels slightly limited by the all war and no chance of survival by means other than being the last one standing. It’s not bad because of this, but it definitely has a niche that can outstay its welcome quicker than similar titles. Still, firing giant lasers is fun int it?

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I’ve done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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