This year's black Friday digital game sale is huge and includes several newer titles. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Planets Under Attack
Travel the universe with Mr. Goodman as he tries to make his fortune in the galactic gold rush by conquering planets and defeating human, alien and robot opponents who want to take his chance at wealth away.
Planets Under Attack is a strategy game, so the basic rules of those games apply here. You’ll upgrade your planets, take over new ones and defend what you have from various enemies. You’ll also spend a good deal of time taking planets back that you’ve lost.
Each level in Planets Under Attack is a little different from the one before. There are a few basic types of levels in the campaign. On some, it’s sending ships to destroy the enemy and defending your planets that’s important. On others, it’s capturing and holding certain bases until you’ve gotten a certain number of domination points. The game varies the action and gameplay so that the player doesn’t get bored, but also so that they learn to strategize in the game, and what will and won’t work. The controls are pretty easy. Sending ships to a certain planet requires a left click until the number of ships you want to send appears. This is easy, but probably you’re always going to be a few ships over what you wanted to send because it’s not easy to stop at the exact right number. A box for input of ship numbers would’ve been better, or only allowing ships to go in blocks of so many, perhaps ten. All in all, it wasn’t a game killer, but it was sort of annoying to only need maybe five ships to take a planet and ending up sending ten instead.
The constantly changing gameplay means players can’t just learn the basics and run hog-wild over the rest of the game. Each level has its own particular strategy and challenges, and it may take a few times playing each one to be able to beat it. Sometimes the player faces more than one opponent, not always of the same race either. One level that was particularly interesting was where an alien swarm had eggs on each planet, and you had a certain amount of time to wipe them out before the swarm hatches and starts to take over planets for their own use. Sometimes money is important, and the amount of cash you have on hand changes the attack value of your ships and also the defense value of your planets. Experience points unlock new technologies that players can use to make their ship weapons more damaging, or increase their planetary defenses or other tweaks that give players an edge in the campaign mode. The campaign mode’s story is interesting and fun to play through, but there’s also Team Multiplayer, Elimination, Capture, King of the Hill and Domination modes for multiplayer.
Watching your enemies’ planetary empire dwindle away under the relentless assaults of your ships is great fun, and Planets Under Attack is challenging enough to make each victory satisfying. Some levels are shorter than others, and there are places I felt that the story could’ve been expanded a little, but overall each level challenges the player in different ways. That not every level is just about eliminating your opponent is definitely a large part of the fun, but Planets Under Attack doesn’t stop there. In the Medium and Hard modes of the campaign, there are sub-goals that grant players more points for each victory. While that’s not a new idea, it does increase the replayability of the game and gives players something to work at.
Planets Under Attack is available for PC on Steam.