Planetary Annihilation is an RTS game which started off with a Kickstarter campaign. Now that it’s in its final release, rather than open beta, seems like a good time for a review! However, keep in mind, that they are still adding things to the game.
Planetary Annihilation has a very similar feel and gameplay to a classic RTS, like Age of Empires, but with a twist. That twist being that you’re playing for solar systems, most of which have multiple planets and moons. This creates a new complexity, as you’re trying to manage multiple things at once, and most of the time across multiple planets. To play the game effectively, you need to do more macro-managing. And it’s very easy, for a player like me, to get too focused on micro-management. Sometimes I end up following the same fabricators around and assigning new tasks as they complete their old ones, but this by no means a viable strategy. A better one would be, for example, building ten vehicle factories, setting them to infinitely build a selected unit, and putting down an appropriate rally point. The game also allows for unit grouping and anchor points, which does make things easier.
At present, there are four factory types for building: land, bot, air, and orbital. All have different strengths and weaknesses. Bots, for example, are very fast ground units, but are weak when it comes to fighting your opponents, unless they’re also using bots. Land units are slower but stronger. Air units are fast and good at raiding, but are easily taken down by the enemy commander and Anti-Aircraft guns. Orbital units can build planetary defense, either through anchors or fighters. All unit types can build fabricators. Orbital fabricators can build teleporters on other planets to make way for invasion.
Graphically, Planetary Annihilation is very appealing and has a cartoon vibe, which fits very nicely. The game does have a few quirks, but overall the latest builds are very stable. However, I do not recommend buying this game if you have an older computer, or a less than satisfactory rig. This game is very graphic intensive, which could leave you on the lowest graphics settings with a poor frame rate by default. You can check your computers capabilities here: http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri/requirements/planetary-annihilation/11698/?p=r
The community behind the game is fairly large, with YouTube channels providing lots of information for beginners. Matches being one of my favourites. There’s also a moderately difficult learning curve, although the hardest part for me was figuring out a good strategy, but this comes with further gameplay, watching tutorials on certain game mechanics, and watching competitive player’s gameplay.
There’s also a pretty nice original soundtrack happening here, with music composed specifically for the game. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8TvngLw0Kk) The score itself fits the action really well too, which is nice. There is nothing like having an orchestra playing your men (bots) into battle, as they valiantly charge, at your command.
The game has a few secret, but very powerful, weapons too. One of them being “Halleys”, which are essentially large rocket engines. They are built on moons, with the number required depending on the size of the moon. Normally around three to five Halleys are required, but once you have enough, you can ‘Planet Smash’! This is exactly what it sounds like, as your rockets propel the planetoid at its target. Depending on the size of the celestial body, the impact result differs. Sometimes both the moon and its target are completely destroyed, while sometimes the impact will just leave a massive crater. This means that targeting is key, since you’re most likely trying to hit the enemy commander(s). You win by killing the enemy commander(s) and every player and AI start with one.
Mod support is another thing to mention. The game supports modding and there are many already available that actually improve gameplay. Some of the more popular mods are ones with different explosions and shell tracers. The game also supports a System Editor, which is a fancy term for a map maker that allows you to make your own playable systems. Currently there isn’t any ‘easy’ way to share systems with others though, so you either need to have people host matches online or you need to send other players certain files from your AppData folder for them to overwrite in theirs – not the easiest way to handle it, to say the least. Hopefully in the future Uber Entertainment will implement a better way to share systems, similarly mimicking their mod support.
All in all I would have to give this game a solid 9/10. Some may argue that is a tad high, but it is extremely fun to play and other than my wish for an easier way to share systems and the occasiional crash I feel it’s definitely worth the price of admission.
Great review! One thing I would add is that there is a “System Sharing” mod created by a very attractive man named Captain Conundrum up on the mod manager. You should check it out since you seem disappointed that it isn’t an option in the game.
And for information on the other mods available, trialq has a great site that he has put a lot of work into.
I like the part where he said PA was a good game…