Planetary Annihilation is a real-time-strategy game from Uber Entertainment, a studio formed by veterans who were behind the development of the massively successful Supreme Commander. Planetary Annihilation takes the basics of strategy games and adds its own new gameplay features via it’s solar/planet systems, resource management and so on.
The art in Planetary Annihilation is a mix of cartoon and a tiny bit of realism, but more toon-shaded than anything. When you look at this game you can definitely set it apart from other real-time strategy games such as StarCraft 2, thanks to its unique look and the way the engine handles shading.
If you’re looking for next-generation jaw-dropping graphics then look elsewhere, because you won’t find it in Planetary Annihilation. However, what you will find is a smooth engine, with cool particle effects simple colors and unique gameplay elements that you most likely won’t find anywhere else. I really liked the engine and the way it handles the units and warfare during combat.
The game never tries to impress you with it’s visual quality and that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I commend the developers for creating something that still looks pleasing to the eye while the gameplay is smooth as butter. Although, there are some optimization issues such as small frame-rate drops during massive battles, but since it’s an early-access on Steam I am quite positive that majority of the issues will be fixed as the development continues. Overall, the game has a unique art-style that works perfectly for what the game tries to achieve.
Gameplay in Planetary Annihilation is what makes the game stand apart from other games in the genre. The whole game is based of having multiple people fight on a planet and take control. The most interesting aspect of the gameplay is that the whole planet is basically a map of its own that can be scouted and used up for resources. Players are able to rotate their camera around the planet, zoom in and out and see everything in complete spherical 3D (similar to Super Mario Galaxy planets) and I find that truly unique.
You can have up-to 8 players fighting on the same planet for control and before the game starts each person choose a reserved automated spot on where to spawn and start their base. Obviously, its not shown to other players so no one knows where everyone is until they start using scouting units to explore the planet. Once the game starts, you’re able to use your commander robot that can build different buildings that range from defensive towers, economy, orbital and offense. You can also choose which robot you want to have before the game starts.
Majority of the players will start building their base by using their robot to ramp up their economy via energy and metal supply structures. Energy and metal are your main resources that you will use throughout the matches to effectively build up your army. Planetary Annihilation doesn’t use your resources right of the bat, instead it uses them over-time as you build and recruit units from robot factories, air factories and vehicle factories.
It’s a simple mechanic for a real-time strategy game, but yet somewhat different at the same time. As far as the offense goes, you can spawn robot units from a Bot Factory, vehicles such as tank and buggies from a Vehicle Factory, air units from Air Factory, and last but not least, naval units from a Naval Factory. You can wage war towards your enemies in any fashion you’d like, whether it be a combination of air assaults and frequent robot attacks or naval harassment with land units.
Players can also build orbital structures that can cause nukes and other weapons of mass destruction. The most fun part of Planetary Annihilation is watching a group of people marching their armies at the same location on a planet and destroying each-other all at once, seeing explosions everywhere and the anticipation of finding out who the last man standing is.
In Planetary Annihilation you can also play in teams such as 4v4, 2v2v2v2, 3v3, and of course a free for all with against 7 other players totaling up to 8 as I described earlier. You can host your own servers, join someone else and the game is also DRM free. Developers have also previously stated that the game will be mod-able, I am not sure if there any mods out right now considering the game is in early-access, but expect a vast modding community once the game launches officially.
I was quite satisfied with what I played and what the game is trying to achieve. Planetary Annihilation is an RTS game at heart, but with its own special flavor to the genre. If you’re looking for some fresh and new gameplay mechanics as soon as possible for your RTS needs, then give the game a shot on Steam’s Early-Access or else wait for the minor bugs to get fixed, have more features added to it and wait until the game launches making it more fun to explore.