Interplanet starts off as a clever outer-space clash-like. Then it swerves when you realize your army is just a bunch of heroes, slowly leveling up. Then it goes nuts and turns into a persistent guild vs. guild conquer-the-galaxy.

The bases are very creative. Every building needs to connect through tubes, eventually to your HQ. Buildings come in different sizes, and 60-degree 3-way connectors exist, so things aren’t on a grid. There’s a real art to putting things where you want, connected. There are 2 races. The non-human one uses 5-way connectors — their bases are very geodesic-looking.

As a space game, everything attacks from longish range but it’s balanced nicely. Your “tough” spaceships still fly in front of your offensive ones, and about the usual number of defensive guns come into range as you advance. For spells, every ship has a 1-use special. Tough guys get a 6-second shield, archer’s get a mega-shot, the missile-ship launches a wide arc of doom. Traps are wonderful. You have 2 or 3 space mines, and that’s it, but the explosions are huge and deadly. Luckily the mine-sweeper special skill disarms mines in a large radius (as all skills, it has 1 use).

The army limit is funny. At first you have the basic point limit, allowing more and more ships. But there’s a hard limit of 15. I’m not sure what harm an army of 25 small ships would cause. But once you hit 15, all you can do is replace your cheap ships with more expensive ones. Now we’re in the problem area. The newer ships you get are simply better visions of tough-guys and archers. There’s not a lot of variety.

And we’re finally at the real problem. It’s a hero game. Your ships don’t die, and need to be leveled-up and upgraded from C to B to A to be useful. It takes lots of time and space-gold to get a useful ship. You’re locked into using your 15 good ships in every attack (I tried easy raids with 15 cheap-o ships. Died too fast without getting much loot).

The game is old-school about how often you can attack. Damaged ships need time to repair. At mid-level destroyed ships take 12 minutes, and at least one ship is always destroyed. It’s a 12-minute wait between battles. It also costs money, lots of money. A fully destroyed fleet will bankrupt you.

The game has some minor silliness. The buildings, even the guns, look alike – lots of shiny grey. I think they realized this too late, so now defensive buildings have crisp icons over them during attacks. Weapons also have a paper/rock/scissors mechanic against types of armour. You can’t do much with it though. It’s best ignored. The gold-targeting “goblin” spaceship doesn’t even have the weapon type that hurts gold vaults more.

There’s a really cool feature allowing you to fly your base next to a planet. Normally you’re in black, empty space. If you build and upgrade the planet-finding building and do a day-long planetary survey, you can move your base. All you have to do is beat the computer-controlled base guarding it. Once there you get bonuses to production for a few days. You see the bonuses in advance, so you get into a cycle of researching a few candidate planets before you have to move again. The art is beautiful “majesty of space” 2.5D style. Finding a planet is worth it for that alone.

Eventually, you unlock Conquest Mode. It’s a different game. There’s one big map where every guild fights over the best planets. You bring in your spaceships but they’re completely different: the stats are different, attacking a planet takes hours of travel, and battles are text reports. It’s another version of Game of War:Fire Age. As usual, the strongest guilds camp out on the best planets, getting the best spaceship equipment, pilots, and so on. You need to keep on with the clash-like part since ships come from there. So now you’re playing 2 different games at once. I don’t see the point. How many people want to mix a 3-minute casual action game with an ultra-competitive action-less one?

I should have known there was a problem early on. The game showers you with free gold. That’s always a bad sign. After a full month I had upgrades I couldn’t possibly steal enough gold for, except for the saved-up free gold packs in my mailbox. When a game isn’t interested in having you just play it that’s a sign they know it’s not fun.