[Game]PlanetStorm : Fallen Horizon

“PlanetStorm: Fallen Horizon” is mostly a 1/2-done version of Boom Beach, but it has some very nice parts.

It has two unique races. The troops are different, and they’re fine. But the defenses are really cool. The humans have a flamer — units take damage for a few seconds after being hit. The space-elves (more on that later) version is an electro-tower. Hits jump to several further targets, shredding archers hiding behind a tough-guy. The humans longest range weapon is an area-effect shotgun, while the space elves is a continuous-damage single-target beam weapon. The humans second cannon is pretty cool – every few seconds it picks one target and, over a second, fires 4 red blasts at it. The trickiest part is remembering how the other side’s weapons work.

The resources are carbon, iridium and uranium, mined from your asteroid (you base is a small asteroid). Wikipedia says carbon and iridium are what actual asteroid miners would probably dig for. This game is educational.

The intro is really something. First your derelict spaceship’s AI snidely rebukes you for fighting every scavenger you meet, sustaining all this damage. Your only hope is crash-landing on an abandoned mining asteroid (where the remains of your space ship become your HQ). A gruff drill sergeant yells at you for trespassing, then offers you some advanced units for an attack. You play through the battle. Next, a woman in low-cut space-elf armour does the same thing. After that battle your ship’s AI relays an overheard conversation about you being the chosen savior of the galaxy. Then you choose your race. Humans have “overwhelming power” and space elves have “high-tech”. Huh.

Next are some duds. You get 1 leader. There’s no explanation, no building, no way to upgrade it or even see stats. It just shows up for battles. This game also half-way uses the people/mech upgrade building idea. You get an overall upgrade building, then one for only machine troops, and a third for only human troops. The better scheme loses the first building — heavy tanks are completely serviced in the heavy tank building, and so on. There are also frequent guild events where only the top-scoring guilds get anything. I’m not a fan of those (even though my guild full of randoms came in 8th).

The most impressive things about PlanetStorm are the battle maps. The game studio, Aykiro, lists employees under two categories, Game Developers and Artists. Now I see why. One battle map is a raised rocky ring surrounded by talon-like rocks, a round pit-like moat then the blackness of space, with scorpions crawling in the pit. Another is an asteroid top in a beautiful panoramic view of an asteroid field, with meteors streaking by, exploding when they hit something. Another is a grassy island in a river with waterfalls – 2 baby dinos wander along a ledge and check you out; while a rare spiderpion walks out of a cave and back. The ice-floes area has a fat lizard man walking behind the ice piles, while angry yeti wander the snowy edges, roaring. My home base has a giant prowling sandwurm and a migrating dust tornado.

Even the main map has a Barbarella feel with churning brightly colored dust clouds and parallax as you slide the screen. It’s by far the most work I’ve ever seen on the environment in a game like this.