Infested Planet is strategy game from independent developer Rocket Bear Games which is available on steam. Where you have the ability to take charge of 5 soldiers while taking on a barrage of enemies. Infested Planet is not your typical destroy and shoot up everything in your path, but playing with stealth and strategy makes this fun. Infested Planet reminds me of another great strategy game available through steam in the Banner Saga.
A squad of battle hardened marines arrives on the surface of a hostile planet. Something’s not quite right. There’s a foul stench in the air. It smells like death and decay. In the distance, they see a rustling in the vegetation. A grotesque, twisted, nightmarish creature bursts forth. Only, it’s not alone. In its wake, thousands of ghoulish creatures assault the marines. Armed with their wits, and some big, big guns, they must survive. Sound familiar? If you’ve seen even a single sci-fi monster film, it probably does. But as Infested Planet shows, familiarity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And when it comes down to it, slaughtering hordes of alien monsters is always fun. Infested Planet takes a different approach to the marines vs. aliens trope – by making the game about strategy, not pointing and shooting.
You are in command of a band of soldiers that must fight their way through seemingly endless hordes of alien monsters. These aren’t mindless foes, either. The aliens set up bases in different parts of the map, and attack in waves of varying numbers. To truly gain control of the map, you must eliminate an alien hive and claim it for your own. But the battles in Infested Planet are rarely this simple.
The Game Play:
During certain missions, you will have to storm the enemy territory and wipe it off the face of the earth. In other scenarios, your base will be assaulted by massive enemy forces, and you will have to marshal your resources cleverly to keep your base from getting run over. If you make the wrong move, and send one of your squads to quell off a wave too late, you might end up losing your base. This is what makes battles in Infested Planet so thrilling. You might think you have the situation under control, only to unwillingly see your troops run into a gigantic enemy force, shifting the balance of the battle completely.
Control of the map ebbs and flows in this game. You have to think on your feet and commandeer the right units to the right places at the right times. In some cases, you might have to defend your base from three or four directions simultaneously. The enemy bases keep spitting out wave after wave of lurching creatures that make beelines for your base. If you panic during the heat of battle, you will have to pay the price. In the highest intensity scenarios, this game often comes down to making split-second decisions that will determine victory or defeat.
In addition, you can’t just win by brute force, either. Your resources are limited, and you will have to be picky with what upgrades and additional structures you choose to build. Each map starts you off with a Spartan squad of five marines and a small, unassuming base. These are enough to quell off the first few enemy waves, but you will have to beef up your defenses quickly. To ensure a steady stream of resources that will allow you to build these defenses, you have to scour the map for alien bases you can overcome and claim for your own. Resources are also found in containers that are scattered all over the map, so don’t forget to keep scouting. In the harder stages, you will need every single point of every resource you can muster. Often, you will frantically be looking at the screen, clicking the build icon furiously, as you wait for the last 5 or 10 points of a particular resource that will allow you to spawn a particular unit.
The enemy isn’t just a series of mindless face-eating drones, either. You will have to contend with different enemy types and special kinds of units that can multiply in battle or trigger mines on the battlefield. In addition, once you destroy a particular enemy hive, you will often have to face a quick retaliation that you must survive. Infested Planet really gives you the feeling that each individual mission you play is part of a much larger, global war. And it’s often unforgiving tough. However, you can always understand by the end of a level what you did wrong, and you can go back and try to correct your mistakes. You also get to keep whatever cash you earned during a particular level, even if you were defeated. You can use the money to unlock new units, upgrades and structures.
In every battle, you have to make a series of choices that have their own pros and cons. Do you choose to upgrade your soldiers and have fewer, but more powerful units on the field? Or do you prefer to spawn greater numbers of cheaper, but weaker soldiers? The choices you make will depend upon the situation you find yourself in at any given moment, as well as what kind of resources you have available at the given point in time. You have a wide variety of soldiers you can choose to send into battle, such as snipers, flamethrowers, leaders and shotgun-wielders. If you’ve played RTS games before, this dynamic will be very familiar to you. While the upgrades' menu doesn’t have the depth of say a Blizzard game, it still offers enough variety to keep things interesting.
Infested Planet breathes some life into the alien shooter genre by mixing familiar elements with some smart gameplay choices. It’s not the most complex RTS, and this is good news for people who are just casual gamers. The graphics are colorful, and watching your troops mow down thousands of enemy troops is a lot of fun. If you’ve been waiting for an alien game with a twist, Infested Planet is the game for you.
Infested Planet Game Review Score: 8.0 out 10