Preview: Infested Planet
The indie title Infested Planet made by developer Rocket Bear Games is a top down real time strategy game that is currently in the beta stages of development. The game begins with an extensive prologue that guides you through the mechanics of the game. Initially you control five marine like soldiers that are taking over areas in the map which are controlled by swarms of insect like creatures. Although these creatures are easily killed there are hundreds, if not thousands, up against you as they pour out from their spawning pools.
The game mechanics are very much easy to learn but a difficult affair to master. The game mechanics themselves are very easy to understand and the tutorial teaches you the basic and the finer points of gameplay. The main objective is to destroy and capture the bases of the creatures; however, there are some other objectives at times that will aid you in defeating your enemy. When a base is captured you receive BP, or Build Points. BP are the recourse of the game and allow you to build turrets, research improvements and upgrade the weapons of your troops. The game uses the normal RTS method of controlling troops by selecting them and right clicking on a particular location. One feature I would like to see in the game is the ability to hotkey units and upgrades. BP can also be collected from crates around maps and brought to the base for use. The reason I believe this is a hard to master game is that once the prologue is completed the game becomes much more difficult, although Rocket Bear Games plan to adjust the learning curve before its release so this is not that great of an issue. As you begin the campaign you find the creatures begin to mutate, for example having the ability to regenerate health as well as move quicker, and it is up to you to find out what is causing this mutation.
The design of the game is very much unique as it is a two dimensional RTS that has a top down view. It is clear that the game has been designed with a very particular style that can be seen throughout the game, from the menu to the creatures and to the maps themselves. The maps are again simplistic in their design and encourage the use of chokepoints as well as offering backdoors into the enemies base; however, the creatures are prepared for this and have placed mines on some of the pathways forcing you to either take the direct path towards the enemy, or take more time and clear out the minefield, putting your other bases and your men at risk.
The audio itself at times can be overpowering depending on the units that are shooting at the time. The audio of the gunfire is very solid, but it would be nice to have some minute variations in the sound of gunfire as the rifles do sound the same and it would be an improvement to have some gunfire that is of a lower pitch to give a better sense of realism as well as keep it from becoming stale. The music in the background is very suiting to the space theme as well as suiting the combat.
One major feature I would like to see in Infested Planet is multiplayer. I am unsure how well the game mechanic would hold up to the competitive multiplayer arena; however something such as a cooperative campaign would be an excellent addition.
Overall I find that this is a very unique and interesting game. The beautiful simplicity of Infested Planet allows gamers to jump in and experience the game. I am looking forward to seeing what is added for the release and would recommend this game, especially if you are interested in a slightly addictive RTS, as it is perfect to play during the summer period.