Planetbase Review

Planetbase Review

  • about 2 years ago by Jason Magee

Highlights

  • Objectives to aim for allowing progression
  • Nice idea

Lowlights

  • Unable to come back from any kind of failure
  • Not enough depth
  • Information not shown in accessible way

Planetbase is a space colony management game created by Madrugaworks.

Management is done from a 3D top down perspective, typical of the genre. You begin with you ship alongside group of humans and robots of different skillsets. The first step is to build the bear necessities in order to survive and as you’re on an alien planet this involves things like oxygen, power and water. Some buildings are indoors like the canteen and dorm which you connect via corridors for people to walk though and others are external such as solar panels and landing pads. A airlock is required to enter and leave the indoor areas.

The second step is to construct buildings to keep your humans alive such as the canteen to make meals, bio-dome to grow plants and dorm to sleep in. After that you’ll start trying to build other structures that are less essential but a required to survive long term like the command centre and medical bays. Often you need to also create and place facilities inside the buildings like tables, tv screens, types of vegetable racks, metal processors, etc.

Rather than simply placing you into the world with no real goals, which a lot of management games tend to do, Planetbase has a series of objectives to achieve in order to progress onto more difficult planets. Alongside the normal progression mode, there is also a bunch of challenges you can pick from and attempt to complete.

I found myself doing quite well each time until I built one building too many causing the base to run out of oxygen or only supplying one type of food and causing malnutrition for everyone. Essentially - any failure is game over. Sadly, almost all of the failures can be attributed to being unable to easily tell the state of a resource supply (oxygen, water, power) and being completely unaware of some mechanic until too late (malnutrition - I got a tip telling about it but it was already too late).

Beyond being a bit on the bland side, Planetbase’s graphics are fine. The audio is definitely on the dull side, as I couldn’t even remember if it had any at the time of writing this review.

I didn’t experience any obvious bugs. I say that because on more than one occasion I was left wondering “wtf” by colonist actions. For example, on one occasion, despite having all the materials, they just refused to deliver them to the construction area. On another occasion, having run out of spare parts, I gave priority to the spare parts machine but my colonists kept delivering the resources it needed to another project eventually causing the power to fail.

I feel pretty bad about this verdict as a lot of effort has clearly gone into Planetbase but the game just isn’t cooked for me, if it was early access it would be a different story. The mechanics don’t have a lot of depth and I can attribute all my failings to the poor way information is fed to you. Being unable to recover from failings, however minor, was the nail in the coffin for me.