Planetary Defense Force Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Title: Planetary Defense Force
Developer: Blue Sunset Games
Publisher: Blue Sunset Games
Website: http://www.bluesunsetgames.com/
Genre: Shooter, Action, Arcade, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 07/01/2020
Price: £3.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

Planetary Defense Force bills itself as a hybrid between a twin-stick shooter, tower defence and base building game with colourful graphics, huge bosses and a science fiction feel. Your race to defend a planet against waves of enemies while maintaining the defences and zooming over the planet’s surface.

I’ve played games of all kinds for over twenty-five years and I have to be honest, I’m not sure where to start with this game. In all honesty, it’s not a bad game but it just seems to try and fit too much into such a small package with no real learning curve. It does a lot of things badly instead of concentrating on what could have been a solid two stick shooter or tower defence game.

You start each planet with a tutorial which basically asks you to place a set building on one of around 12 points on the planet’s surface. These range from solar panels to drone factories, and from what I could see in my few hours of the game, don’t really do much. But again, this maybe comes back to the little to no guide or information on what you’re doing and why.

Once you have spent your virtual money buying the various buildings etc. you then go into a power tunnel which sticks you on the planet’s atmosphere. Once again, you can add defence towers to help you protect the planet. These vary from pulse cannons to rocket launchers and then various enemies drop down across the 360’ surface, so you use your laser gun to kill them before they destroy your planet. You’re guided by some white arrows which show you the direction of the enemies and have, from what I could see in my few hours playing the game, a gun that shoots a steady stream of bullets.

You can pass or fail the level by killing all the enemies, or by the planet being damaged or obviously from dying. The problem I found here was I didn’t really have any idea if I was failing the level or not until the end screen. There seemed to also be no real feedback when I was being shot which made judging your skill level very hard.

At the top of the screen is a green planet life bar which depletes the more the enemies damage it. The various defence and energy gathering buildings use a virtual currency called energy, which goes up as you play and kill things meaning, you can add more cannons to the atmosphere or more energy gathering resources to the planet.

It seemed a lot more beneficial to build as many defence cannons as possible to defend the planet over trying to kill everyone yourself, as although you do help, the twin shooting mechanic was somewhat the weakest part of the game. As you progress through each level on each planet, you eventually fight the boss and then clear the planet moving onto the next one. Other than this campaign you also have the option of Endless mode which sees you defend the planet until you can no more for that high-score.

The game has no multiplayer option and is a solo game, with the campaign having 5 planets with 7 mission or levels on each. Once you master the building part of the game, it should maybe keep you busy for 4/5 hours, and for the price of a mobile game, I guess this is good value for money.

I started this review saying I don’t know where to start and this is the part where I will discuss why. This game tries to fit so much into a small package that it really doesn’t do any one part well. You have very basic base building along with a tower defence mode that needs some serious work if you stick it up against nearly any other game of that type, and the twin shooting just does not work. I think if they had put a lot more time into making this a planet tower defence game, they would have a hit but trying to do so much has really hampered it.

Graphically it looks like a comic book with the thick black outline and the bright colourful monsters and characters, but the sound, on the other hand, you may wish to turn off as the repetitive blaster sound does grind on you after a few minutes.

Verdict

This game just tries to fill too many boxes and unfortunately, a great idea fails. It does none of the three gaming mechanics well and the learning curve is somewhat steep as you learn how to play the game by constantly failing. The graphics are decent but the sound is dreadful. If you want a tower defence game I would avoid this one. If you want a base building game again avoid and unfortunately the same applies if you fancied a two-stick shooter for your Switch. If you want something different that would maybe kill off 10 minutes of time, maybe give it a try as hopefully with some sales the sequel will be a better game with an idea of what it wants to be. It’s currently already got 25% off on the Switch store so for under £3 you may wish to try it yourself.

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can buy Planetary Defense Force from the following places
eShop

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

About Alex Barber

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