- Manufacturer: Madruga Works
- Publisher: Madruga Works
- Genre: Real Time Strategy
- Release Date:03.5.2017
- Platforms: Xbox One, Windows
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
Planetbase is an easy to play survival sim on world to be colonised. There’s a few simple game options, and an optional tutorial which will guide you through the first few stages of base building and to help you get to grip with the controls. When you choose to start a new game, you’re able to choose where on the planet you want to land, though so far I didn’t really notice a difference once you’re on the ground, no matter where I chose.
The game starts with your shuttle lander settling on the surface and a few guys and robots pop out. From here it’s all up to you. You have to build a base which can keep everyone alive whilst also managing resources and building up credits by bartering with trader ships who land periodically – though you need a landing pad for this. Power is supplied by solar and wind, water is collected by an extractor, and oxygen is produced by the first dome you create, where it all begins.
When you build the base you have the choice of two different types of buildings, internal – where the peeps can wander around; and external – such as the solar panels. Access from these two are by means of an airlock, as general maintenance is required on all structures, particularly if you’re hit by an asteroid.
The interface is really good as it’s mostly a wheel driven menu, so learning how to build is simple, but sometimes how to build isn’t. I must admit, I have managed to asphyxiate all my guys by forgetting to install an airlock and I’ve starved them all to death because I ran out of water. These failures often relate to my bad planning which ends up a single forgotten item cascading along the line to utter catastrophe and having to restart. What I won’t admit is how many times I’ve restarted, it’s shameful.
Resource management is the tricky part, it’s not easy to know what you currently have, or how much you need of something. You can look at the details for your wind turbine, but it’s not clear what those details mean. You don’t know how many more buildings your oxygen generator can handle, or how many more crops you can plant before you run out of water. I was constantly running out of metal too, which slows down construction of just about anything considerably. Without checking in the help menu very often, it’s hard to remember what all the different resource icons mean, it’s a bit of a learning curve which almost goes against what the rest of this game is trying to achieve.
Progression in the game is based around milestones, when you reach a certain amount you’re able to unlock the next planet, which in turn is a harder difficulty. There’s 4 in total. The first is a desert planet, then comes frozen, gas giant, and then storm. Each one will need to be managed differently in order to succeed.
Graphically it’s easy on the eyes, there’s nothing really complex happening so the framerate is high, and you have the option of viewing your domes with or without the glass roofs, which I thought was a nice touch. The audio is remarkably similar to the graphics, they’re simply OK. Nothing ground-breaking, everything is there, though it just lacks a little depth. There are sound effects for all the bits and bobs around your complex and they become more apparent when you zoom in, however the music can be just a little repetitive.
When I begun this game I didn’t think it would keep my attention for too long, but I realised I was slowly building up an idea of exactly how my base needed to go, to not overstretch my resources, place the right buildings next to each other, keep the mining going and after a few restarts I ended up with a nice base. It was all going really well, and then they all died of starvation. Again.
Strikingly, this didn’t put me off though, it doesn’t take all that long to get to a stage where things are quite complicated so I went straight back into it, determined to get further, and remember the mistakes I make previously. I found it oddly addictive, and for anyone who likes sims like this, I’d urge them to give it a try.