Planetbase is a hard game that takes resource management to the next level. The purpose of the game is to build a colony on one of several planets with different levels of difficulty and keep it functional. Whilst building your colony, you have to take care of your colonist’s needs and welfare as events happen all around you. The game is not won conventionally, because even though you can amass all of the achievements on a specified planet, you will not win the game and can play endlessly with the colony you have created.
Different planets have a variety of complex issues to solve, and you might find that starting even one colonist short increases the difficulty massively. The first planet, class D has meteors and sandstorms that make it rather complicated, but it’s protected from some of the nastier issues.
The class F planet is the most beautiful, a cold ice world, which has a heavier reliance on wind turbines than solar panels that work with reduced efficiency. Blizzards regularly pelt your base and colonists and it can be a little harder to survive here, even though meteors are not an issue on this world.
The class M planet has no atmosphere and therefore wind turbines are unusable. You won’t realise how much you loved them until they are gone. You also have to deal with the true horror of Solar Flares, which will irradiate your colonists and eat medical supplies faster than I go through space raiders crisps.
Class S Planets are horrifying. Their surfaces covered in methane lakes and with reduced effectiveness for both solar panels and wind turbines and hideous thunderstorms, they make playing the game exceptionally hard.
Keeping colonists alive is complicated. You’ll need oxygen, water, food, and somewhere to prepare the food. You’ll need to have a medical bay for when they are injured, beds for them to sleep in, and more.
You’ll need to be able to manufacture resources as well, so that you can expand your colony, and whilst you can trade with people for supplies, you are always going to be losing out on the commission they charge, which can end up with you paying ludicrous prices just to get a few things you really need.
You will not only have to manage resources well, you’ll also have to manage your colonists’ actions as trading too much in a short space of time will result in them neglecting their normal duties, which could mean you run out of food and more! If overworked they may also become unhappy and work at a much slower pace, so you have to be smart about how often and when you trade.
You grow your colony by bringing in ships full of new colonists. These can replace the ones you accidentally kill or who are murdered by intruders. You need to be smart about who you are bringing on board, as poor food management will lead to the death of your colony. You will also find you need more oxygen and water and other things, so it’s important to keep an eye on your resources. As you can’t directly control colonists or their personal actions, you need to be really careful about when you decide to do certain things. For example, building or working in mines on a planet with solar flares is best done at night when they will be safe. Otherwise, your irradiated colonists will die horribly. I have yet to get two solar flares two days in a row, but you never really know with this game…
Power can be a real issue early on and it’s probably the most important thing. If you are struggling and you’ve run out of spares used to repair things, you might want to shut off unnecessary buildings during the night, or at times when you’re not using them.
These are just a few of the complicated things you have to balance in the game. It’s an absolute nightmare to play, but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun, and beating the harder planets and scenarios does fill you with a sense of achievement. Due to the complexity of managing so many different resources and how you have to manage them, you’ll find that Planetbase doesn’t just make you good at Planetbase, it makes you better at every RTS, as most of them have very limited resource options and a lot more control over how and when you access them.
One of the most impressive things about Planetbase for me was that sometimes I have immense problems recording graphics intensive games, and Planetbase allows for high graphics in a non resource hungry way. Planetbase is a quality product and will change the way you think about resource management in other games. It’s one of the best games I’ve paid for to date, and I highly recommend it! Planetbase gets a solid 8.5/10.