There is nothing simple about releasing a successful strategy game in 2019, trying to pull in a new generation of gamers while still giving veterans a satisfying experience.
Striking a balance between engaging, tactical turn-based combat and a deep sea of world-building as well as customization for hardcore 4X fans to dive into, Triumph Studios has pulled it off with Age of Wonders: Planetfall, their latest futuristic installment in the Age of Wonders franchise.
While Planetfall‘s core mechanic is undoubtedly the turn-based, XCOM-flavored battles players will engage in frequently, the complexity and sheer scale associated with the 4X tag has a way of intimidating potential gamers. Triumph makes jumping in easy by absolutely nailing the tutorial here. Fans of the genre and newcomers alike will find it both comprehensive and easy to follow, introducing you to the game’s systems one step at a time via your own voiced personal assistant.
Players returning to the franchise will enjoy how the newest Planetfall handles resources and empire expansion via the sector system. While there are important decisions to be made to properly manage your borders, tech and resource generation, players won’t find themselves as potentially hamstrung by the gorgeous randomly-generated world’s offerings, always allowing for creative solutions that support your chosen faction and style of play.
As mentioned, the meat of the game is the combat, so much so that some hardcore 4X fans might find Age of Wonders: Planetfall somewhat lacking in the diplomatic styles of play that defines the genre. There will be alien blood. That being said, a large part of the game’s customization and complexity comes in the form of how you choose to populate and outfit your armies.
Each of the six playable factions offer a fair amount of combat units to choose from, led by heroes and complemented by a familiar tech tree to navigate. Things get deep with the addition of the mods system. Hero units can equip unique weapons and even pilot vehicles, and all units have slots ready to accept hot-swappable modifications that uniquely alter and enhance that unit’s capabilities, allowing for a very wide variety of army compositions and strategies, even using the exact same base units.
Graphically, Planetfall does just fine. With the available settings cranked up to the max, the game offers satisfying visuals. Enthusiasts likely won’t be writing home about them, but the worlds and battlefields you’ll be looking down on for hours are colorful and comfortable on the eyes. Should gamers with older systems want to jump in, the game is well optimized.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a welcome addition to the franchise and is definitely worth a purchase for any gamer interested in tactical, turn-based combat supplemented by deep and satisfying customization options. Don’t let the 4X tag scare you. Jump in!