By Jeffrey Alleman
During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, I was fortunate enough to get a hands-on demo of Age of Wonders: Planetfall from Triumph Studios. I had seen some trailers of the game and was slightly interested, but after the demo this game is a must buy.
For those of you who are not familiar with Planetfall, it is another entry into the turn-based strategy series, Age of Wonders. The player(s) moves his faction about the map: conquering territories, collecting resources, and advancing his civilization through numerous tiers of development. It is immediately familiar to anyone who has played any of the Civilization series.
What made Planetfall stand out to me was the turn-based combat system. Just like other games of the genre, players can choose whether to engage in combat when prompted, or simply simulate the engagement if they think that their forces are enough to overwhelm the enemy. Engaging in combat in Planetfall takes the player down to the battlefield that is reminiscent of the XCOM series. Each side takes a turn to move their forces from cover to cover, attack, or even set up in overwatch positions to get an attack of opportunity should an enemy move into their line of fire. For strategic players, this is an incredible system.
Playing as the Vanguard, a human military-like faction, I was able to send out a scout vehicle to spot enemies on the battlefield. The enemies in this encounter seemed to be A.I. robots, possibly from a civilization that used to inhabit the planet. The scout unit allowed me to choose the best route for my soldiers to maximize flanking, which provides a boost to hit chance (familiar to XCOM players), and I was able to destroy all enemy units while only losing a few soldiers myself.
Heading back up to the world map, players can play the story mode in single player to discover the many mysteries Planetfall has in store or engage with other players in intense multiplayer matches. One of the draws to Planetfall’s multiplayer is, although it is a turn-based game, every player in a multiplayer match can move immediately as each round begins. This can be beneficial for those impulsive players who like to move immediately, securing a facility and forcing another player who may have been looking to occupy that space to come take it from their entrenched position.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a fantastic mix of Civilization world building, and strategic XCOM combat set to release August 6th of this year. If the game is anything like the hands-on demo I experienced, this game will be a great addition to any strategic player’s stable of games.
Jeffrey Alleman is an aspiring games journalist currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Video Game Studies. You can watch him stream at https://mixer.com/IRownanI