Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition (PC) Review

By Eric 07.08.2017

Review for Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition on PC

Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition is a modern take on the old artillery games of picking an angle and power and trying to kill the other person. In this game, it is now on a solar system scale, and players build railguns to shoot the other planets down. Accounting for gravity wells, they must make shots around other planets and the sun, trying to be the last planet left.

Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition demonstrates that you can have both style and a cool idea, but if it lacks substance the game still turns out mediocre. This game has so much going for it to be an enjoyable rehash of the old school artillery 2D games that it is frustrating it failed on such a simple level. At first glance, the game looks great; it has cool flavour text about civilians hiding in bunkers, and or military-style music playing, but it just never gets on its feet in any way at all.

At its core, this is a modernised take on artillery titles, which grant players a little cannon or something similar, picking a random trajectory and power, and then firing - trying to kill everyone else. The games were partly trial and error, but each shot was closer and closer than the last as the participants dial in. A single turn went fast, and even if you were losing, it was still some degree of fun.

Screenshot for Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition on PC

Interplanetary takes it to a very deep level. Now, the cannons are entire worlds, complete with cities, infrastructure, and an entire 3D surface to bomb. There are various weapons, upgrades, and even a research tree, all in the name of bombing the other planets to death. All this is added, but they forgot to make sure it was still fun.

The problems are many in this game. From the fact that there are constant UI glitches like tooltips and boxes that persist to other screens, various guides/lines randomly stopping showing, and so on, the issues compound badly. The camera acts incredibly unreliably, such as simply wanting to shift the position while lining up a shot, but instead clicking to randomly planets.

Screenshot for Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition on PC

The entire premise of the game is to launch shots from your planet and kill the others, but it rapidly devolves into an exercise of frustration. Players select an angle and power for their cannons, and there is a guiding line showing the various gravity well effects of other planets. It is kind of cool at the start, seeing the shots go wide and whip around the solar system. Later, when the game has been dragging on for hours, it is no longer fun because they still cannot be aimed beyond just luck.

To start with, the guiding line is largely useless, as planets move fairly fast (and despite this being a railgun, the bullets don't move much faster than a planet revolving around the sun), so even a good guess often flies wild. Given that planets move, there is not even the learning aspect to placing better shots; from beginning to end, shots are just launched completely by random. There is a missile weapon early on that has some degree of guidance to it, and for this reason alone it blows away every other weapon in the game.

Screenshot for Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition on PC

There is a tech tree that unlocks new buildings, new upgrades, new weapons, and more. The planet simulates an entire world full of building infrastructure. Unfortunately, despite so many options, it actually makes Interplanetary worse. There is simply too much going on. Every building has to be hooked into the power grid, and each building can be upgraded. It is great from a point of view of building a perfect little city, but given how random combat is, suddenly a rocket hits right in the middle of a key sector and everything is without power.

This presents incredible problems due to random swings of luck. In the original games, usually there would be several rounds, so even a lucky hit would not mean the end of everything. In this game - even late game - a hundred rounds can sail right past, but a single one can hit and do irreparable damage. Given late game often has 10 or more warnings about disconnected buildings and so on, it largely does not matter anymore. The player realises that it never was about picking the right upgrade, or building the perfect city. All of it can end at any time, and the last thing they want to do is spend fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to reconnect some random building deep in the power grid.

Screenshot for Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Despite trying to harken back to a simpler and fun time in gaming, Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition adds unnecessary complication to a game that is broken to begin with. The style is unique and enjoyable, but the root of the game - firing shots to kill the others - is so broken and frustrating it is recommended to stay away. The simulation part is simply too complex, too prone to random luck, killing everything anyway, and shot placement is so horrendously bad the only thing keeping a player going is perhaps wanting to beat it once to never touch it again.

Developer

Team Jolly Roger

Publisher

Team17

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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