Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Star Kings (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 25.02.2021

Review for Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Star Kings on PC

Paradox Interactive, publisher of massive strategy games like Stellaris and the base game for this DLC, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, always has tons of DLC for their games. While sometimes the DLC seems less than you pay for, in the DLC checked out for Planetfall, the addition of a new sci-fi knight race is just outright fun and cool. Playing a type of galactic peace-maker, players have to try to uplift and protect the citizens from the darkness of the galaxy.

Planetfall is a great game held back by some issues, that if fixed, would make the game truly stand out. While this review will focus mostly on the DLC, some of these problems still have to be touched on. Star Kings expansion adds a new race, the 'Oathbound' - a type of galactic feudal society of heroic knights charged with protecting their citizens. Personally expecting a cheesy dialogue, it was a welcome relief and actually pretty cool seeing how straight the knight trope was played.

The Oathbound revolve around their knight units, and in a world with crazy aliens and ranged units, this might seem like kind of a bad idea. However, they get around this with their huge robotic mechs towering over everything else with their huge swords and shields. Impractical? Sure. Yet it was still just really cool having this future set of scifi knights with their bows, swords and spears cutting down the darkness in front of them.

The trope is played remarkably straight, and it was a welcome relief to have the knights in their campaign talk realistically about the threats they face. It was also interesting hearing the trials the leaders have to go through such as their renunciation of family and material goods, it added some depth to the lore. The campaign features this in part dealing with dreams that are reflections of the subconscious coming to grips with the path in life.

Screenshot for Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Star Kings on PC

In combat most of the units are melee orientated, with some support units focused on helping defense and to weaken enemies. One of the main traits of the Oathbound is generally they get bonuses being close to each other, from auras, to shield overlaps, to outright better defence the more of them are adjacent. While having the basic small human units feels vulnerable against the aliens' hordes, fielding some of the huge mechs makes the battles feel manageable. In practice, they are very good with their tight defence, healing and power.

There are some things the whole game could use improvement on. Controls work, but it happens far more than necessary where a mis-click (because a unit was thought highlighted or vice versa) sends them into death and ruins the whole battle. A one-per-battle rewind would be a huge improvement. Some other issues are the maps are really congested, it'd be nice to have a graphics overhaul dropping some of the background so things popped out more. Lastly, the other thing that would really make this game come alive is if the general speed of the map and battles were somehow improved, as a single map is a 10-20 hour experience at least.

Screenshot for Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Star Kings on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Strictly just as an expansion, this one is pretty good. The new race is just all around fun to play. The lore is played straight, and there is something undeniably fun about using these huge mechs to sword slash the evil masses apart. Planetfall remains a fun game overall, but a few lingering UI issues and design choices hold it back from being really great.

Developer

Triumph Studios

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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