Review: Clash of the Planets
Clash of the Planets does sound like a Japanese anime series with your usual heroic space-soldiers defending against the forces of darkness that are encroaching into a solar system far far away. The great news is that this is exactly what is delivered on Windows Phone from developers ImpressWork. The only disappointment is you're never going to see those anime characters.
Version Reviewed: 18.104.22.168
Clash of the Planets is not a new game idea, it builds on two game concepts to deliver a very fast paced, yet strategic burst of action. The first is the board game Risk. As you look over the solar system, you control a number of the planets (which will be shaded in your colour), neutral planets ripe for conquest in gray, and those owned by the invading force. Each planet as a set amount of 'armies' as you start, and with a swipe of your finger, a number of them will be sent out to attack another planet.
This is the Risk-like bit. There are some random factors in play, but more armies will generally mean it is easier to weaken and hopefully wipe out all the armies on a planet, at which point it becomes your planet. And you do want to own planets, because over time planets will deliver more armies to replenish your forces. The more planets you have, the more powerful you are. The more powerful you are, the better chance you will have attacking the planets held by the enemy. It's a fight to extinction by the way, the first to wipe out the other is the victor.
Early levels shouldn't prove too much of a challenge as you build up reserves, but the challenge will build up quickly. When you launch an attack, you leave your base planet lightly defended, and that provides opportunities for your enemy (and the same is true when they attack with a swarm of armies, they've just created a weak point on the planet they are departing from).
It would be nice if you could set just how forces are divided. There are times I'd like to send a small raiding party of maybe 20% of a planet's armies, while there are other times when I want overwhelming force. I can do multiple swipes to send a number of waves out, so it is possible to do a larger attack, but it takes time.
And time is something in short supply. Unlike Risk, Clash of the Planets is played in real time. While you are setting up attacks, waiting for armies to be built up, or sweeping up the neutral planets, the computer AI is doing exactly the same. You'll need to keep an eye on every part of the game world. Thankfully it only takes up a single screen with no scrolling, but it's very easy to be focused on one area and miss something else that's happening - and that's game over.
Clash of the Planets is fast. A level can take maybe two or three minutes to play through, and while that may seem quite short, you will need to be very accurate and tactically aware. It doesn't take long to lose a game against a rather combative and astute computer AI. It's a steep learning curve, but it's one that I like. You won't finish the fifteen levels in a hurry, although it would be nice to see more, or maybe unlock a random level generator when the fifteen are cleared.
Available in either ad-supported or paid download versions, Clash of the Planets has a few rough edges which I would like to see tweaked. A bit of care and attention could give this a nice graphical look to go with a rewarding game. Right now some people might get put off with a purely functional user interface, but I hope they look beyond that. I think they'll like what they find.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at