7.13.2017

A Planet of Mine, the finest of 4X strategy on Android

Classic 4X strategy “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate” has always kept close ties as a genre to desktop PCs. Until now its mellowed down pace allowed sessions to become hours-long.  At a leisurely pace, accompanied by the odd 3AM dinner, players daydream about planetary commercial values serving as the hallmark of games that require a level of commitment rarely upheld by today’s players. Surprisingly enough, French Studio Tuesday Quest has rendered this same experience, compressing its baroque format onto Android successfully bringing 4X to life within the mobile realm. A Planet of Mine is so well adapted, in fact, it’s time we take a look at why.

Without belonging to the same genre or even presenting identical gameplay the formula involved bears a striking resemblance to what’s offered in The Battle of Polytopia, a game we’ve mentioned more than once as a brilliant way to bring the standards of the Civilization Saga to smartphones. The premise of the game, in addition to simplifying gameplay just enough to maintain its essence, was offered completely free of charge without in-game advertising or similar schemes. The way to monetize was to buy new civilizations to play with, and that’s exactly what A Planet of Mine does: offer the entire gaming experience to, if we like, expand with twelve different races plus the four originally offered at the beginning. All that along with seemingly infinite gameplay makes this purchase more than justified if you end up hooked.

Genre connoisseurs whether from the annals of history with the Master of Orion or old dogs that continue on the crest of the wave destroying planets in Stellaris, will quickly recognize what needs to be tended to. Each planet is shown in a sectioned way similar to a piece of pie where you create different types of structures in each of the spaces. Efficiency varies depending on the area where you place each element, so if you build a well in the middle of a desert area.. Son, you’re playing the fool and would do well in just sticking to Clash Royale.

From this simple formula a whole system is elaborated, with a indecently large supply of resource types, and a myriad of ways of using them. Perhaps you’re interested in exploiting water resources on your  planet and use them to generate energy in a factory instead of resorting to other more contaminating energy sources. Or maybe you’d prefer to focus on kneading huge amounts of seemingly trivial matter to trade with other tribes once you’ve made contact. Does this ring a bell? All signs point to yes. Constructing buildings to increase the maximum population of a planet, or to collecting civilization points and knowledge to level up  from a certain age activates a series of perks to specially train your people according to a grounded formula for expansion that is certainly not alien terrain to well seasoned players.

Once you’ve invented fuel, send a crew to plot colonies on some of the nearby planets, although surely AI ​​has done the same and you’ll come across a few roadblocks on your way to interplanetary expansion. At a certain point, you’ll find there is no other way around it and will be forced to deploy a few planetary bombs to make your space in the galaxy.

Games and planet characteristics are set totally at random, but you can participate in different modes to forge your expansion indiscriminately. By default, in addition to the tutorial, a “Discovery Mode”, gives you 300 rounds to earn the highest possible score. This unit of time is quite loose and translates into a single rotation of the planet (whose speed is calibrated to your liking). Games like this allow you to create a few new colonies, have a run in with several alternate tribes and create a moderately imposing civilization. However to unlock the classic mode with unlimited time or one in which you’re forced to expand peacefully you’ll need the packs we mentioned earlier. To be exact, 2.29 €/$ unlocks a pack of three races and every game mode, but for a bit more at 5.49 you’ll also get access to all the content.

A Planet of Mine is a pleasant surprise the likes of which happen once in a blue moon, more so in a market as saturated and devoid of new ideas as is Android. There are other alternatives but not one of them actually pull off adapting quite this well to Android. For better or for worse, thoughts of that good old “one more round and off to bed” have once again snuck into the sleep deprived mind of Your’s Truly.

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