Planetary Annihilation is so gosh darned neat. It’s still in alpha stages of development, but hot damn it’s fun to mess around with. It’s from the makers of Supreme Commander, if I recall correctly. If not, the two games are extremely similar regarding basic mechanics, and I expect several grudges will be held upon full release. Let us hope that the former is the case.
Planetary Annihilation is true to its name; throughout the course of your top-down RTS-style skirmish, you may wreak utter havoc on the planetoid you occupy by one or many means made available to you through the tiered construction system. Some of these options include artillery cannons, satellite cannons, super units, and using massive rocket engines to redirect meteors. You can engineer the cataclysm, man.
At the moment, the meteor feature is still in development, so even if you pay the $50 support purchase, you won’t have access to all the good stuff. That’s what alpha stage is all about, anyway: Bug reporting, testing, etc.
Aside from the outer space features, Planetary Annihilation plays exactly like Supreme Commander. You have a Commander unit that is capable of building rudimentary structures. You have to maintain your Mass and Energy by constructing the appropriate buildings, and then defend those buildings with land, air, or sea units. I haven’t come across any planets that support naval warfare yet, so I’m assuming that too is a feature-to-be.
Newcomers beware. This genre of RTS includes micro-macro unit and resource management. The more fronts you fight on, the better chances you have of winning. The AI has no difficulty setting yet, which means they can and will utterly overwhelm you within ten minutes of base-building if you lack base defenses or a substantial number of nearby units. The air-harass is strong, and the swarms of mass-produced ground units is stronger. It might be better to play with a friend and optimize your build schema before diving into battle with multi-taskmaster AI foes. Or you can suicide run until you figure things out, your call.
As neat as the concept of planetary warfare is, I would not recommend purchasing Planetary Annihilation now unless you are a dedicated fan of this sort of game, or you have the money to spare and you don’t mind a pre-release gamble.
Oh, and before I let this thing taper off, older computers may have severe video card issues with this one. Non-loading textures, models, that sort of thing. “Work in progress” cannot be stressed enough! No alt review because alpha. That’s all, folks.