Infested Planet is a point capture and defense RTS and is developed by Rocket Bear Games. During a basic level, you will start out with 5 machine gun marines. They can be given a move command, taking them to the destination, or an attack move command which will cause them to attack while moving. Shift can be used to create complex paths or orders for your soldiers, instead of them just moving in a straight line. All soldiers come with a grenade launcher, which you can activate to attack any building in range as long as you have enough ammo to do so. For the most part, they are actually fairly intelligent and will target the most efficient enemy, such as killing towers first. If a soldier dies out in the field, they aren’t lost forever and are instead spawned at a nearby point that you own. The respawn time depends on which gun they are currently using, better ones causing them to take a while to respawn.
There are two resources that you need to keep an eye on while playing Infested Planet. Ammo is a consumable resource that allows your soldiers to use grenades and will also enable stronger structures and technologies such as the siege turret or helipad to function. It will slowly regenerate over time, though you can find yellow ammo crates scattered on maps or even build the ammo technology which will double how much ammo you can accumulate and will cause enemies to sometimes drop ammo as well. BP is the most important resource as it allows you to become stronger through better guns for your soldiers and building technologies. It is earned everytime that you are able to capture a point from the aliens, as well as found in purple crates that you must drag back to a point that you own.
Your soldiers will start out with simple machine guns at the beginning of a mission, but with enough BP you can upgrade them to stronger and more unique tools of destruction. Fusion will allow your soldiers to use shotguns, which are deadly against groups but aren’t very good against single targets. Medics will passively heal one target at a time, while carrying around a grenade launcher with them. Scouts are very fast and weak units that can go invisible to disrupt the enemy hives. Flamethrowers are resistant to damage and can mow through hordes of enemies with ease. Snipers have long range weapons and are very strong against the smaller towers around alien hives. Minigunners have the best durability and massive gun, but are very slow and can’t throw grenades.
Turrets and other helpful devices are available to build while playing Infested Planet to help you defend or assault points. Three types of turrets exist, such as basic bullet and mortar turrets, to the massive siege cannon that can kill a hive all on its own. Defensive mine fields and even large shields that cover a huge areas can be deployed to make sure key points stay owned by you. Helpful teleport pads that let you travel between them and even a robot buddy that a soldier can tow behind them can also be deployed.
Technologies may be researched and are additional buildings that can be constructed with BP anywhere on the map and gives your soldiers and buildings passives that last while they are still standing. Offensive technologies such as grenades and helipad allow you to dish out tremendous damage to the enemies. Some defenseive technologies that you can build include health regeneration and the sharing of health between all of your soldiers.
The aliens that you encounter on the Infested Planet behave simply, but you must look out when they gain mutations. At first, the aliens just have hives scattered around on a map with smaller towers around them that either spawn more crawlers or shoot poison projectiles at your soldiers. Hives will send their crawlers at times to the nearest points that you have captured, so you must make sure you are defending every opening that you may have. If you don’t destroy the hives fast enough, they will rebuild the smaller towers around them for you to deal with again. The aliens are able to recapture points that they have lost to you and will rebuild a weaker version of a hive on them if you aren’t careful. Some hives have been able to capture human structures to use against you, such as turrets and even a shield.
When you destroy a hive of the aliens, it may cause the rest of the aliens on the map to gain a mutation. These are basically passive buffs that last for the rest of that mission or skirmish. With over 30 mutations currently in Infested Planet, your success and enjoyment of your mission is highly dependant on which mutations you get. A single mutation can possibly make your mission much more challenging than normal, such as the basic aliens gaining a ranged attack, or you may be lucky and get a bunch of weaker mutations that don’t add much challenge, such as the spore mines or counterattack.
Some missions will have crates scattered on them, and it is wise to pick them up. Only seen on campaign missions, large light blue crates will allow one of your soldiers to upgrade their gun for free to whichever gun was specified for that mission. Small yellow crates will refill your ammo completely, though they are consumed when too much ammo has been taken so you must seek out other ammo crates when you run out again. Purple crates give you extra BP when you drag them to a point that you own, making them the most important crate to go out and seek.
Most missions of Infested Planet just require you to go around and kill all the alien hives that are present on the map and capture the points under them. Main campaign missions don’t have randomly generated maps, as they were designed to be played a specific way and because of this they are also the most balanced and fair. When you progress further into the campaign, the missions become more unique and challenging. Some of the special missions that you will run into are where you must defend your outpost from the aliens for a certain amount of time since they have a ton of mutations and then attack when they go to sleep which removes the mutations, as well as having to escort a convoy through a dangerous environment where you also can’t capture the points under hives. There will also be non-campaign raid missions that you are able to complete for bonus money, which requires you to go around and capture all the points in a certain amount of time, giving an extra bonus of cash if you can capture them all.
During the main campaign, you will earn money for completing each mission. This can be used in the shop which will contain all the upgrades available in the game, and purchasing an upgrade will allow it to be used in all future missions. There are also single use buffs in which you can purchase as well, which gives you that upgrade right from the beginning in a mission, potentially allowing you to beat missions that were previously too tough for you. Some buffs include the many different types of guns being delivered to a soldier, to having an extra soldier out on the field.
When you’re either bored or done with the campaign, you may want to try out the skirmish mode that is available with Infested Planet. It allows you to choose one of 4 difficulty settings and puts you into a randomly generated map. All the upgrades and technologies that require money to unlock during the campaign will all be unlocked for skirmish levels, so you won’t have to worry about completing the campaign fully in order to enjoy the skirmish levels. The goal of these maps are the same as most other missions, where you must go around and capture all the points that the alien hives are on, while enduring the mutations that have been given to them. Since they are randomly generated, skirmishes will give you countless hours of replayability for Infested Planet. If you feel like a challenge, you can try out the abyss difficulty setting which gives the aliens a mutation from the start as well as preventing two random weapons, research, or structures from getting built.
If you aren’t a fan of the already existing skirmish difficulty modes, it is also possible to determine exactly what you will encounter in a custom designed encounter. You can choose how big a map is, how many hives and how close they are to each other, which mutations aliens may receive and whether they start with any, and of course how many marines you start out with along with BP. Even if you think you have perfectly designed a map, it is still randomly generated so you might have to reset it a few times before it turns out the way that you want.
Infested Planet could be said to be a combination of the basic RTS games like Starcraft and Command and Conquer, along with those rushing capture point games that has hordes of units trying to capture points next to them. It is safe to say that how you the player plays is the RTS part, and how the aliens play is the point capturing part.
Options available in Infested Planet are fairly basic, though it isn’t a very complex game so it can survive without all the options other games get. You have your basic resolution and sound options, and there is even a way to choose how many cores that your CPU uses, which is an intriguing settings since you never see that anywhere else. The graphics themselves are colorful and basic, and they don’t need to be anything else with how the game is played. Everything has nice sound and the marines themselves have multiple lines that they say when you give them orders. Unfortunately, there is very few songs in the game so you may get tired of listing to the same battle song the whole time that you’re blasting aliens.
The randomness of skirmish levels, and the mutations that the aliens can receive, aren’t a negative themselves, but the fact that they can easily determine how easy or hard a level is or even whether it is possible to win. It might place you and your first base in the middle of a map surrounded by alien hives, or in an alcove with only one entrance to it. You may end up spending a large amount of time resetting the level until it is more tolerable. Then again, Solitaire is still a popular game even though it isn’t possible to solve every layout of cards that is possible to get. Other than that, there isn’t anything else glaringly wrong with the game.
Main story missions don’t have a difficulty setting, while skirmish levels allow you to choose how hard they are. Even so, the fact that your marines have unlimited respawn and levels don’t generally end until you win, even the hardest campaign missions can be overcome. With mutations being completely random, you may never know how hard a level may be. All levels in Infested Planet don’t take very long to complete, usually around 10 minutes. The only reason that you may spend more time is when you play a skirmish level on one of the harder difficulty settings, since the aliens will take longer to kill and you will have a lot of trial and error if you’re not skilled enough yet.
Infested Planet is a perfect game for those who are hardcore and looking for a challenge. Even though there is no difficulty setting for the main story missions to make them harder, the skirmish levels have 4 difficulty levels and the highest one will be the truest test of your micro and macro RTS skills. There is currently not a whole lot to unlock in Infested Planet, not just because it is unfinished but mainly because achievements and extra goodies are generally last on the list to implement. The main campaign does allow you to buy upgrades and unlocks through the shop however, and you can earn money for these from playing the main missions and replayable levels.
Infested Planet Costs 15 dollars and is currently in late beta. Because of this, most of the gameplay is already here so you won’t be buying a game with years worth of work still needing to be done. For the low price and high amount of replayability that Infested Planet offers, it is well worth the price to buy it.