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|Survival Games, Games Like Banished, Games Like Rimworld, Games Like Orwell, Games Like FTL, Games Like Frostpunk, Games Like Oxygen not Included, Games Like Monster Rancher
We dream of leaving this god-forsaken planet. Can't we find a new home somewhere in the Milky Way? Unfortunately for us, it's not entirely possible yet. However, Planetbase is a colonization simulator taking our fantasies of a new life on a desolate planet a reality. And it's bringing some challenges with it!
It feels like space strategy, simulation, and survival games are nothing new - but the difference here is that Planetbase is an indie offering. That usually means there is more passion involved in delivering an engaging product. Notably, a few of these kinds of games have been a bit lackluster over the years. We're hoping to channel a grand old space opera with this one!
Take Me Away From This Planet
Even before you hit the start button - the concept of Planetbase is pretty apparent. You are placed on a new planet and tasked with guiding your little civilization to survival. Nope, nothing has changed in that regard - but it's not really the narrative that matters for a game like this. It's how immersive it gets with all the available mechanics.
Right from the get-go, you'll be building a base to stand the test of time. You take charge of your space settlers to build warehouses and labs to generate all the essentials - food, oxygen, and building materials. It all seems pretty basic in stature - grow your colony until it's self-sustaining. There is a player base that is perfectly happy with doing that against a sci-fi visual backdrop. But that can become boring pretty quickly.
Luckily, Planetbase recognizes that space colonization simulators should not be a walk in the park. It's the difficulty of the game that brings the immersion factor. Players will face up to natural disasters, organizational obstacles, maintenance, and colonists' content. Each will be a challenge in its own right - and overlooking a small detail can create multitudinous problems within your society.
Apart from the initial frustrations of starting, Planetbase's eye for detail makes this game pretty entertaining. However, that very same notion is what creates an aura of doubt about the game. The micromanagement grinds you down into a pulp, where it makes players question where it's even worth continuing to objectives. And that's another thing - is there some kind of reward for a thriving colony? Not really.
Why Did We Come This Far?
Planetbase is actually a pretty well-rounded space colony simulator, all things considered. It doesn't have the budget of a mass-scale sci-fi epic - but delivers a holistically better experience than counterparts like Civilization: Beyond Earth. There are hours of fun filling in the gaps of your social needs and fending off interplanetary nuances.
The issue I find with Planetbase is that it comes off as too mechanical. Yes, raising civilizations can be broken down into a science. But it feels good when you can create stories behind the colony you are building. The mechanics give too much attention to the management detail with minimal addressing for the creatives. That's what makes Planetbase fine, but not great.
- Delivers space colonization experience with meticulous detail
- Polished management mechanics that keep you busy
- Many challenges to raising a colony keep players immersed
- The game feels objectives a few hours in
- The micromanagement factor drags away from any ambitions
- Character visuals could be improved