Rogue Planet's graphics may not be 'technically' impressive, but it's art style is second to none
If science fiction has taught us anything over the years, it’s that robots are bad news. It’s always the same story; we create them, they ‘evolve’ to a stage where they surpass human intelligence, and before you know it there’s a full blown war going on. This is a frighteningly similar scenario to that of Gameloft’s sci-fi epic Rogue Planet, which takes elements of Battlestar Galactica, Mass Effect and Advance Wars and throws them all together in an industrial blender to create a turn based strategy game the App Store can be truly proud of.
The game is set in the year 2034, and after 30 years of refining space travel technology, the colonial ship Nimah is returning to Earth for the first time in 35 years. The game picks up after the ship is attacked shortly after entering Earth’s atmosphere, and Nimah’s crew quickly find out that Earth isn’t the same as when they left. Narrative is conveyed through stylish cut-scenes consisting of interactions between the games characters. In between battle, the player is given the opportunity to roam about the Nimah (or at least scroll through a list of its rooms) and converse with the characters onboard. This acts as a refreshing break from the main gameplay, and ensures that battle never gets stale.
Of course the real meat and veg’ of the game takes place on the battlefield, where your decisions as a military strategist determine the outcome of battle. Anybody who has played a turn based strategy game before will feel right at home with Rogue Planet, and for anybody that hasn’t, the game is more than accommodating. A slick UI and intuitive controls make it easy to jump straight into the game without having to have prior knowledge of the genres ins and outs. Those that have played the likes of Advance Wars before however will be right at home with the concept of moving troops around the battlefield, using the correct troop to attack an enemy, and manufacturing more troops at the factories. Rogue Planet does everything you’d expect from it given its genre, and does it alarmingly well.
Tapping a unit will highlight its range of movement, and tapping where you want it to move to will move it there. Simple. Should this location be in enemy range, the game will give you the opportunity to attack, and the screen will change to the attack screen that those who have played Advance Wars will be all too familiar with. Units come in a variety of types, and understanding the fundamental rock-paper-scissors mechanic at the heart of the game will ensure that you choose the right unit to attack the right enemy. Rogue Planet doesn’t take turn-based strategy in a radically new direction, but it does what it does more than adequately.
Aesthetically speaking, the game is incredibly hard to fault. The art direction is fantastic, with well designed characters and gorgeous looking environments. Even the menu and loading screens manage to exude an air of style and sophistication. The only real gripe I have with the game regards its control scheme, which is sound from a design perspective, but is slightly let down in its execution. To explain further; the controls are exactly what you’d expect them to be, and should you tap where you intend to tap, they work perfectly. But therein lies the problem, tapping where you want to tap can prove troublesome, especially for those with larger than average fingers.All too often I found myself selecting the wrong unit, or sending the right unit to the wrong location, with no way of undoing my mistake.
The main menu offers three modes of play; story, quick game and multiplayer, none of which should need further explanation. Progressing through the story mode will unlock levels and commanders that can then be used in the quick game mode. There’s a lot to see and do with Rogue Planet, and once you’ve exhausted single player, the multiplayer mode ensures that there’s even more bang for your buck.
As a package, Rogue Planet is worth every penny of the £2.99 Gameloft are asking for it. Consider this; Advance Wars was around £30 when it was first released, and Rogue Planet offers an experience that I can honestly say rivals that of Nintendo’s strategic masterpiece, both in terms of quality and sheer amount of content. And at a fraction of the price. There’s no denying that Rogue Planet is the best turn-based strategy game the App Store has to offer, but this is besides the point, it's a damn good game regardless of it's platform. Strategy fans -- snap it up.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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