We all remember Starship Troopers, the 1997 film which had huge bugs, an un-godly amount of dismemberment and Casper Van Dien of course. Ever wondered what it would be like to be in Starship Troopers? Fighting the vast hordes of a distant alien bug race which want to tear you limb from limb. Well, Cole Powered Games have answered your question with their title “Planet Wars”. Planet wars really embodies the classic film (minus the dismemberment) so I do apologizes in advance if I make a lot of comparison.

You play as “Church” who leads a squad of mercenaries that works for earth’s military that are terraforming planets for human colonization. Your squads job is basically “Pest control” against naïve alien races. You’re sent to a hostile planet to wage a one squad war against a nasty bug race. The campaign for the game is set in ten stages which is broken up by comic book style cut scenes. These cut scenes add some pre-mission context with a drop of campy but amusing banter between characters (just like starship troopers!). This plot is your standard sci-fi story arc with a military outfit doing the bulk of the grunt work while questioning their involvement and the motive of a secretive and shady government body. The storyline is quite common but it doesn’t deter you and the qwerkiness of the character interaction adds a bit of humour to it. However, you tend to forget what’s happening until you get to the next cutscene, ’cause your too busy mowing down the enemies.

Planet Wars is a top-down side scroller shooter, with the character seen from above and tasked with moving across the screen tackling wave after wave of enemies. The levels are spilt between offensive and defensive missions where you either have to eliminate everything or stand your ground against unrelenting waves (JUST LIKE STARSHIP TROOPERS!) The game features quite a few modes such as standard single player, co-op (Xbox 360 version only) and survival, these give the game some variety and creates some replay value. The overall controls for the game is good, they are solid and easy enough to understand (as there’s not much to it).

The combat is pretty basic, you shoot and kill anything that isn’t you. You have a wide armoury of weapons with customization components, this gives the combat an interest twist as you will spend a lot of time in-between levels making powerful tools to wage a one man genocide. The components for your guns have to be purchased using  the currency you collect from killing enemies and unlocking achievements in game. This again adds some replay value to the game and makes you want to finish those last few achievements.

Picture 3
“Nearly unlimited options for your metallic best friend”

The game has some good graphics, though most of the environments consist of deserts, forest and winter wasteland’s which are basic colours. The same can be said for the character and enemy designs, which are pretty simple with very little detail. The cut-scenes are the most impressive aspect of Planet Wars visuals. These scenes, as mentioned above are comic book illustrated and have all been hand drawn. I felt this made it pretty unique not to mention they stand up pretty well.

Picture 4
“Excellent hand drawn cutscenes!”

In conclusion if you’re a sci-fi nut who wants to pretend to be in Rico’s Roughnecks fighting a planetary war against a determined alien threat, then Planet Wars is your game. The gameplay and combat is simple but both solid and effective and the visuals are equally capable. Overall a good game I’ve also noticed I haven’t said something for quite a few lines ……….. STARSHIP TROOPERS!!!!