DEVELOPER: Triumph Studios
PUBLISHER: Paradox Interactive
GENRE: 4x, Turn-Based Strategy
PLATFORM: PC, XBOX One, PS4
PRICE: $49.99(Standard) $59.99 (Deluxe) $89.99 (Premium)
RELEASE DATE: August 6th, 2019
Age of Wonders is a turn-based strategy game franchise that Triumph Studios first released in 1999. The first four entries in the series all focused on fantasy based storylines, races(units), and worlds. Triumph’s newest entry is published by Paradox Interactive who are no strangers to the 4x turn-based strategy genre.
The newest entry in the series is titled Age of Wonders: Planetfall and is the first entry to have a sci-fi theme. The Star Union has fallen and the galaxy is now in a state of chaos. Various factions (races) are vying to find their place to either rebuild the galaxy or create a whole new one. You will start out as the commander of the Vanguard who are your typical human military style faction that focus mainly on troops and drones Playing through the campaign will introduce you to the Kir’ko, an insectoid alien race who were recently freed from their slavery by the Star Union and focus on psionic attacks. The Amazons, an all female race who are one with nature and use dinosaurs in battle, who find themselves stranded after the Union’s collapse. The Dvar are space dwarves that are focused on mining and production who use heavy units in battle. The Syndicate are equivalent to an underground organization that focus on espionage, slavery, and trading. And lastly, The Assembly who are a race of cyborgs that want to destroy the galaxy and rebuild it into their vision of perfection.
Each part of the campaign will allow you to customize your commander, change the name of your colonies, and build your troops with various types of units. By completing research and objectives you will be able to unlock more unit types, weapons, mods, skills, and more. If you have ever played an Age of Wonders game or any other 4x turn-based strategy game you will be familiar with this style of gameplay and should be able to jump right in without much of a problem. For those players who aren’t familiar with the genre or series, the game does include a handy tutorial that walks you through the basics of the game. As with any game that deals with an RNG factor, how well you do in battle can be a case of trial and error. (I had a team who was twice as strong as the enemy they were going against and my entire team was wiped out.)
The campaign is made up of various parts and each one can take between 3 and 5 hours to complete from start to finish. Since you are not only exploring the map, fighting random encounters, completing objectives, research, and building up your colonies this will take some time to complete. Diplomacy is a viable option to wiping out the entire map and is fairly simple to master. This option allows you to negotiate trade deals, insult or compliment other commanders, issue non-aggression pacts, open your borders, or make them kneel to your rule. If the campaign isn’t your thing, the game offers you the opportunity to play through various scenarios that you can customize with up to 11 other AI controlled colonies. The game also offers an online multiplayer option, but as the servers were not available yet I wasn’t able to try it out.
The game looks remarkable both in map view and in battle mode. Each faction has its own unique look that makes them aesthetically appealing. The battle and operation effects make every part of the game visually stunning and the soundtrack is enjoyable and one that will definitely be something you will want to leave on. The controls are translated well to the PS4 controller and with only a minor issue with navigating the onscreen menus, I didn’t have any problems playing with a controller.
My only issue with the game is the enemies AI in battle. It’s rather nerve wracking when you are being shot by an unmodded enemy through cover, but the game tells you that you have no clear shot on them. If I have no line of sight on them, they shouldn’t have one on me. Hopefully this is just a bug and will be patched in either a day one patch or subsequent one.
Overall, Age of Wonders: Planetfall is something both veteran and new strategy game players will enjoy! The campaign is well written, has lots to do, various choices to make, and lets you play the way you want. The sci-fi setting is definitely a welcome change to the series and one that will entice more players to experience the genre of 4x turn-based strategy. The campaign is lengthy and will definitely give players their money’s worth. With only a few minor issues that can be patched, the game is pretty much issue free.
I give the game a solid 8.5/10!
A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review
Part time employee of a major video game retailer.