Aliens are invading, and they want our cows.
Beware Planet Earth! from Lightmare Studio made a sudden appearance on Steam just last week and has thrown down the challenge to not only Tower Defence gamers, but also anyone who loves a game with character.
While there are more Tower Defence games now available than you could shake a cow at, very few of them stand out as something different. One notable exception is the brilliantly fun and widely available Plants Vs Zombies from PopCap, and it would seem that this is perhaps where some of the inspiration came from for this latest bout of Tower Defence goodness, Beware Planet Earth!
From first starting the game up, the brightly coloured visuals and obvious humour should make Plants Vs Zombies players feel at home. Aliens happen to be invading Barney’s farm and trying to steal his cows, and it will be down to the player to fight them off using all manner of knocked together contraptions as Barney happens to be stuck in the outside toilet. Still, through the little heart-shaped hole in the door, he will guide you in the use of his machines and explain how to defend against the aliens.
As is traditional in Tower Defence games, the aliens will arrive at a crop circle and then follow a path to the cow enclosure before making off with a startled looking bovine. The player will have to place machines along this path in order to destroy the aliens before the cows are lost forever. All pretty standard stuff for a Tower Defence.
However, rather than the usual getting paid for destroying enemies to fund yet more towers, the player will have to pay for and build contraptions to actually create cogs, the currency in the game, in a similar manner to the sunflowers in Plants Vs Zombies. With the cogs rolling in, the player will then be able to build a variety of different machines that will attack individual aliens, attack and area or have some other effect on the invaders, such as slowing them down as they move along the path.
Of course, different aliens will start making their way to the cow enclosure, and players will have to take these types into account as they work through the 60 odd levels of the game. Highly armoured aliens, fast aliens, professor aliens that come with a force field, even cleaning aliens that will scoop up any mines you may have placed or uncollected cogs, they will all have to be dealt with through some careful choosing of which contraptions the player takes into the level. With a limited number of slots, the player will have to think tactically to ensure they have the right tool for the job.
Beware Planet Earth! throws a curveball into the Tower Defence mix with the inclusion of some active equipment items that the player can use in between dropping machines next to the path. The Zapper is the first item they get, and it allows the player to damage individual aliens themselves, or remove force fields and reveal stealth aliens. This adds quite anew dynamic to the game, as the Zapper overheats if used too much, and ratchets up the frantic gameplay.
Visually, the game looks stunning, easily mirroring PopCap’s hugely popular title. Even the audio work is enjoyable and entertaining. Beware Planet Earth! adds challenges to the campaign mode to extend the game even further, and a veteran mode is available if the alien invasion is just proving too simple to overcome.
Beware Planet Earth! is not just another Tower Defence game. It is packed with content, easy to play and is filled with character. It also looks damn good, which is always handy. If you like Tower Defence, or cows, check the game out now!