Review: Planetbase (Steam)

I have sunk so many hours into this game and I want to like it so much, but it is so frustrating. The first 20 minutes of each colony are far too fragile and it just...doesn't make sense!? You didn't bring any extra oxygen with you, so if your colonists can't build an oxygen maker (and power- and water-extractors to run it) then they will immediately die in a day. You brought no water with you either, so you'd better also prioritize a cafeteria with water fountains. And you didn't bring nearly enough metal with you, so you'd better build a mine asap. Once all that is up and running, your 1-2 workers will run around in a panic while your medics and engineers stand around and sniff their own farts. They won't help, you see, because they only do specialized jobs that you don't have buildings for yet. ARGH. Why can't I bring more workers or more resources to start? Yes, it's a challenge but it feels totally artificial for a game that doesn't have some kind of disaster backstory (am I fleeing from Darth Vader? who knows!) so it just feels like beating my head against a wall.

If you can get past the first 20 minutes, then it's basically autopilot from there. You can build almost all of the buildings available in the first hour of play and after that you're just keeping an eye on things while they zip along at 4x speed. There's no way to upgrade buildings or build vertically; you just have to sprawl outward. There's almost no luxuries for your little people, so you don't really come to care about them. It feels like this needs more content, somehow? Luxury lodgings and vertical buildings, maybe. Something to make your colony seem successful. As it is, the only difference between a starting colony of 10 and a city of 300 is how much space you're taking up: everyone still sleeps in bunk bed dorms located a single hallway away from their day job location.


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