beware planet earth

Typing out Beware! Planet Earth is kind of similar to the game’s experience. As soon as you come to that exclamation point, you have to stop, reach for the shift key and then the one key. It’s only a few seconds delay, but it’s enough to begin to get slightly irritating.

The game is in the same vein as Plants vs. Zombies, with a legion of aliens coming to steal your cows and take them away. You set up a series of devices to generate resources, delay and kill the enemy forces. As you progress, it gets harder and the enemy types begin to change as they go along. It sounds familiar doesn’t it? That would be because it is. It feels lifeless. All the bits are there to make something entertaining,  but because the game never does something with the pieces except what we’ve already seen before, it’s almost infuriating. No, not almost, it is.

Tower defence is a genre that is rather stagnant. It’s all about presenting it through a skewed vision to make it interesting. There’s a ton of games that have done this and Beware! Planet Earth isn’t one of them. It’s painfully normal, competent and the exact same as everything else. It’s the biggest crime a game can do, is just to not do anything interesting with itself.

As well as the inspiration from Plants vs Zombies, it takes from maze like tower defence games and the small strategic puzzle element of where to place things and what to place, is a smart move, but again: it’s nothing new. It’s exactly what I played a few years ago on some flash based website with my friends. It’s what we then played a few years after that on our phones when they realised that’s where we were.08

Beware! Planet Earth feels late to the party and all it brought was a packet of Cool Ranch Doritos. Now, I like Cool Ranch, but you don’t just bring that. Where’s the dip and where’s your booze? All you’ve brought is something that’s going to dry my mouth out and then I’m going to get horribly bored of it by the time I’m done with just one handful.

It plods along too. Everything feels slow and once it does get more challenging,  the game just sees this as an opportunity to get more enemies on screen. There’s no real change. There’s just more to deal with. There might be some slight changes to the surrounding core, but it doesn’t stop it from ever still feeling exactly the same as everything else that’s come before it.

This version of the game actually comes with new Martians to fight against, revolving around Valve games, but not even the sight of Team Fortress 2 could liven up the dull beige this game makes my eyes see when they glaze over.03

Though I really do like the chunky graphics. Things are easy to see, it looks fun! It has this comical 50s B-Movie look to it, through and through. Cow barns and little green men. Like, you get this layer of what could have been and once you dig in, it’s just a massive drop into the abyss of dissatisfaction.  Other than the way things look, it never takes it far enough in the movie direction that could have been played up for laughs or even, mechanics that could have been added to the game to spring some life into it.

Beware! Planet Earth is a game that had a lot of potential to do something really cool with something not all that interesting. Instead, it falls back on the same old and in a world where doing the same doesn’t cut it anymore, it’s just a real shame.  If I were to be real damning to the game, it’d be that it feels like a stereotypical mobile game trying to cash in on Plants vs. Zombies. It feels like a clone and acts like one too: it’s soulless.

This review was written based on the PC version of Beware! Planet Earth.

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