What a horrible, horrible pun.
That aside, let’s jump right in. I got my hands on a cute little project called Shattered Planet, a rogue-like, turn-based, actiony rpg with death meaning losing what you bring with you down to the planet, only to come back anew with possibly some better gadgets to help you travel further down the rabbit hole.
Disclosure: This review was written using a press copy of the game.
I’ll start off by saying I was instantly interested in the game, being a fan of the rogue-like genre, and was interested to see it’s spin on the ever fluid game type. The first time I sat down was just to test it out, see how it looked, and I lost an hour without knowing it. Shattered Planet starts you out on a tutorial map. You are a clone, a test subject, crafted to explore the broken pieces of the world below and help your creators and benefactors understand just what this planet has to offer. With a little guidance from your supportive researcher, safely away on his ship, you beat back the local wildlife and make it through your first zone! Only to be vaporized almost instantly as you are teleported to a level far above your starting talents.
Ah, but death is only the beginning! You arrive back on your ship, safe and sound (As safe as a disposable clone can be), reassured that you’ve done a job well done and to get ready to continue your mighty work. You are now introduced to a few more interesting bits of Shattered Planet: Random item creation and stat progression. Using currency you get from discovering new items, creatures, events, and from other means, you can pick from a few tiers of random items that you can bring down with you to give you that starting up.
Next you have your stat progression. I should’ve mentioned this by now, but you have different ‘classes’ to choose from when you play; starting with two and unlocking more through playing the game. Each class has a specific skill and starting stat set. You can use your exp-like currency, found primarily from monsters and on the floor, to level stats or your skill. Later you unlock a few more uses for your currency; including pets, a store, and more.
Once you’ve equipped and upgraded, you go back down and continue exploring. This is the jist of the game: exploring deeper, seeing what you can see, finding random events, dying horrible deaths, and picking yourself back up(from the cloning tube) and trying to go further. It’s repetitive, but the random aspect gives you uncertainty and doesn’t make it feel too samey. Something that really drives the game though, and I love, is that when you first appear on each floor your starting tile gets infected. This blight (it really is called Blight) spreads as you move along, corrupting any wildlife it meets and spawning vicious creatures of its own. This forces you to progress and can limit your exploration and keep you from playing too cautiously. It keeps you on your toes and gives a sense of “I must go deeper”.
Aside from the normal random generated maps, there are a few extra modes. One is the Daily Challenge where you are given set items and tasked with traveling as far as you can, the levels growing in difficulty faster than normal. However, if you can make it to the 10th floor, you get to keep whatever you have. Next are a few story worlds, which are interesting enough. I tried one, got wrecked.
That leads me into one of my dislikes of the game, you have to beat your head against the planet so you can get money to upgrade and buy equipment. It’s very grindy, very. Leveling your stats is what you really need to do to get further in this game. Sure, learning the events and better understanding the enemies will help you, but raw power is required to survive. You get chipped at as you go, and being able to one shot that guy before he can pick at you makes all the difference.
Overall, Shattered Planet is a rogue-like. If you like’m you’ll like this game. If the random, chaotic, repetitive, grindy type of game isn’t your cup of tea, then this isn’t for you. It has a few different aspects from some of the rogue-like games, but it boils itself down to just another one. Don’t get me wrong, I do like it, but if I wasn’t already a fan of the Rogue-likes and strategy, I don’t think this would hook me.