Format – PC
Without a doubt, one of my favourite games to appear on a mobile format has to be a certain tower defence game known to millions as Plants vs Zombies. With its comical mischief and humour coupled with simple but-down-right-tricky gameplay it is arguably the pinnacle of tower defence games. Pixel Junk Monsters has also seen many hours of my enjoyment playing co-op with my family and also rates very high in my favourite games of all-time. Picking up Beware Planet Earth I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for or whether I’d be won over by it.
Cows. Save the cows! Listen to a man whom you never see. Place barbecues and hydrants that shoot fire to protect your herd. Fend off wave after wave of alien invaders. It has all the hallmarks of a tower defence game, but no early indication why you would want to play it over something else. From the outset it just seemed to be a Plants vs Zombies clone, albeit with a few twists and a singular winding path. Scepticism remained with me for about two levels and soon I was whooping and laughing, or at least mildly excited to see what the next level would unveil.
Aliens make their way from their mothership to your tiny herd. Unlike other tower defence games, the impact to you and your cause isn’t once the aliens reach the end of the path and attack your base. Here they have to carry one of your cows back to where they landed, and the alien and the cow are beamed up into the ship. If you destroy an enemy carrying a cow, then the cow happily walks itself back home to its field, unless there is another alien to pick it up en-route.
Aliens are nicely varied and some are a real pain, but in a good way. Every few levels a new type will appear with different abilities and skills to overcome in your fight to keep your cows safe.
The game begins with the difficulty turned up to its highest setting from the outset, and initially I found this a little too easy, but it soon beat me and I had to lower it. While lowering the difficultly would mean it was well, easier, I felt Beware Planet Earth became more fun because of it. What this does mean though is that anyone feeling the need for challenge will definitely find it here.
The cows are cute. They stand on a little bank of grass, munching, chewing and looking generally content with the world. Oblivious to the constant alien threat that thwarts your every placement of the equipment designed to protect them. When I first saw the cows wearing drinking hats I laughed. It’s little things like this throughout Beware Planet Earth that make it such fun to play.
The humour is unmistakable, if not a little cliché at times, but the bright and cheerfully well-drawn cartoon characters and scenery are more than pleasing on the eye. Perhaps all a little too familiar to that other game I’ve already mentioned but it is a different subject matter at least.
The animation is simple enough and only at my pickiest will I point out that they could do with a bit of spicing up. I will mention however that I feel this way about almost all hand-drawn 2D tower defence games I’ve played. Just imagine if someone made a tower defence game using Rayman Origins style animation. Of course, each alien has its own animation set and they are immediately recognisable by the way the move and one should be more than happy with that, but they could be so much more.
Areas for Development
- Character animations
- Deeply clichéd characters could do with some rounding out
- Additional bonus levels and sub-games
- A method for selecting a specific enemy when there are too many in one place.
- Upgradeable towers
What Lightmare Studio have managed to do is mimic other great tower defence games and add their own spin on the genre. While nothing entirely new or original, Beware Planet Earth is implemented well and is genuinely fun to play with the different aliens while unlocking new equipment and weapons.
Technical Competency – 7/10
Graphic/Sound Quality – 6/10
Network Stability – N/A
Overall – 7/10