Rogue Planet in Review – Time to make bolts fly!

The “Jesus” phone has not seen too much attention from quality Turn-based strategy games. Well, Agharta Studio, apparently also thinks so since the creators of the first ever episodic adventure game on the iPhone – 1112 have just released the much anticipated Rogue Planet! Can the small team of just 3 people pull off a hit? Let’s get dissecting!

You are the son the captain of the Nimah – a ship that left Earth 35 years ago to perfect space-faring technologies. But on your return trip you get maliciously attacked by unknown forces right on the approach to the planet you formerly called “home”. Coupled with the fact that no lights are visible during the night, it is up to you to uncover what happened to the former inhabitants of Earth.

Rogue Planet is a Turn-based strategy game very much inspired by Advance Wars and its iPhone counterpart – Mecho Wars. The mission goals vary from killing all enemies, capturing a specific base or destroying the communication station. The story is told in quite an original fashion, obviously hinting at the Agharta’s previous project – 1112. Between missions you wander around the ship and interact with crewmates until you are called to the briefing room.

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The strategy element itself is quite common for these types of games. On the map broken down in rectangular squares there are cities and villages that provide income when captured as well as factories that can build units. By the way, unlike many other games, the buildings here have their own defenses if they have been previously captured by the enemy, which must be overcome before your own troops can move in. The battles themselves happen automatically, first the attacking unit fires of the shot, then the defending retaliates (if there is anybody left that is).

An interesting distraction here are the ballistic missiles. They are one-fire only and require a ground unit to capture them. Once you do so you are zoomed out and presented with a targeting reticule and a timer. You must then quickly position the crosshair on where you want the missile to strike since it will do so automatically once the time runs out. The missile decimates half of the HP of all units and/or buildings in its blast range, so it must be used with care.

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The units themselves are more or less standard as well. They are divided into ground troops and vehicles, with only the grounds troops capable of capturing (or as it is called here – colonizing) buildings. The ground troops feature the engineer (heals troops and repairs vehicles), light infantry (weak and useful only against enemy infantry) and the commando (quite strong against enemy armoured vehicles). The vehicles offer the quick, but extremely weak buggy, the anti-infantry gatling unit that can shoot one square away (note that enemies retaliate regardless of whether you’re in their range of attack), the light, medium and heavy tanks, the troop transport and the rocket launcher, which vulnerable at close range but absolutely devastating at medium and long distances. And no, no marine or flying units. Also I would note that the units for both factions are absolutely the same, minus the appearance.

There are also quite a few interesting finds. For one thing all vehicles have a limited gas supply and must be refuelled every once in a while to avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere. The same goes for ammo. While light weapons (infantry, buggy and the gatling unit) have an unlimited supply, the heavy weapons, which are useful against the armoured enemies, can easily run out of ammo. That said, make sure you have the troop transport Turtle (which also doubles as a resupply truck) close by.

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Another nice find are the commanders. In story-mode, you don’t have a choice of who you play as; but in quick-play and multiplayer, you can choose a commander that suits your playing style the most. Each one has a special skill that will automatically activate once the timed bat fills up, thus giving certain bonuses to some of your units.

As noted earlier, once you complete the mission in story mode, it becomes available for Quick Play. Depending on the difficulty you choose you will be awarded medals for successful completion of these missions separately. Also, Rogue Planet has multiplayer, but since it is local only (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) and I haven’t found anyone to test it out with – I can only comment that it exists. But online multiplayer over Wi-Fi or 3G is promised in the first update. Personally, I’m really missing the online multiplayer now since the AI definitely needs improvement and the story mode doesn’t offer any difficulties at all.

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The visuals are beautiful. Between mission screens, the characters, the unit artwork, the environmental effects, terrain and the battles themselves – everything is purely gorgeous. Not only can you use the widely accepted pinch gestures to zoom in/out, you can even do a twist motion to turn the screen around. The interface is very intuitive and I doubt anyone will have any troubles with it. Agharta Studio has a distinct art style, first introduced in 1112 and now in Rogue Planet, they have stuck to what works well. And thank goodness for that. The sound effects are not that spectacular, but they do the job of conveying the atmosphere well enough.

Overall, Agharta Studio have done an excellent job with Rogue Planet. The graphics are simply breathtaking and the game has a lot of interesting gameplay moments. It also features a deep, interesting and detailed story, conveyed in a very original manner, that offers about 20 hours of gameplay. At the same time, I was really disappointed by the absence of aerial and marine units, as well as the completely identical units in both factions (minus the graphics of course). Not to mention that the wonderfully done environmental effects as well as the day/night change do not affect the gameplay in any way. The AI also doesn’t present much of a challenge, but the coming online multiplayer will make that irrelevant. Regardless, if you’re a fan of turn based strategy titles, Rogue Planet is a great buy and shouldn’t be missed.

With this I declare Rogue Planet officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Rogue PlanetDeveloper:Agharta Studio/Gameloft
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$4.99App Size:82.2 MB
  • Deep story, conveyed in an original fashion
  • Breathtaking graphics
  • Excellent interface
  • Up to 20 hours of gameplay
  • Multiplayer with online coming soon
  • Commanders with special skills
  • Limited fuel and ammo
  • Nukes :-)
  • The factions are identical
  • No marine or aerial units
  • Inadequate AI

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