There are plenty of games rattling around in the Xbox Indie Games market, and some of those are rare gems, like Shark Attack Deathmatch, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1, DLC Quest, or even the dozen shameless copies of Minecraft, all well worth the $1 price tag. However, there are also those games that make you wonder if the creators even tried at all, much less why you should spend a dollar on it. Unfortunately, this is the case with Planetary Shield by Axouxere Games.
In terms of gameplay, there is really not a whole lot to Planetary Shield other than blowing up meteorites in space as they meander over to Earth. You are equipped with some sort of laser satellite that slingshots laser balls into said meteorites to save our lovely Mother Earth. It sounds a little more exciting than it actually is, unless generic flash games just drive you absolutely wild. Honestly, you can find more thrills from a free flash game on the hundreds of websites hosting them.
It’s not even that the premise of the game is bad. You can make shooting laser balls at meteorites absolutely awesome, but the developers don’t seem to know how to. When you want tons of threatening space rocks to hurtle at you, you are given a few of them crawling towards the planet. If you want to actually get into the game, the clunky slingshot controls will probably make you miss too many shots, and you might not even know what to do when some random ship comes flying into the screen, crashing into some rogue meteorite. The game’s description gave me the only indication that that random ship must be steered into a green laser on the other side of the screen. Even then, the ship barely moves when I try to control it, hardly letting me accomplish this goal in the first place. I felt like those incompetent people in the infomercials, unable to perform the simplest of tasks without fucking everything up.
A vast majority of your time with Planetary Shield will also probably be spent wondering when the current level is going to end. The gameplay trudges along at a glacial pace, only offering a few bouts of difficulty when there are probably about 10 meteorites on the screen at one time. Even then, there is no satisfaction in shooting them all down when the visual and audio effects feel so weak and generic. The creators seem to have just played it too safe here. Elongating levels does not give a person their money’s worth. In fact, I would much rather spend $1 on Techno Chopper, which is essentially The Helicopter Game, but with techno. It’s simple, precise, well-executed, and doesn’t try to pad the amount of time you’ll spend with it, focusing on the fun you ought to have instead. Any game developer, no matter how small, must remember that quality is infinitely more important than quantity.
If you happen to have enough patience to make your way to the final level, that’s awesome, but you’d better not pause. 80% of the time, pausing the game would result in an instant game over, by some massive glitch. It’s absurd. It’s like nothing I have ever seen in a video game before.
The entire experience just feels unfinished. There is a two player cooperative mode, but it does not add much to the gameplay. It would seem cruel to make another person have to endure the monotony of Planetary Shield with you.
Overall, the scarcity of variety, creativity, and a technical polishing results in a messy little dollar game. The android version of Planetary Shield is actually free, which would give you much more for your money (invisible money is best money). One could spend the dollar to support the developers, helping with funds to create better quality games in the future, but it’s hard to imagine that they really tried with Planetary Shield in the first place. Practice makes perfect, I suppose?
[+Simple arcade mechanics] [-Generic presentation] [-Troublesome controls] [-Terribly slow pace] [-Feels unfinished] [-Game ending pause glitch]