In Infested Planet, you control a team of five veteran soldiers tasked with taking over an alien planet. Your experience comes in handy since their troops spawn by the thousand and don’t stop until you take down all their nests and bases. It’s an ever evolving real time strategy game where the alien menace can mutate mid-battle, forcing you to change your tactics on the fly.
To help you on your mission, you earn money (even when you surrender) to purchase upgraded equipment. Some upgrades are for only one battle: an extra soldier on the ground or a more powerful gun upgrade. Others are permanent additions to your arsenal: barricades that form around a base you capture, upgraded turrets to defend your bases. There is enough flexibility in the game to allow you to test out many different strategies. You’re not going to hit a wall because you choose medicine over technology; you just might take a little longer to figure out a level if you don’t have a strategy in mind when you upgrade.
Infested Planet has a really clean interface and control style. To use more powerful weapons or upgrade soldiers in battle, you just have to click on the buttons on the bottom left or right of the screen and select. Each of these upgrades is also mapped to a hotkey, so you can memorize your favorites and use them, resources permitting.
The best aspect of the design is the map and color system. Depending on your play style, you can zoom out at any time to get a full view of the map. This certainly helps with locating all the objective points, tracking enemy waves, and scouting out extra ammunition and resources. You can also zoom in very close and see individual enemies and terrain textures. There is no lag or interruption in gameplay. In fact, you can’t even stop the action to adjust your strategy. You either battle to the end with the resources at hand or surrender and start again.
The colors really make the action as easy to follow as possible. The aliens are always going to be green. Your soldiers are always going to start out blue. The bases you control are yellow and the bases they control are pink. Even when you’re zoomed out all the way, you can clearly see from color alone where your soldiers are and where they need to be. The active elements of the game are always bright colors against a duller or darker background.
This style is a great help because Infested Planet is a challenging game. You are going to have to constantly adapt to the mutations and spawn patterns of the enemies. Your five soldiers are barely enough to protect your bases, let alone take over many more enemy bases on each map. The points needed to upgrade your armaments or launch a missile attack are not easily earned. Replacement soldiers do spawn eventually, but one accidental death can mean the difference between victory and surrender.
Besides the main campaign, Infested Planet has two other modes to test out your skills. Skirmish mode offers a series of maps at varying difficulties and locations, allowing you to test out strategies you can use in the main campaign. The Weekly Challenge is an online leaderboard mode. Every week, three new maps are generated (gold, silver, and bronze) that everyone can access. You compete to complete the map in the fastest time. Even at bronze, these maps are much harder than the campaign maps, offering an extra challenge for players who want to take it.