League of Planets from Brave Men Games is a side-view scrolling shooter with alien themes that excels with its inventive enemies and bosses yet lacks any significant depth.
You play as one of six characters who are the remaining forces of an inter-planetary alliance to take back the planets conquered by the evil Emperor Wharg III. The small resistance must battle through an array of enemy ships and then take on the boss of the planet. If the attempt goes well, you successfully reclaim the planet and move on to the next one. The entire game consists of five levels that vary in setting; you transverse an ant hill, an icy terrain, the insides of an alien and Wharg III’s own private arsenal. As you battle through the enemy alien forces, some of the exploding ships will drop health and power-up packs you can utilize on the rest of your quest.
The simple plot is complemented with simple game play. You shoot upgradable light missiles with one button, a bomb with another and maneuver with the joystick. Additionally, the game only has the five levels mentioned earlier and six characters, two of which need to be unlocked. The character options are mostly cosmetic in fashion, so the game play does not change based on the character selected.
The power-ups did not transition from one level to the next, so each level you have to re-collect all the power-ups. This was a smart choice as it makes each level a new challenge to max out the weapon. As with all games in this genre, the more power-ups you collect, the easier the game becomes. This game is no different; in fact, it may be the game’s weakest point, outside of being short. After maxing out the guns, you can easily cruise through the level until the boss shows up. The game does have the option to increase the difficulty. Doing this makes the aliens harder to kill, thereby making it harder to collect power-ups.
The visuals are simple, but the seamless movement is crisp and enjoyable. Prior to each level, a start-up screen depicting the particular level is shown. Each of the visuals has a look similar to old, B movie alien films of the mid-1900s. The game has unique music for each level and each track has a nice sound and sci-fi feel to it. Additionally, the metallic thud whenever you hit an enemy ship is a nice touch.
The game opens up with an introduction and synopsis of the game with scrolling up text, similar to the way the Star Wars films open up. However, the text is poorly written in non-coherent chunks. This is particularly annoying if you read it, but thankfully you are not required to, unless you like that sort of thing. This may be another layer of the B movie motif, which makes it an interesting addition to the game.
The bosses, while visually well drawn, tend to have the same pattern as each other. There appeared no discernible difference between the first and the last boss in the game, at least in the lower difficulty settings. This lack of variance is slightly annoying as the game is short already, but as a flip side, completing the entire game does not become monotonous.
The game is solid, just lacking in depth. It is an interesting game that harkens back to old B movie horror films, and is worth buying just for the imaginative opening scenes and the somewhat funny ending. The game play is repetitive, however it never has an opportunity to become monotonous since it is so short.
Final Rating: 6/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: XBLIG
Time to completion: Less than an hour
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy provided by Brave Men Games
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Why you should buy it: If you enjoy side-scrolling shooters and aliens, you will enjoy it.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hate B movies or want more depth to your game, perhaps you should look somewhere else.