Review: Beware Planet Earth

REVIEW-INFO STORY In Beware Planet Earth, you play as a farmer whose mission is to prevent Martians from stealing Barney’s cattle. Who is Barney? He’s the guy who locked himself in the outhouse and helps you keep his beloved “ladies” safe.

PRESENTATION From the moment you start this game up you can see that the art style is heavily inspired by Popcap Games’ “Plants vs Zombies”, it’s almost like an interactive comic book with it’s bold character design and animation.  The graphics on the title screen seem to be a subtle compliment towards the classic 1950’s Sci-Fi movies, you know the ones where those Martians come down to Earth in their shiny flying saucers and want to take over the world?  Sounds kind of familiar..

The game doesn’t have any real voice acting to comment on either as all of the interactions between Barney and the player are done through speech bubbles and pop up text. This isn’t too much of a problem though since the conversations are usually just Barney updating you on his latest creation or giving you a few hints to keep his beautiful bovines away from the enemy.

GAMEPLAY The game spans over 50 levels that increase in complexity over time, they’re also set along the peaks of the 4 seasons. The player must help Barney (who is locked in his outhouse) protect his precious cattle from the seemingly endless Martian forces by placing traps and gadgets along the perimeter of the enemies set path. To craft these machines, you must collect the “gears” that are created by placing distributors, or by destroying the haybales with one of the aliens misplaced laser guns. The aliens come in different varieties and classes, and some require direct action from the player to thwart their evil plans. The most common enemy is a fairly simple Martian soldier, whose only motive is to steal the cattle and with their low health limit, it’s fairly rare for them to actually succeed. But don’t be fooled, later on you will encounter some more interesting and fearless enemies, such as the Red Ninjas, Riot Martians, Private Investigators and the Mad Scientists.

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They can all be thwarted with the correct placement of your defences whilst some may require a bit of extra assistance from the Laser Gun. You also have the ability to destroy badly placed defences by using the ‘special remote’, upon ‘removal’ you will receive 1 “gear’ in return. Plus there is also the option to ring a cowbell to increase the speed of cattle that have been saved and are returning to the field. Beware Planet Earth! has an interesting way of interacting with the player itself, by using the Laser Gun and other tools it is forcing the player to remain aware and on their toes throughout the full  length of each level. Most games in the Tower Defence genre rely on the placement of the towers alone to succeed, meaning you can simply place them in their positions and leave the game to run. But with BPE you have to be constantly aware and ready to move to ensure the overall success of your defence systems.