Look at those chickens work! This is basically porn for Gonzo the Great.

A Planet of Mine putting the pi in empire

iOS Universal, Android •

Last week an observant reader pointed me toward a Touch Arcade story in which they praise the game, A Planet of Mine, to the high heavens. Having not heard of this apparently hidden gem, I immediately went and downloaded it and…well, I’m not sure. Is it worth downloading? Absolutely. Is it the bee’s knees? Depends on how smart the bee is.

A Planet of Mine is a 4X style game from developer Tuesday Quest in which you colonize planets, then exploit their resources so you can explore more planets. The cool thing about the game is the way this is handled, with planets appearing as 2D circular cutaways with the circumference cut into slices of different types of terrain. You set workers on these slices, tell them to build things or work in the different buildings you have, generate resources, rinse and repeat. I hope I’m making it sound cool, because it is pretty cool.

Once you leave your home doughnut, you can travel to other systems and encounter a bevy of other races, each with their own abilities, and decide to wipe them out or shake their flippers and bond. It’s deeper than the cutesy Crossy Road-like animals that make up the different races would have you believe. It’s also free-to-play, but it’s one of the good ones. Download it for nothing, and there’s a lot to see without paying a dime. If you feel like it (and you will), pay the devs some money and unlock new alien races piecemeal, or just slip them a fiver and unlock everything the game has to offer.

Riddle me this…

The issues I have with A Planet of Mine is the complete lack of a tutorial and a lack of polish that pulls you out of the experience right when you’re trying to get into it a little deeper. There is a tutorial mode in the game, but I’ll be damned if I learned anything that would help me to play and win a game. The lack of polish comes, mainly, in the menus. There is a Civilopedia-like reference pane in the game, but the way it’s presented is less than ideal. Links don’t always work and, when they do, the text is often half off the screen requiring scrolling up to find it or, worse, is filled with question marks. Now, I think the question marks are there because I haven’t encountered something yet, rather than being just empty entries, but I’m not sure. Assuming they are just hidden until I discover them, I’m not really sure that should be the point of the Civilopedia. I should really be able to research what I want, when I want. There are also some translation oddities but nothing game breaking.

That’s really the only issue I have with A Planet of Mine, the lack of knowing what the hell is going on.  I’m putting it together as I play more, but most of the time feel like I’m not sure if I’m making the right move. Still, for a free-to-try title, it’s pretty great. Download it for the ability to spin your circular planet to make time speed up (or slow down, just like Christopher Reeve). Download it for all the different races you can either discover or play as. Download it for all the different play modes available, including 13 pre-made scenarios or “challenges”. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You might even, like me, gladly toss the developer $5 to see where this thing can take you.

[I’m not really ready to call this a Review or Short Cut, as I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time with the game. Will we publish a full review? Maybe, but I think you can grasp how I feel about A Planet of Mine from this news post. Is any of this relevant to you? Not really, I just wanted to let you know why this is a News piece rather than a Review or Short Cut. Now I’m just typing because I love my own words. Look at them! -ed.]

Notable Replies

  1. Im really glad this game has got some more coverage here, because I think this game is really great.

    The devs have said they wanted to leave a lot for the player to explore themselves, which is why the encyclopedia starts empty. Its a brave move but clearly they havent tuned that feature quite right as a lot of players are in the dark at first. On the flip side, Ive only discovered 1/3 of the avaliable planet types so far, and its a big boost to replayability to know there is much more to discover.

    Theres a few things that certainly should have been included in the tutorial. If youre anything like me youre going to want to get to space asap, but youre not told how to find petrol (build a well next to, or on top of, trees and bushes). Ive got a pretty good hang of the game if anyone gets stuck.

  2. I found a video of the dev playing the game. I watched about 30 minutes. His accent is bit thick but you can mostly understand him and what's going on. The lack of a proper encyclopedia for the game sucks but I guess the dev maybe wants to highlight the discovery aspect of the game. Here is a link to the video https://youtu.be/WHHssrvn284

  3. I’ve been meaning to make a thread about this game since it came out. It’s quite a lot of fun, although it’s a little hard to figure out at first. Once you figure out the basics, it’s a pretty complex, interesting economic exploration game.

    It reminds me of what a city builder should be, except your building an empire. Think of it as a simplified Distant Worlds that was actually a manageable game.

    Something I picked up on from that video of the dev streaming: the world at the bottom of the race selection screen is your first planet for the game. You can check it out and select a race with a power that plays off that specific planet.

  4. There seems to be a problem with the new patch causing the game to crash on startup. I fixed it with a delete and reinstall of the game.

    As far as I know you cant visit alien controlled worlds. You can trade with them or attack them. Its possible the other planets in your system haven't come under your sphere of influence yet. Every time you level up your sphere gets bigger.

    Over farming/foresting can be useful as the tile often has great stuff to mine underneath it. As youve found you need to keep a few trees otherwise you cant get wood. One worker can normally safely harvest wood without needing to micromanage, or two workers if you have a nursery/greenhouse type building.

    Your resources are magically shared between your planets, so you could have the start of the production chain on one planet, and the end on another if you like.

  5. So the game is called a 4x mainly because the developer thought that it was the closest thing to it (and they’re French). He said that its really more of an experimental economic sim with lots of space exploration. You can’t at this time take over another factions planet, and I don’t think he’s planning on doing it later. You can however bomb/missile the shit out of it. This alters the terrain on their planet to something less favorable.

    To go to another planet, it has to be inside your factions vision radius. It’s a little confusing because you can see little planet shapes, but if they’re not highlighted inside your field of view, you can’t go to them yet. You can increase the raidus by leveling up your ascension level, or by taking the Astronomy technology. I think that’s what it’s called anyway. (Side note: you guys have probably noticed I always forget the names of things). Once you can see it, you can either choose it as a destination from your rocket, or click the ship icon on the planet pop up in the space screen. You will need oil to fuel your rocket. It will cost proportional to the distance from your planet times the number of citizens you’re sending. I recommend sending just one.

    Wood is a regenerating resource. Wood and food are the only two infinite resources in the game. Bushes and forests will regenerate each tick forever unless you’re mining them faster than they replenish, or the pollution level of the planet is preventing full regeneration. You cannot, to my knowledge, plant more trees or bushes. You can make farms and plantations for food, but forests are the only source of wood. Chop it wisely.

    Every other resource is finite. You get what you get and make the best of it.

    You have access to all of your resources on all your planets. You don’t need to worry about shipping them or anything like that. Getting a new planet is just like getting a new city in Civ. You manage them all.

    I like to think of this game as if you took the map out of Civ, and just made a real time Paradox-esque speed game out of managing the cities. It’s a blast, and as a set of goals to learn the game I suggest not worrying about score or anything like that at first. Play a few games of the 300 limited time or unlimited time and try to do the following goals in order:

    • Get a citizen to another planet
    • Build and run a Museum (or science production thing)
    • Make a trade
    • Make some Dynamite (or another resource with a complex resource chain)
    • Try something cool, like terraform a space, or shoot some missiles.

    Getting your rocket to another planet means you’ve figured out how to get the simple resources and keep your faction alive at least to the bare minimum. Running the museum (or science production thing) makes you learn how to run a really simple supply chain. Making a trade is easy, but it shows you how they work. After you can make some complex resources, you can do anything you want. You should be able to understand the challenge goals at that point. That should teach you everything you need to know. I haven’t even finished all of that myself.

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