PC Gaming Reviews

Escape From The Red Planet Is Perfect For Beginners

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Escape From The Red Planet - Windows PC

Escape From The Red Planet

Developer: Frosty Pop
Publisher: Frosty Pop

Escape From The Red Planet is the third game I've covered from Frosty Pop, an independent game studio that develops games for mobile devices as well as other platforms. It wasn't until I got pretty far in Escape From The Red Planet did I realize the charm of their titles as it's not so much the difficulty or the amount of content for each game. Rather, it's about the lessons each game teaches the player overall. When I covered Deck 'Em! I mentioned how "safe" and "barebones" the card deck gameplay was. What I didn't realize was that it was to serve as an introduction to the deck-building roguelike genre. As with the other reviews, this was given to us by Frosty Pop themselves so a quick thanks for allowing me to see another of their latest projects.

Its colorful imagery and easy-to-grasp gameplay allows the player to learn skills that can easily transfer into other more defined roguelikes, such as the recently released Death Roads Tournament. Red Planet is a tower defense game that goes to the same extent, by not overwhelming the player with too much of the genre yet allowing newcomers to learn skills necessary to take on a Warhammer 40K game if they wish to dive deeper into the genre. I wrongfully thought Frosty Pop games were "casual," but in reality, these are games meant to be segued into established staples of genres. If they were to make a racing game or a fighting game, I can imagine it would be the same story.

Escape From The Red Planet's level screen takes a tour around Mars, a deadly one anyway.

With that out of the way, Escape From The Red Planet's premise is shockingly simple. Escape from, well, The Red Planet. An exploration on Mars goes wrong and its inhabitants are attempting to kill the commander. Armed with a blaster and a sassy AI tower defense mechanism, the player must find a way off the planet as the dangers increase the further the player explores the planet. There are over 20 levels and each level takes an "Arcade-style" approach. Players looking for an intricate blend of "dungeon crawling" and "tower defense" like The Riftbreaker may need to mute their expectations and re-read the first two paragraphs again.

Initially, the player only has access to a turret and a solar panel. Solar panels provide energy that is used to build structures like the turret, which fires at ground-base enemies. The player also has access to a portable blaster that deals significantly less damage than the turret but it can be used as the player waits for energy to build more structures. The more solar panels, the faster energy will spawn, which will increase the frequency of how much a player can build. As the player unlocks more structures, different enemy types will spawn. Speedsters that can quickly infiltrate your base, strong boss enemies that can take several bullets, aerial opponents, and more await the player.

Even as new tools are introduced, the difficulty and intensity of the Martian bugs won't let up.

The player doesn't have to worry about other bases to defend or any resources outside of energy. There's nothing that is required of the player outside of what is given at each level, meaning that as long as the fundamentals of a Tower Defense game are followed, the player will make it to the extraction point. For example, I found it was better to build solar panels early on so I could have enough energy at any given time to shred through the alien scum. Defense structures like walls and exploding mines are also helpful to bide the player's time. As these are relatively cheap, the player should always refortify whenever possible.

Again, these are small things that not only add up but are also tips that can be applied to other games that require the player to do a lot more. It's simple to pass games like these off as "simple" or "casual," but games like Escape From The Red Planet are important for serving what's effectively a full-sized tutorial. With the price of the game being less than ten dollars, it does its job almost perfectly. Upon clearing the game, the player unlocks Survival mode. There's also a "last stand" mode that works similarly to Survival, yet the only thing the player has access to is their blaster.

The emergency blaster helps defeat enemies when everything is on cooldown although the automatic aiming is a bit too slow.

While Escape From The Red Planet is perfect for beginners of the tower defense and RTS genres, this may not do much for seasoned veterans. What this game can be useful in is that it could be used as a tool by RTS veterans to teach newbies what's going on in real-time via a stream. It's perfect in that regard as the game doesn't take long to beat and the levels are challenging yet fair. Whatever upcoming titles Frosty Pop may have in store for PC and console platforms will more than likely be another introduction to a daunting genre featured in an easy-to-follow manner.

Escape From The Red Planet is now available on Steam.

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