Escape From The Red Planet is a tower defence game incorporating aspects of lite resource management and rail shooters. That sounds like many things, but Escape From The Red Planet manages to simplify this concept to its bone. This simplification helps the game flow pretty well but also leads to aspects where the game is sometimes way too simplified. The simplicity translates to the music and art style too.
This unique blend of genres pushes the game’s fun aspect a ton, but at the same time, it has some frustrating shortcomings due to its simplicity. Escape From The Red Planet is a short game clocking between 2 to 3 hours for the campaign. The short length contributes well to the game. If stretched more, I would think the uniqueness would have worn off.
Escape From The Red Planet is available on Steam for $5.99 USD.
Story – Quirky and Cute
The game is set in a retro-futuristic setting where in 1979 where someone crashed on mars. It is a quirky setting where the main character talks with their computer, arguing as one tries to escape. So ya, the game is all about Escaping From The Red Planet, that’s all. There is some fun back-and-forth between the computer and the protagonist.
But the story is straightforward and a secondary aspect of the game. I was quickly scrolling through the story; it is fun enough to help one through the game. The dialogue is quirky and does its work pretty well.
Gameplay – A Mixture of Things
The game, as said, is an amalgam of various genres. And each of them plays into the other to have a cohesive whole. This is a tower defence game where a wave of enemies comes close to the player, and they must survive. The aliens of mars are pretty slow at the start and slowly ramp up the difficulty. How one reacts to these enemies is a choice. Each area has set points and directions from where the enemies can enter. Here the player will be moving consistently to act.
Enemies in Escape From The Red Planet crawl or fly up to the player as they defend the computer and the tower, which collects energy so that one can have more weapons. The enemies are primarily of 3 kinds: crawling type, clusters or flying. And depending on the type of enemy, there are defensive towers which are introduced to counter them. There are also some purely defensive barricades to help form the ground enemies. So ya, that is the basics of the game. But there is also one more way where a player can defend themselves, named the FPS Parts.
Rail Shooter/FPS Gameplay
Other than the towers and there is one way where the player can do damage no matter what. It is simple: they point at the enemy and have eight bullets on a cool-down. Their shells are pretty strong and help. This section, I feel, can be more fleshed out with different kinds of guns, but it is simple and works. I love how the towers come in the player’s way as one shoot, as this blends in with the world and makes it very cohesive.
But there is a very frustrating aspect to the gameplay. One cannot aim, Where the player shoots are based on auto aim, and there is no way to move it with a mouse. This is incredibly frustrating as I felt I wanted to aim somewhere else than what the game was doing. Actually, “The Final Stand” Mode unlocks later and has a mouse aim. So, this is something which seems possible, only making it more frustrating.
Resource management is only one currency shared between all the towers and upgrades. Tower produces solar energy, which is accumulated over time. So at every chance, there is an option to add more solar panels for more power for faster power cool down. But this comes with the fact that players also need to build towers to defend themselves, so this is the balance everyone has to play through the game.
This aspect ramps up by the end of the game with maximum resources and the tower. This gets fun later in the game as the enemy density ramps up well.
Graphics & Sound – Retro-Futuristic Vibes
The graphics of Escape From The Red Planet are beautiful, with the dimple red and white shroud over the area. This is very well seen and works with the overall simplicity of the game. The vibe of retro-futurism is very much present in the game and the music. It is full of stark colours, with the red planet and the main protagonist being white. This theme mostly follows with faster enemy types having blue while the smallest have purple.
The simple retro music blends into the game’s background, fitting it pretty well. The music has the vibes of the setting of the game, with synth and slow drums all over. The music gets boring after a while, but the short length makes it not overstay its welcome. There are a few settings options, but it is not as necessary in this simple game. The main screen is expanded after finishing the game once with the addition of Survival mode and Last Stand. These are the infinite tower defence and FPS modes, respectfully.
A key to Escape From The Red Planet was provided by Frosty Pop.