Super Planet Defender is a charming, simple game with obvious inspirations from the classic space shooter Asteroids. Players control a nameless defender of a nameless planet, shooting at incoming comets before certain doom befalls the defender. Whereas Asteroids presents its entire offering upfront – a ship fighting against endless hordes of adversaries – Super Planet Defender presets players a bit more involved gameplay. Power-ups, unlockables, leaderboard support, and even Google Play Achievements keep the player mindlessly shooting comets in their heroic endeavor to save the world – a great way to waste time, indeed.
Developer Rui Madeira’s inaugural game presents a clean, clutterless interface. There’s no lollygagging around the menus – a simple “Normal Mode” button starts the game, but players also have the option to view Google Play Achievements, their weapon unlocks, and the option to turn off ads with a $1 micro-transaction. The ads themselves aren’t too intrusive – every couple times you play the game, a 30-second ad will appear, with no way to skip. A small but expected sacrifice for a free to play game.
Gameplay itself is simple – the player merely moves their finger around the screen to direct the fire of the valiant defender. The standard attack – a relatively weak machine gun – is effective enough against comets. But as the player destroys more and more comets, more weapons are unlocked. For example, destroying a set amount of comets unlocks a shotgun, which is more effective at destroying comets. Ten weapon unlocks ensure the player is always looking forward to the next weapon. This is a satisfying progression system - simple in concept and practice. While many games nowadays offer increasingly complicated unlock systems, Super Planet Defender doesn’t waste the player’s time – kill comets, get weapons, destroy more asteroids.
As the player progresses in the game, the battleground gets appropriately more hectic. Here is where one of the few flaws of Super Planet Defender makes its appearance. In fast-paced combat, the fact that the player uses a finger to swivel around the planet means part of the screen is obscured, depending on how big your fingers are. On smaller phones, this could mean a comet approaches your planet unseen, causing a frustrating game over scenario. Ultimately, the severity of this flaw will depend on your phone and finger size. It doesn’t ruin the game by a longshot – just something to keep in mind.
Super Planet Defender is an extremely polished game. Players transition between stages seamlessly, the game loads instantly, and the art design is minimal, yet effective in invoking the classic arcade feel. While players likely won’t find much to do after unlocking all the weapons (more diverse achievements would have been helpful here), a hard mode and constant competition through the game’s leaderboards might keep veterans coming back for more. In this way, the game accomplishes its mission as a fun, simple time waster.
Super Planet Defender (Reviewed on Android)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Super Planet Defender is a little game with big potential. Definitely check it out if you like the classic arcade feel.