Parents' Guide to

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Great strategy goes sci-fi with complex yet familiar entry.

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age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

Sophisticated and great-looking turn-based strategy game

If you're looking for a simple game, or an action game, this one is not for you. This is one of the most sophisticated turn-based strategy games. It has a strategic level map and then a drop into tactical battle map. The graphics are great. There is much to learn. Mastering this game exercises your cognitive skills! I believe no one could say this game was 'mindless entertainment' that was a waste of time. If you believe games can be great learning and skill development exercises, this one is for you.

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For the past decade, this popular strategy series has taken gamers through grand scale battles of swords and sorcery, but it's now taking to the stars for a tale of interplanetary conquest. While Age of Wonders: Planetfall's sci-fi setting adds lots of new creative encounters and abilities to the mix, it's also clear that it hasn't abandoned its fantasy roots. In fact, a lot of the factions feel like classic fantasy roles with a futuristic coat of paint. What might have been a druid before is now a geneticist in tune with nature. A roguish thieves' guild has evolved into a galactic Syndicate of devious merchants. And those hearty dwarvish miners? Well, they're still hearty dwarvish miners … but this time in power armor with giant drill tanks. This isn't just a reskinned fantasy game though. The game seamlessly blends its familiar fantasy elements with a futuristic setting in a way that should appeal to fans of both genres. Besides, who hasn't wanted to ride into battle on a laser-mounted dinosaur before?

In terms of gameplay, Planetfall is simply stunning, but also a bit overwhelming, because there's a lot more strategy involved. Between battles, players must build and maintain their diplomatic relations with other factions and even other species, while harvesting resources and choosing which skills might turn the tide of war in their favor. There's a lot to keep track of, so one small misstep or poor decision might come back to haunt you far later down the road. There's also a lot more strategy involved in battle as well. Skirmishes are smaller in scale but take full advantage of the environments. Blown out buildings and other rubble can break line of sight and provide great cover if used correctly, and the variety of abilities from each factions' units gives lots of tactical options to use in surprising and fun ways. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each faction is a daunting task, but it's also a rewarding one. Strategy fans should buckle in tight and enjoy the bold new direction that Age of Wonders: Planetfall takes the series into.

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