The feeling of relief I had as I destroyed a particularly well-defended hive quickly evaporated when the aliens counterattacked me to the north. They had evolved a unit that could lay “mimic eggs” – the eggs exploded when your marines got close and released dangerous clones. With the help of this monster, the two flamethrowers I had on defense were getting overrun and I gave up two bases to pull back. I honestly thought it was a lost cause at that point, but carefully leap-frogging turrets turned out to be the perfect antidote to this new type of enemy, since they could fire on the eggs without triggering them. End result? A perilous victory that took the lives of 60-odd marines but also brought an end to nearly a hundred thousand horrifying xenos.
That battle was the hardest I’ve fought so far in Alex Vostrov’s Infested Planet, a spiritual sequel to his real-time strategy game Attack of the Paper Zombies. The highlight of IP, of course, is the alien enemy, which moves slowly but in large numbers, and adapts to you with a new upgrade each time you take over one of its hives. Build points that are gained after each capture can be spent on training marines and building turrets. Everything can be sold back at cost, so the key to success is to adapt with the aliens and maintain a nice containment on them as they grow more and more powerful. It ends up feeling a bit like a Tower Defense game, albeit one where you can actually counterattack and win.
Infested Planet was released yesterday as a public beta at $15, a 25% discount (35% if you enter the code “STARBEAR”). It’s a great game, and well-worth checking out. If you’re still unsure, read one of Alex Vostrov’s own battle reports, which lays out a Master-level engagement. It includes lots of nice screenshots to show off the vibrant visual design (courtesy of Mike & Greg‘s Greg Wohlwend).