Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios

What’s interesting to me is I had a friend (who loves the game, FWIW) mention offhand how bad the art and graphics were. Like comically bad. I just thought it was interesting, because I’ve always thought the game looked pretty good for the genre. There are some animations that aren’t the best and the map can be hard to see things, but overall I always thought it looked good.

I’m inclined to lean more towards your friend. Although I think the art fits the settings well - the more flat, pastel sci-fi vs the more saturated, vibrant and high-contrast-y fantasy.

For ex:

Compared to AOW 3, Planetfall has much less distinctive UI (honestly, flat and rectangular UI feels a bit low end) and overall the sense of terrain flatness is greatly increased.

I feel like legibility is worse in Planetfall - you have to really zoom down to see what’s going on where you can much more easily see the same in AOW3.

It also doesn’t help that 1/2 the map in the campaign is covered by “former cityscape” terrain tiles, which are possibly the least legible terrain type in the game. Notice that the entire eastern side of the map is covered by “former city” terrain which you wouldn’t be able to tell without actually playing the game.

By contrast, here’s Endless Legend and Civ 6.

Endless Legend is starting to look pretty dated now:

Civ 6 looks good today with the “make it look like Civ 5” semi-official mod by one of the art developers from the team. I think it’s called “Environment Skin: Sid Meier’s Civilization 5”.

But… you have to play Civ 6 in order to enjoy that, and Civ 6 is easily the worse of all the games here ;).

It’s a beautiful game, and only grew more so when I learned how the structures and such work, making it more functional.

I should say I like the campaign, btw. Maybe i’m the only one. It’s quite “old school” in that it’s basically a way to introduce factions and mechanics at an enjoyable pace, but there are branching paths in it and it’s engaging enough.

I’m also not aggressively against the voice acting. I think it’s well enough. The modern AOW series has always had a bit of tongue in cheek attitude about it.

That Planetfall screenshot isn’t very representative of what I see in the game.

Here’s a screenshot I just took of my current game:

Plenty of contrast, mountains, hills, water, etc. Looks pretty good to me.

As someone who doesn’t have the game, I’m going to jump in and opine that’s almost indistinguishable from Enidigms. Very washed out greenblue mush.

Hmm. Maybe. I do have to say that the game does look better when playing than what you might see in static screenshots. Perhaps that’s the difference?

So one could say that … art is subjective? And @JoshoB might be right, it might be that when you play the game and know what the bits and bops represent it’s a lot more meaningful. But I also felt the picture @Enidigm used to represent Plantefall was maybe the worst one I’d ever seen (and he also picked the best AoW3 looks - which in my opinion is in the green/forest areas, though I hasten to add AoW3 still looks gorgeous to me, no reason to reduce one in order to elevate the other, imo) - it seems low quality somehow, like the settings are lowered from what I’m used to, but I can’t put my finger on it.

I still think my own screenshots have been very representative. Here are some I took recently from three different games.


(Note on this one I used Amazon tech to create several forests for powerful in-game effects)


(Note on this one PyrX gas is slowly filling the game world, waiting for me to ignite it to my Doomsday victory)

Also note on the second two I have the Hex map enabled, which I like the look of, but I have it off in my most recent game - I can’t decide if I like it on or off, so it’s off for now, and that top screen is from the most recent game.

Personally I think it’s gorgeous, and any readability issues (of which I really don’t have any anyway) could be easily resolved by zooming out to the tile view.

Honestly, I suspect a lot of the controversy is just the color palette - I like it, but it definitely isn’t “normal” for a game in this genre.

I think it’s more seeing the forest from the trees vs seeing the trees from the forest. There’s a lot of detail up close, but panned out it looks flatter and less detailed.

Anyway not trying to argue that it’s bad only that anyone thinking it wasn’t as good as AOW 3 wasn’t just being idiosyncratic and subjective. I think Scott’s images above look much better than mine, but then i wasn’t trying to find stuff that looked good; kind of like getting that great landscape shot ahead of you and not that pile of trash just to your right, i was just aiming for an “average” screenshot.

OTOH, that’s from the campaign, and my other side point was that people saying it looked bad might well have only played the campaign so far.

What I really want now are more battle maps, fighting in the same ruins over and over gets real old real quick.

I rarely fight in ruins, so I found this a surprising take.

also surprised at this.

There are many more tactical battlefields than before.

Amd you can make your own battlefields too if so inclined.

Aren’t tactical maps randomly generated?

At least I felt like they were in AoW3. Maybe not specific sites (like farms or dungeons) but most overworld fights had rocks and trees and walls in random places.

No, they most certainly are not. Many times, I have thought, “oh, this map again.” I wish they were random.

I had a few hours to dig into this over the weekend and it’s definitely growing on me. I played the first campaign mission on easy and felt confident enough to start the second on medium. It’s definitely got a “one more turn” addictive quality, but I feel like I’m flailing around. There are way too many systems that aren’t adequately explained (I would have appreciated a manual). There are a ton of icons I don’t understand (there seem to be at least two shield icons). I’m also not loving the tech tree. I’m just randomly researching what’s quickest, and I get the impression I should be specializing in advancing up specific paths. I’ll keep at it for a whileand I’ll see if the wiki is any more fleshed out

To respond to myself, it looks like the only way you can get that info is by clicking on the center pin for a sector. It will have a message on the right side in the sector description that says it can’t be prospected, if that’s the case. No indication, as long as you are Dvar, means it can be, as far as I can tell.

So… it’s a way. Not necessarily a good way. It’d be nice if it were like how when you select a colonizer you get a special overlay icon indicating which sectors can be colonized. Select a prospector, and you get a special overlay icon indicating which sectors can be prospected. I may send in that suggestion.

Regardless, I’m at 30 hours with this now, after having owned it less than a week, and a full work week at that. That’s crazy for me. And put me in the camp of “this is the most gorgeous game in its genre”, especially at ultra-wide resolutions so you can fit even more of the pastel panoply on screen at once.

I must have fought on this map a dozen times.

Yeah, add me into the camp of wanting more tactical maps. I had the same gripe with AoW3. I was truly tired of the farmland map and the fire hazard map playing that game.

I’ve been flip flopping a bit between campaign and random map games. Campaign because I wanted to try and get a bit of an understanding behind the factions/secret tech and how the leaders sorta are. Something I never really achieved with AoW3 because the base game campaign was pretty shit. Again, the campaign in Planetfall I’m finding lacking. Too many quests for a start. And while it tries to be open world, it ends up being more like five different hands pulling me in different directions. I’d be much happier if Triumph did a campaign that was significantly shorter, something composing a couple of key battles and a smaller number of objectives to complete.

I think I’ll go back to random map again, but I know when I meet some new leader, I’ll wonder what their story might’ve been.