A Planet Stronghold Review

A sci-fi RPG game https://www.winterwolves.com/planetstronghold.htm
johnny31s1c
Young scout
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:23 am

A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by johnny31s1c » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:25 am

After being very disappointed with Bionic Heart, Heileen, and most recently The Flower Shop I had pretty much sworn off Winter Wolves games entirely. However, when I saw the description of Planet Stronghold I decided to give the game a shot, and I was well rewarded for taking a chance. This is easily the best game Winter Wolves has released. Planet Stronghold is a great combination of Magic Stones, Spirited Hearts, and Mass Effect.
Planet Stronghold is a solid sci-fi RPG with turn-based tactical combat. Throughout most of the game the player can choose the make-up of the (normally) four person party from eight NPCs of four different classes. The mix of classes can greatly impact the flow of the battle, which makes combat fun and exciting. Eventually the player will find a system that works very well for them.
Planet Stronghold has a decent story line with several side quests and background stories for the NPCs. While nothing goes overly in depth, there is enough substance to make the stories compelling, but without making them tedious or boring. While some of the plots may be generic, you can't expect eight characters in a sci-fi game to all have never before seen character archetypes.
As with other Winter Wolves games the main character develops relationships with the NPCs, and certain achievements can be unlocked by developing relationships to a certain point. Decisions in the game will affect relationships with multiple NPCs, so a player really gets to flesh out their own character by their actions and the NPCs they best associate with. The game does a nice job of rewarding the player with cutscenes for relationship achievements, which are a nice mix of both tastefulness and eroticism.
All achievements cannot be unlocked in a single play-through, which is fine as the re-playability factor of Planet Stronghold is very high. With four classes to choose from for the main character and two sexes (gender does affect which relationship achievements can be unlocked, I think), and many important storyline branches, the game promises many rewarding hours of gameplay to see all of the content.
While Planet Stronghold is the best game Winter Wolves has released, it is not without drawbacks. The first is that, like many RPGs, combat does become tedious as the game goes on. Once you have reached a certain comfort level with how to defeat most enemies, the multiple repetitive battles can seem like a grind. Second, while the story promises a great build-up for the final battles, I thought the end fights and content were a bit disappointing. I was hoping for a more challenging and diverse finale than the game provided. Finally, I wish there was more content and side-story quests to take advantage of. I really enjoyed playing the game, but I wanted just a little more.
In the end Planet Stronghold really is an amazing game, especially at under $25. At the end of the game there is a hint that an expansion or sequel might follow, and I really hope that is the case. Planet Stronghold has renewed my faith in Winter Wolves games, and provided me with many great hours of entertainment. If you are looking for a good RPG that will last you many hours of gaming for a bargain price, Planet Stronghold might be the game for you.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 14902
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by jack1974 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:14 am

Thanks a lot, is one of the best reviews I had so far about the game! :)
I think that you didn't like my other games perhaps because you like RPG, and don't like VN? I agree with you that PS is my best game so far, but I also think that the other games you mentioned were good, but definitely for a different target audience.
And I'm glad that, in this world dominated by cheap $0.99 iphone games, people like you (and many others to be honest) recognized that the price for so many hours of entertainment (it's my longest game to date) is a bargain 8)

I am definitely going to do an add-on (a sequel might come too but not really soon), the only thing I need to verify is if the game could have done better, especially in the female public, if was fantasy. I personally like both sci-fi and fantasy, but for some reason fantasy seems still to be much more popular. So I'm trying a few RPGs in the fantasy world next, and if I can find the time/strength release a decent add-on for PS later this year (but I'm not sure yet, have so many things going on!).

User avatar
gino
Young scout
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:45 am

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by gino » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:20 am

I just bought the game yesterday, and I must say that was shocked when I saw all the alien races quests! I know you said it was long, but that's... really long! I am only at the beginning of the Dredans race quest and if I think there is also the King's side (I sided with the Prince, Shiler is too hot! :D) I can clearly say that my money was well spent.
Looking forward for an add on or possible sequel! :wink:

johnny31s1c
Young scout
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:23 am

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by johnny31s1c » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:15 pm

It was not my intent to dump on the other Winter Wolves games; but yes, the VN genre was not my thing and that seemed to be the direction Winter Wolves was taking for awhile. I understand the need to keep the female demographic interested, especially if that's what's paying the bills so games like Planet Stronghold can be produced.

I would be very excited to see a fantasy RPG using a similar formula to Planet Stronghold. In my opinion the key to Planet Stronghold's success was not the sub-genre choice but the fleshed out characters, solid storyline, and high replay enjoyment factor. I think a fantasy RPG would be even more welcome than a Planet Stronghold sequel, and even better if it draws more players.

Planet Stronghold also excites me because Winter Wolves really pushed the envelope on this game. The fact has been highlighted that this is the longest Winter Wolves game so far which is great and increases the value of buying the game. Furthermore, there are multiple elements of what Winter Wolves has done very well in other games combined very nicely. This isn't a simple game, but a more complex and complete game using multiple aspects. The relationship mechanism from other games has been incorporated nicely, along with good story lines, tactical combat, and an equipment system. These have all meshed nicely, and it gives me hope for what Winter Wolves will be doing in the future. Can we someday look forward to a fantasy RPG similar to the greatness of Planet Stronghold, but with additions like a castle/town simulator along the lines of TV Station Manager? I don't know what Winter Wolves will be doing in the future, but the evolution it has shown with Planet Stronghold has me excited for what is coming next.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 14902
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by jack1974 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:26 pm

Well as you said I need to make some more female-friendly games so I can then produce big games like Planet Stronghold. Right now I'm working on a simple dating/life sim, and started doing a fantasy RPG, though I am not sure will have it so long as PS, but should have more art-variety and more cinematic battles.
johnny31s1c wrote:Can we someday look forward to a fantasy RPG similar to the greatness of Planet Stronghold, but with additions like a castle/town simulator along the lines of TV Station Manager?
I'm making a game that indeed could be described like that, which should appeal also females, that combines RPG/simulation/strategy, called Queen Of Thieves. It will have:
- RPG battles, albeit with few party members since the story is based on the three sisters
- Simulation part (you'll run a shop in town)
- Romance/dating sim (there will be some boys to date, this part probably will please only the girls but is optional)

if that one goes well can do other game-setting, maybe more male oriented so can also please them :)

Jim1958
Young scout
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by Jim1958 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:55 pm

I really liked this game. I am now doing my second pass through. Looking forward to an add-on. If you are going to increase the number of hero subplots I would like to see one for Nelson and an alien race - how's that for pushing the envelope. However from dialog in the game there is precedent for it.

Count me in for a Fantasy RPG. Swords instead of lasers is always fun. If it will be female based then maybe throw in a lesbian option for the dating part.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 14902
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by jack1974 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:35 pm

Jim1958 wrote: Count me in for a Fantasy RPG. Swords instead of lasers is always fun. If it will be female based then maybe throw in a lesbian option for the dating part.
Considering the main character is the amazon princess, you can be sure there will be a romance subplot for that 8)

Quitch
Young scout
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:49 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by Quitch » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:55 pm

I agree with the reviewer on the game being excellent, and I'm glad it allows for a male lead. The romance element of Bioware RPGs is popular from both sides of the gender divide so I was glad to see Winter Wolves finally offering me a game I could put myself in fully. I hope you won't be returning to "female protagonist only" for every game again.
johnny31s1c wrote:While Planet Stronghold is the best game Winter Wolves has released, it is not without drawbacks. The first is that, like many RPGs, combat does become tedious as the game goes on. Once you have reached a certain comfort level with how to defeat most enemies, the multiple repetitive battles can seem like a grind.
He's also right here that the game suffers from a power curve issue, that by the mid-point of the game you've probably identified your dream team and the tactic you will use in every battle. As I highlighted in my "review" this is due to a lack of there being enough differentiation between armour and weapons resistance ratings, and some balance issues with the system in general. More multi-part battles would probably help as it limits the "spam psionics and then rest" approach you can take.

Still, you can avoid a lot of that by not fighting every map battle, it's simply not necessary. Stick to the special locations once you have your team and tactics down and you should be fine.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 14902
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by jack1974 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:07 pm

Quitch wrote:I agree with the reviewer on the game being excellent, and I'm glad it allows for a male lead. The romance element of Bioware RPGs is popular from both sides of the gender divide so I was glad to see Winter Wolves finally offering me a game I could put myself in fully. I hope you won't be returning to "female protagonist only" for every game again.
For RPGs, I'll always try to offer both gender. Consider though that it's a lot of work! I'm not aware of many other indie RPGs which allow different gender and also have different romance option (and there's a reason for that, is a lot of work :lol: ).
In general though since RPGs are more "gender-neutral" as target market I'll always try to have both male/female main characters. For dating sim, probably will have more females since the main target for them are girls (I'm talking about otome games of course).
Quitch wrote:Still, you can avoid a lot of that by not fighting every map battle, it's simply not necessary. Stick to the special locations once you have your team and tactics down and you should be fine.
Yes, I even made the possibility to evade if you're "caught" on purpose. I don't like having too many random battles even in games with great combat systems like Bioware/Troika ones... so can imagine in my more modest RPGs :)

beliar
Young scout
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:48 am

Re: A Planet Stronghold Review

Post by beliar » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:21 pm

My review of Planet Stronghold is up on my blog.

Post Reply