My feedback: Why I didn't buy Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense... at first
I've played Planet Stronghold and Loren and really liked both games. They are charming and very well done, so naturally I began looking into what other games Winterwolves had to offer. And while I wouldn't think of my self as a VN player I sure liked combining it with RPG elements to combine them into a compelling narrative.
1) I didn't even knew it existed
While I occasionally checked Winterwolves store page I usually rely on Steam for new purchases and to know what's new.
2) I was on the fence of the whole card came mechanics, for a long, long time
So after I discovered PSCD in mid March I realized it wasn't supposed to be an RPG like Planet Stronghold. If that would have been the case, I would have bought it right off the bat. But being as it was I still figured I might give a demo a shot. Unfortunately, there was none on Steam (and still isn't), so I marked PSCD for my wish list and decided to come back and check for a demo once in a while (completely blending out the idea that I could have checked the Winterwolves Store).
I guess that PSCD essentially being a combination of VN and Card Collectable Game might have been one of the very reasons why this game didn't do as well as expected. Jack wrote in another feedback thread that the majority of VN players are female and I can imagine that CCGs are not doing really well in the female game demographics. But I have no hard data on that. So it might have been a suboptimal combination of genres... or maybe not I'm not an expert, I'm just giving feedback.
3) I finally found the demo on the Winterwolves store, completed the demo and bought the game on Steam (I'm just a sucker for having all my games in one account). So far (Mission 19) I'm really enjoying the game, but it has some flaws.
I really love the art style, it implies a more serious take on the setting, the (I suppose) semi realism instantly gave it a grittier style, which seemed to fit the idea of a lone border outpost in the middle of a galactic war, fending for itself, surviving against all odds. It had a bit of a Battlestar Galactica vibe going for me from the start.
Sadly it was shot down faster by the too cheerful and lighthearted writing, than Starbuck could blow a cylon raider out of the sky. Don't get me wrong the writing isn't bad, it made me laugh a couple of times and I enjoyed it, but it certainly is misplaced. It doesn't fit the mood, the struggle for survival is swapped out for the struggle to find the right boy or girlfriend.
That could have been done better. A war setting is a great backdrop to show what people are made of, how they react and cling to their values or throw them overboard, when the shit really hits the fan.
Loren on the other hand really captured that essence, that having a loved one can give a person the strength to pull through anything, to keep going against all odds, because there is that special someone who is worth all the suffering and the pain, that even one self's death is acceptable if it helps to keep that person safe.
So yeah, PSCD never had me on the edge of my seat, its story progresses slowly and never really picks up the pace. It feels more like a stroll in the park, than a fight for survival and the game mechanics don't seem to help create tension as well. I don't know how that could be solved, perhaps by some sort of resources that are expended every battle (after all, they are unsure when a new drop ship with supplies would/could come in) and are carried over. Losing unit cards should have a serious impact on that counter, after all they represent the colonies defenses and forces. So if you lose a squad of infantry, people died, the enemy destroys a wall, well, that wall is gone and leaves an opening in the colonies defenses.
It would also open up new moral dilemma. I might not have given the rebels materials, if the game mechanics represent that with a serious hit to my own resources. But as it were in the game, the impact was barely noticeable.
That train of thought could be continued for more decisions. What am I (read Diana or Alex) willing to do for the colonies survival, how far will I go, what moral borders will I cross, or not?
My final verdict: The game has a lot of potential, which is unfortunately never utilized and perhaps it would have fared better as a RPG. And if it's not a lot of a hustle, please make the demo available on Steam, it might help to acquire more customers.
Overall I enjoyed the game and I'm really looking forward to Planet Stronghold 2 and Loren 2, in the meantime I might give SOTW a shot.