Take a star trek to a not-quite-dead world

We spoke to Kitfox creative director Tanya Short about their new strategy game, Shattered Planet.

Shattered Planet

Shattered Planet may not be as difficult as Dark Souls II — everyone’s current sado-masochistic game of choice — but it promises to be tough-as-nails in its own special way.

Developed by Kitfox Games, a four-person team that’s part of local indie incubator Execution Labs, Shattered Planet is currently available on iOS and in beta form on Android. It’s a turn-based strategy game set on a planet that was blown apart during a war thousands of years ago. You play as a space captain sent to discover the technological and natural secrets hidden on this condemned world. That means working together and fighting with alien faunae, as well as running from the Blight, a black treacle that’s devouring the planet.

shatWhile the isometric, checkerboard surfaces and turn-based gameplay might remind players of slow-burning strategy classics like Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force, Shattered Planet can be played either methodically or, for impatient mobile gaming-types, by manically swiping at the screen — like Diablo for your phone.

“We wanted it to feel really responsive, so people who want a faster action feel can tap at their own pace. Then if you want to, you can take a step back in a really difficult situation and strategize,” says Kitfox creative director Tanya Short.

The team, which includes lead artist Xin Ran Liu and programmers Mike Ditchburn and Jongwoo Kim, has been working on the game for about 10 months. It started with prototypes centred on exploration, but has since grown into a diverse ecosystem where players can acquire animal companions, or manipulate environments in order to draw out more secretive creatures.

The levels are procedurally generated, meaning they’re different every time and one wrong move or bad strategy can result in death and a loss of items. (Although you’ll be able to create more if you collect enough crystals). But it’s the sort of game where you’ll want to pick yourself up and try again.

“It’s quite hard,” says Short. “But we wanted to keep it challenging in a fair way. Some people interpret replayability [sic] as more features so people can grind more and repeat the same actions, but I think there’s a fine line between that and a game that continues to keep you interested in what’s going to happen next.”

She says there will also be some fun in dying, which is good since it might happen a fair bit. “You’ll get an obituary based on what you accomplished that you’ll be able to tweet out,” she says.

There are also plans to release Shattered Planet on PC, and possibly Mac, this summer. On iOS and Android, it’s a free-to-play game with purchasable items and bonus outfits.

There’s also a low-key launch event happening this Friday at Execution Labs’ Plateau office, but it’s primarily intended for people who really want to know more about the game, Kitfox or Execution Labs, so if you happen to fit that category, you can check out their Eventbrite page here. ■

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