Affirmative! Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet 

Your brother's dead. Best go finish what he started and source the best natural energy in the galaxy in Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet.

Read the small print; otherwise, you’ll end up signing away your soul, or worse: get into a game like Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet and then realise that it’s actually a prologue and not the full game you had hoped.

Hey, that’s no reflection on SvenRahn Games or Valkyrie Initiative – it was my fault for not reading it further. I just saw the gameplay trailer and thought, yep, that’s me. Sign me up. Well, I did sign up and here are my thoughts on this reasonably sized prologue available now on Steam.

Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet is an RTS, best compared to Command & Conquer or perhaps Dune 2 (16-bit era). The latter is probably more appropriate based on the so-so colour palette. It doesn’t really pop and is mostly a muddy/sandy haze, but that’s no big deal. Really. Visually, it does the trick and features some rather pleasant cutscenes, too.

Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet Preview - Get to first base
Get to first base. Source: Steam

There’s a story in there as well. However, it isn’t rival factions as such, but the sudden death of your brother. He was a decorated general or something, and you step into his shoes and set out to mine these crystal things called Grimstar. It’s a bit like spice and a natural energy that everybody wants, only in the playable levels; it’s mostly up for grabs save for waves of alien scum looking to put you in the ground.

Each level begins with a briefing, such as harvesting all the crystals or reconnecting a factory and making your own. You’re assigned a hero unit that can summon workers to build structures and harvest, soldiers to shoot stuff and scout, repairer dudes and more. There are even special abilities (as long as you have the dosh) that can take out enemies in one hit. Combat is very straightforward and enjoyable (when you outnumber the enemies or have turrets set up).

The building aspect is intuitive; supply each structure with power and source materials to expand your population and structures, and typically you’ll defend your base and workers from attacks. Of course, you can take the offensive to the enemy and send out scouts to take them out, but destroying an enemy building in Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet means you’ll only have to tackle another base from another section. The key thing here is to source the crystals immediately.

Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet plays out like the aforementioned RTS games as well as Starcraft 2 (I haven’t played the first), and it was very enjoyable – especially as this is played well on the Steam Deck other than a few janky cutscenes and small text. The units and structures look decent enough, and despite the dull colour schemes, it hits the spot. I can’t say the same about the audio.

The pew pews are fine, but the voice acting is a straight-to-video job, and not far off from C&C: Red Alert. The talent is insincere when talking about your brother’s death, and the lieutenant who shows you the ropes has turned it up to 11 on gravel cliches. Again, the sound effects and music are great, and the “As you say” responses each time you click a unit is fun and a little nostalgic, to say the least.

In short, Grimstar: Welcome to the Savage Planet is a decent game worth checking out if you want something similar to the classic RTS games that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel but has some mod cons like levelling up and whatnot. I believe this is coming in early 2023 and will be one worth adding to your wishlist. At the very least, play the demo for yourself now. That’s not an order, soldier.

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