Mankind is the most destructive species on the planet. We have a beautiful home to live in with enough resources to sustain us, yet our greed and selfishness demand that we want more. Bigger, more powerful cars, faster aeroplanes, and advanced technology to take us into the stars. However, this way of life comes at a cost and our planet is slowly dying. What would you do if you could start again? You’d get to pick your planet, choose how you wish to run it, and make everyone happy. But there is a catch! Money has to be made because you know that nothing in life comes for free. This is the principle of Imagine Earth, a colony simulation title that allows you to create a beautiful planet and forget about the mess known as Earth.
Developed and published by Serious Bros, this is a resource management simulation title that is out of this world. The allure of creating a paradise world is tough for anyone to turn down, so why not take the job? You control every aspect of your company’s planetary expansion program and you handle the health and wellbeing of every citizen that now calls it home. With an array of mechanics to master and a balanced learning curve, you will be up and running in no time.
Imagine Earth is a bittersweet game that delivers some home truths.
Many of the points made in Imagine Earth are poignant and hammer home the mistakes that mankind has made across the years. Pollution, destruction of habitats, and a desire to become wealthy are key components of each stage you play. It’s a bittersweet moment when you get the balance right and your colonists are happy, healthy, and your bank balance grows.
The game is split across three categories, Campaign, Competition, or Endless Mode. The Campaign comprises nine planets for you to colonise, each has its challenges and unique opponents for you to defeat. The game has a fine balance between progress and environmental damage and you must weigh up your choices to ensure that your people prosper. The Competition option has you facing off against your competitors in a winner takes all scenario. The victor is the corporation who takes the most points, befriend your opponents or buy them out. Either way, be shrewd, move fast, and monopolise the planet. The last choice is Endless mode, which offers limitless gameplay with no end objective. Choose your homeland, design each city, and turn a profit.
Science, planning, and expansion.
What makes Imagine Earth so great is the simplicity of its approach, but the complexities of its mechanics. On a base level, the gameplay revolves around placing structures that grow and support each city. The aim is to bring many people to each planet while ticking off objectives as you go. You’ll mine certain resources, sell some rare minerals or provide the corporation with materials for another planet. Each task is intrinsically linked, and your progress on one mission supports the next you take on. This can be seen in the in-depth research tree that enables you to build bigger and greener structures. Whether it’s larger farms, environmentally friendly energy production, or improved housing, science is the key to a better future.
Would you like to live next to a pig farm, or a belching, bellowing coal power plant? I know I wouldn’t, and your new inhabitants don’t appreciate it either. Planning the exact placement for properties is a minefield, as alien structures offer buffs, as do certain terrain tiles. You must plan every move if you are to be successful, and this only gets more complex as the game goes on. Your one ever-expanding city quickly becomes two and then three. Each metropolis is a separate entity that requires energy, food, production, and more. You end up juggling many tasks as you plan to harvest rare materials, turn a profit, and keep the people happy.
Imagine Earth is more than just base-building action.
Another great aspect was the constant requirement to sell goods, produce high-end products, and sell and buy shares. This base building game quickly becomes more than just that with its financial elements sneaking their way into the action. Your opponents are aggressive and will stop at nothing to be crowned the number one corporation. Do you allow them this accolade and lose out on your rightful place at the top, or do you manipulate the markets and slowly take over?
With space trading an essential tool to tip the balance of power in your favour, you quickly learn when to sell items and when to buy them. If you have no money, you can’t take over the opposition, so use the surrounding resources to mine for gold and other rare materials and make a killing. Alongside the legal money-making operations, you can use natural events to decimate your foes. Blowing them up isn’t considered best practice, but if it gets you one step ahead, who cares! There is no hard and fast way and whatever you decide you’ll need to remain flexible to get the best result.
A complex but well-designed UI makes an information-heavy game easy to understand.
The level of detail that has been placed into the graphics is impressive and you’ll be instantly struck by the smooth zoom function and in-depth planet design. The mix of colours and the clear habitat imagery make it easy to identify each zone with little effort, making it pleasurable to play. As you progress the amount of building options and menus you must navigate becomes mind-boggling. Luckily the well designed UI pigeon holes each key section making it easy to understand and simple to manage. With many of its peers taking a more complex approach, this was a pleasant change, and I really appreciated the user-friendly style.
Base building sims have an air of hotel lobby about them. The music is always “nice” and “safe” and makes you feel comfortable. Imagine Earth is no different with its calming tunes and understated sound effects. There is a futuristic twang to the audio and most of the time you’ll fail to acknowledge its existence. There are moments when you hear clear changes in dynamics or tone and these usually reflect moments of danger or anguish. I liked how this made you sit up, pay attention and helped to define serious game-changing moments.
Undoubtedly better on PC, but still great on console with a controller.
Base building games will always be better when played on PC. The ease to map buttons and keys to your liking will always be missed when using a console controller. However, Imagine Earth’s console edition is pretty easy to play. The fundamentals are drip-fed to you with its well-designed UI, user-friendly approach, and the opening tutorial planet. This slow but steady approach makes the steep learning curve manageable and at no point did I feel overwhelmed by the volume of information dumped on my lap.
Now, you may think that a nine planet main story is small, and you may be greedy and want more, but trust me, there is plenty to keep you going. Each stage has five stars to collect that are awarded for completing tasks and finishing the level. Alongside this are the challenging achievement list and the other two customisable modes. You’ll want to keep playing and fans will lose their mind and their lives to this once they get stuck into it.
Imagine Earth demands you make the future better while desperately holding onto our old morals.
The fat cats keep on growing, and no matter where they call home, they want their piece of the pie. Imagine Earth sells a picture of a bright future where you control the purse strings and the politics. Sadly, the greed of humanity kicks in and our old morals hold us back. Will you pave the way for a greener and happier society, or will you sell out and line your pockets? It’s a fantastic base builder and I recommend you to buy it here! Leave the past behind and attract new clientele to a fresh start. Overcome obstacles, beat the opposition, and get rich.