Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity review | With climate change being more prevalent than ever, have you ever wondered what the Earth would think about us if we could ask it? Well, according to Project Planet, Earth has had enough and absolutely wants us gone.
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity has a simple premise shown right in the name: one player plays as Earth and is tasked with eliminating all of humanity through one of several available disasters. The other five players each represent a different group or organisation of humanity as a whole (world leaders, the media, scientists, industry, and the public.) At the start of the game, Earth picks a disaster ranging from a huge plague of locusts to a catastrophic meteorite and the game continues through four stages, unique to each disaster in which every player will get at least one opportunity to interact in some way.
Besides just getting one turn each, humanity’s players have unique Cooperative and Hostile interactions they can use towards another player to increase or decrease the strength of their own influence, or their opponents’. Meanwhile, Earth gets out-of-turn abilities to affect the levels of Pollution and the state of the planet’s Ecosystems, as well as the ability to trigger a devastating Crisis that humanity will need to counteract by matching Earth’s force level with their own influence as a bargaining chip. As complex as it sounds, most of it will sink in rather easily after one single 30-minute game.
|Developer||Fifth Harbour Studios|
|Publisher||Fifth Harbour Studios|
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- A creative take | Project Planet is undeniably creative. From the selection of disasters, allowing you to replicate biblical plagues or movie-like disasters, to the way it keeps players engaged even out of their turn with the inclusion of additional actions to be performed at any point. The Master screen reacts to everything the players do, giving everyone in the room something to look at or talk about even beyond the state of the game itself.
- Sleek looking | The game makes great use of stock assets, made-up news articles, real motion video, well-defined icons and a 3D model of the Earth in a pleasant way to create a professional-looking interface that is easy to read while still looking impressive at first glance. Moreover, the player screens offer detailed information tooltips at every step so you always know what is going on and what is expected of you.
- Storytelling potential | The tale of Humanity struggling against the biggest hurricane in known history as more storms break out all over the globe, chasing down survivor camps like sentient beings already writes itself. Add to it drama as the industries refuse to fund scientific research into ways to dissipate storm clouds, getting reprimanded by world leaders with increased taxes, and this move resulting in massive backlash against said leaders by a media that is in the industry’s back pocket… And you have a full novel!
- AI players | Anyone who tried to get a DnD group going knows how difficult it is to herd three people to show up on schedule a single day. Six players is a lot! So it’s a good thing that an AI player will fill any empty slots in your game, and they can be surprisingly competent! You’ll miss out on the banter and some backroom dealings, but you’ll be able to get your game going when Reliable John tells you he’s ‘on the way’ for the third time this evening.
- Balance / Snowballing effect | While I suspect that the game’s balance will be tweaked for the full release, most matches had a clear winner by the time stage 2 was over. Overall, humanity is unstoppable if infighting doesn’t break out, and because the effects of lowering the planet’s Ecosystems and Pollution only manifest at the end of every stage (and the Earth player has limited impact on them,) they feel insufficient as the main element of Earth’s strategy, should a player wish to try that. If humanity is banding together, Earth’s trump card is the crises it can trigger once per stage, as they deal devastating damage to the population count. On the flip side, it is very easy for humanity to gang up on a single player, reduce their influence to nothing and effectively leave them out of the game ─which turns out to also be an effective tactic if done on purpose, ironically enough.
- Technical issues | In general, I only found inconveniences, but they are worth mentioning. This being primarily a browser game, and a party game, players might want to check that the site displays properly on their phones before starting a game ‘for real.’ In my phone, some of the text boxes refused to display in their entirety and couldn’t be scrolled; and during one of my test games, every client lost connection and it couldn’t be recovered, rendering that game gone (albeit it bears repeating, all of this happened before release and it is possible it will all be fixed by then.)
What we Disliked
- Staying Power | Project Planet does its utmost best to provide as much variety as possible, with different humanity groups playing with vastly different options and dynamics and with the different disasters switching things up. However, repetition sinks in fairly quickly if one plays the same role twice as only a very limited number of unique interactions exist that vary things mechanically speaking. This could very well be considered a problem of party games in general, but the limited amount of player expression in Project Planet compared to other party games limits how much replayability the game offers.
- Tactical-Party game | Related to the above, I often found myself surprised by how long I had to spend pondering my next move, when to use my out-of-turn interactions, or simply thinking ‘What is going on?’ as messages kept popping on the master screen and gauges kept moving. Project Planet can be overwhelming for a party game, to the point where I wondered if this game could be expanded into a more elaborate tactical game instead.
Time to beat | 30-40 minutes a game
Completionist time | 4 hours-ish to play all scenarios
You’ll love this game if you like these | Jackbox Party Packs, Plague Inc. , Player v. group board games
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity is a uniquely creative take on party games, where the moral superiority of environmentalism can be weaponised in some of the worst ‘what if’ scenarios and humanity can show the best, and most likely the worst, of themselves in the face of certain doom. While its current state seems to favour its storytelling and derived player drama, it still offers enough variety and complexity to keep a few rotations of players entertained during an evening. Backstabbing your friends for the benefit of everyone else still feels great!
Please consider supporting us!