You Are Entering The Abyss
After experiencing most of the basics of Infested Planet, it's time to succinctly brown your trousers as you enter The Abyss - the depths where the bugs are at their most adaptable and aggressive. Hives here will also more frequently come attached to infested human structures, enabling them to use buildings such as the mortar and shield generator.
As you play, you'll come to use certain strategies more than others. This isn't to say that those combinations of skills are the quintessential methods for winning, but everyone grows fond of their own personal modes of attack, especially for a starting strategy on which to spend those initial Build Points - like a signature dish, if you will. The Abyss, despite not being sentient, has different ideas. Regardless of whether you've researched every available tool, it will randomly disable two potential upgrades from your spice rack of death. This can have a crippling effect on your attack strategy, especially if it takes away one of your favourite abilities.
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Added to that is the fact that the bugs gain a mutation right from the outset, which can have an equally deleterious effect. This is especially true if you're unlucky enough to lose something as crucial as grenade-access and they gain, for example, the Clone Strike ability, where duplicates of your marines will (periodically) pop out from hives and come charging to one of your bunkers. You do, at least, have the advantage that you're told which bunker is under threat, so you can take the required action to pull back from an attack and reinforce it.
It's precisely this balance of offence and defence that make Infested Planet such an appealing tactical challenge, however. You'll be looking at the map and gauging whether or not your force has enough time to take down that hive before the torrent of bugs reaches your other base. How severe is it? Can one soldier protect it on his own? Do you need to retreat entirely?
Even if your own personal bread and butter has been removed from play, the plethora of options available in your offensive and defensive capability is varied enough to provide a lot of chances for experimentation and victory. The versatility in Infested Planet is just one of its unique charms, namely in the way you can exchange BP over and over again. Are the bullets reflecting back at your troops from the heavily armoured Brutes? Just sacrifice enough points to get a flamethrower and burn them and everything else to cinders!
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However, while this is a brilliantly simple strategy, and a personal favourite, not everything can be purged with fire. Spitters can destroy your close-ranged flamethrowers from a safe distance, for example. For every counter you have to the aliens, they have one for you.
Overall, Infested Planet offers a wide range of play styles for such a compact and cleverly crafted game. The random map generation and numerous mutations provide an incredibly high combination of potential challenges (some of which will be bloody impossible and have you hammering to start afresh). On top of that, developer Alex Vostrov is already adding new game modes and a new soldier-type, as well as other features. It all makes for a very enjoyable indie production with a lot of replay value, and it hasn't even been released yet. Infested Planet definitely deserves your attention if you're an RTS fan.