Have you ever wanted to simply watch the world burn? What if I said you can be the one to start the fire, and then watch your friends bicker on how to put it out? If this sounds like just your brand of sadism you’ll get a kick out of following my experience with Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity. I got a few of my friends together and having had some fun with this I’m about ready to give you the much-needed lowdown. This review has also been done under Mystery Review rules. If you want to find out more about these, I’ve provided a useful little link here.
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity is a novel fusion of Plague Inc. and Jackbox games. One player takes the role of The Earth and will cause problems that the other, (up to,) five players must deal with, while also sabotaging each other. The game setup is much like Jackbox games in that you connect via a browser on any network-connected device. You won’t need to worry if you don’t have enough people as the game will automatically assign an AI to any vacancy. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a bunch of friends looking for an enjoyable evening, this game can be an absolute riot with the right group. Project Planet is a game of choices, betrayal and people forgetting they are supposed to support the planet, not just themselves.
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity plays like a choose-your-own-adventure, but if everyone else was doing one too. The game offers an optional explanation video at the beginning, but the only way to truly understand how it works is to jump in. Each session is split into four phases, each phase allowing The Earth to attempt a Crisis Event that all players must respond to by sending resources in support, or face a major penalty in population score. The win criteria here is very much dependent on your role in this game of potential annihilation. If you are The Earth, your goal is to reduce the world’s population to zero. Simple. As Humanity, on the other hand, it is a cutthroat competition of who to sabotage and who to ally with. Whoever has the most power at the end of the fourth phase wins the game. Assuming, of course, that The Earth does not eradicate Humanity first.
I played this game completely blind at first, and solo, which is the least exciting way to play. You absolutely want your fellow humans for this. I later played with a group of four and had a fairly entertaining experience. The fun part of Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity is sabotaging your friends and making deals for power, all from the privacy of your mobile device, (and maybe five feet from the other person.)
If you do not have a full group of six players, the game’s built-in AI works just fine. The downside is you cannot conspire with the AI players, even though they are totally conspiring against you. The pace of the game can be slow at times, and adding an invisible opponent to the mix can make play sessions feel like an empty lobby. This can slow the pace down to the speed of Earth’s rotation, which is apt because you will be staring at the Earth a lot.
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity’s overlay consists of essentially one screen, with very little action happening a lot of the time, so it can be difficult to know when to be excited. Most of the visuals are UI elements keeping track of player actions. The downside is that no action feels more grandiose than another. The player representing The Media could have just dealt a devastating blow to the Public but the only notification is a quaint bloop sound and a text box.
I wished the game would hit me with sirens or alarms or something as I watched the population of humanity drop by the hundreds of millions, but there was no such feedback. The results of your choices are sometimes vague and lack immediacy. I could not always tell what outcomes were of my own doing, or someone else’s. Extra investment into the visual and audio effects department would have easily elevated the experience to something substantially more engaging.
Did I enjoy my time with Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity though? It has to be said that yes, I enjoyed myself a fair bit. As with any party game, your enjoyment is tied to the people you play with. My chosen humans and I were not the right group to participate in the protection of the planet and instead found ourselves blindly choosing global destruction.
This is a game that either grows on you quickly or isn’t for you with relatively little in between. I can absolutely see the perfect group of friends conspiring together, betraying each other, and panicking to survive. Unfortunately, the game does not provide much else to get attached to. This review was written during version 1.0 and there is more content coming in later patches, so maybe with a bit more polish and content, this could become a new staple in the party box. As of now, this is a great start but possibly not something that will get every group out there looking for a fun Friday night hooked for hours of play.
Project Planet - Earth vs Humanity
Intuitiveness - 7/10
Pacing - 6/10
Visuals - 7.5/10
Replayability - 7/10
Gameplay Depth - 7/10
Perfect for the right party
Project Planet – Earth vs Humanity does not feature the charm or appeal of other party games like Jackbox, nor does it feature the high levels of engagement granted by games like Dead by Daylight. This being said, it still delivers in being a unique twist on the party playstyle. There are just enough interesting choices in the game, giving weight to each decision. With the right group of people, this could easily become a go-to for any gaming hangout.