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Review: Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
This game is basically a lighthearted story about a ball of goo that absorbs everything. That includes lab rats, cats, insects, people, aliens, and eventually entire planets and the universe itself.

None of this is taken seriously, despite the fact that we're talking about the complete destruction of the universe.

Screenshots


Picky people eater


Life's a feast!


Smaller than a bacteria

General Information

Genre:Age Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Martha
Available from: Gamer's Gate, Steam
Save System:Your progress is automatically saved whenever you return to the map screen. To pause the game during a level, hit ESC or P.

Game Overview

Chances are pretty good that if you've been browsing the internet for a year or two, you've stumbled across a game similar to this one. The basic concept has been repeated many times over, as it's a fairly simple thing to program. You control a small character, a blob of gray nanomachines in this case, and proceed to consume everything that is smaller than yourself. Each thing you eat makes you grow slightly larger, and eventually after eating enough small objects you can move on to larger ones.

What makes this game unique is the story and the level design it uses. Some levels are like puzzles or small challenges that you need to complete in a specific way, others follow the more traditional approach of eating everything until you're the size the level wanted you to reach. Meanwhile, the scientists that created your nanomachine swarm are trying everything they can to create a way to stop your constant growth and hunger.

I'd suggest giving this game a spin; it's fun, cute, and the end of the world as we know it.

Pros

Stupid and fun
Games like this have been on computers for a long, long time and the formula never really changed. In each game, you simply moved your character over whatever was smaller than to make them grow bigger until the game decided that you won. Tasty Planet does do a few things to make this style of gameplay more unique, such as zooming the camera out to give you more room to run around once you've grown large enough or create mazes out of the things you can't yet eat.

However, every so often, a level will require you to complete some other task. For example, during the levels that take place in the Roman Empire, there's a level where you defend a series of ballistas against a legion of angry gladiators. Once you have defended the ballistas successfully, you get to eat them.


Earn medals by beating par times
Each level records your best clear time. Once the level ends, your clear time is compared against the three par times for the level, and you'll get a medal if you do well. Getting bronze, silver, or gold medals is more than just bragging rights: they are required to give you access to bonus levels. So, if you want to play more Tasty Planet, you'll need to play a lot of Tasty Planet.


Achievements and Trading cards
Like most Steam games these days, there are achievements and a set of steam trading cards you can collect. Most of the achievements simply record your overall progress through the story or milestones regarding how many medals you've collected, so while they are offered, they aren't exactly exciting.


Silly extra levels
There is a huge number of extra levels that you unlock by earning medals. Each bonus level is unlocked by a specific amount of medals, and chances are you'll have unlocked one or two by the time you complete the story. Unfortunately, the majority of the bonus levels require you to have earned a lot of gold medals, which are extremely hard to earn.


Local multiplayer
It's slightly awkward, but it's possible to play this game with a friend. One of you controls a blob of goo using the mouse, while the other controls their own goo using the keyboard. The awkward part comes from the fact that there's only one camera, and it doesn't really track two goos at once very well. This can make it hard to move around or see what you're doing, as the two of you are stuck exploring the portion of the level that fits on screen.


Cons

Seems overpriced
The basic concept behind this game has been around for a long time, and it's been implemented as free flash games several times over. This makes it a little hard to swallow the $7 price tag. Still, it's better than it could be; this is actually the second game in the series, and the first game, which is only available from the developer's website and reportedly has some gameplay issues, is priced at $20.


Concerns and Issues

You're directing an end of the world scenario
Think about that for a moment. In this happy game, you're actively directing the destruction of the entire universe. It's certainly not presented as a dark or horrible thing, but the fact remains that you're literally eating everything that exists.


Living things are on the menu
Most of the time, you'll be absorbing everything from candy to dinosaur bones to random insects and architecture. That's nothing to really be concerned about, but sometimes you'll be devouring people or other living creatures.

On a side note, this also highlights our own hypocrisy. While most of us don't think much about killing virtual people, consuming Mr. Kittykins doesn't sit very well with everyone.


Bloodless munching
Nothing you absorb ever bleeds. Instead, they just make a noise and shrink into your growing mass. It's actually a little weird seeing people continue walking around as they disappear, but apparently nobody taught the nanobots to chew their food.