Available On: PC (Steam)
Invasions is the second DLC for last year’s excellent sci-fi strategy game Age of Wonders: Planetfall, and the first to add a playable new faction. The Shakarn come equipped with fun new stealth abilities along with a mini-campaign that showcases their skills as expert manipulators. Invasions also adds a new NPC faction, new world events, and a new late-game challenge in the form of the titular invasions.
Invasions adds the seventh playable faction, the Shakarn. The Shakarn are a race of space-faring lizard-folk who specialize in conquest through deception and manipulation, not unlike the classic sci-fi series “V.”
The Shakarn specialize in covert operations, including the ability to steal map knowledge, and even another faction’s unique racial technology and units. The space lizards are also adept at manipulating their own people through the use of Propaganda Towers (Unique Shakarn building) and a Doctrine that increase production at the cost of energy. All glory to the Shakarn!
The new race utilizes sonic-based weaponry (meaning they use sound attacks, not trademarked blue hedgehogs), which combined with the laser tech tree grants a variety of powerful mods for their units, to make up for their physical weaknesses.
The Shakarn’s first specialist unit, the Infiltrator, can’t equip any mods, but features one of the neatest abilities in the game: the ability to holo-shift into any Tier 1 and 2 non-mechanical unit, gaining all their abilities. These unique features make the Shakarn a fun new addition to an already diverse roster.
“Invasions” doesn’t refer to the coming of the Shakarn, however, but a new late-game event. A mysterious new NPC faction known as the Voidbringers will invade the planet via portals, resurrecting previously slain foes for their army. Stellaris used a similar fallen empire concept as a late game challenge, and it’s just as effective here.
Invasions features a neat twist, however. Each faction secretly chooses whether to oppose the Voidbringers, or join them, creating a massive all-out war. It’s the perfect way to shake up late-game complacency, or make a bloody game even more chaotic. The invasions can be tweaked to spawn earlier or later, or turned off entirely, and make for a satisfying end game for the new Shakarn campaign.
The world events aren’t nearly as game-changing, however. They’re a bit like the natural disasters from Civilization VI: Gathering Storm but on a global scale, such as the sea churning up extra resources or echoes of the void cloning units in combat, changing the entire map to a different color palette for a number of turns.
The new NPC faction is one of my favorite additions. The Therians are hilarious but powerful anthropomorphic warriors. Think werewolves wielding anime swords and bunnies with cybernetic legs and dual submachine guns. The new units are a lot of fun, and feature incredibly useful mods, including DNA injectors to anthropomorphize your own heroes.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is rated T for Teen with Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, and Suggestive Themes.
Without a new playable faction, Planetfall’s first DLC, Revleations, was a tough sell. Invasions is an easy thumbs up, however. The Shakarn are unique and interesting, with a brilliantly fun campaign of sabotage, invasion, and betrayal. The Therians, global events, and voidbringer invasions help make Age of Wonders: Planetfall Invasions a must have for fans of this excellent tactical strategy series.
Invasions can be purchased separately or as part of the season pass. Requires Age of Wonders: Planetfall.