Title: Phantom Signal
By: Aleksandr Kolodochko
Sub-category: Real Time Strategy
If you’re looking for a new resource strategy addiction, time to look for the Phantom Signal. This tower defense-y, resource hoarding, and build and time management game throws you into the depths of space and wishes you good luck. While the screenshots may look overwhelming and scary, a few minutes into the game and you’re already a pro. To survive the vast dangers of the darkness, you’ll need to harvest resources from asteroids, build your network of defensive weapons and buckle down for some big battles. You’ll be building an intricate spiderweb across the night sky in hopes that your build sustains your life and completes your objective.
You’ll start off easy by just farming some asteroids and booping away a few villains that come near, but every board of the campaign will draw you further down the path to total space domination. Well, not really, but you’ll be creating some major K’nex like structures of connections between all your different structures. You’ll have miners to mine the asteroids, power stations to give you the energy to run and build things, relays to branch together the structures, missile and turret towers, and batteries to save all the extra energy. All of these have to be built in the perfect way to complete the objectives.
There are 16 objectives in the campaign and each asks you to complete a different task. You may be extending your build halfway across space to reach a stranded ship or build up a strong defensive for a passing barricade. To really test your talents, you’ll even have to follow ships from your team and defend them as they travel across the sky. No easy feat when you’re only working with stationary structures and long reaching relays. You’ll also have to watch your resources and your energy through all of this. The resources allow you to purchase and upgrade your buildings and relays. Your energy is needed to build those structures and to fire both the miners and all the weapons. If you don’t have enough energy stations or batteries, you may run dry on energy and be overrun by enemy attackers. It’s a delicate balance of using all your resources in a strategic way so you’ll always have every shot you need to take.
As you play, you’ll earn research points to unlock bonuses and power ups. You’ll be able to decrease your energy use building or unlock even stronger weapons along the way. You’ll also get the powers to speed up or slow down time itself. A valuable feature when the space is really hitting the fan. You’ll get a paltry amount of research points in campaign, so the real research money maker is Survival Mode. Here you can earn yourself a spot on the leaderboards and a fist full of research points. How long you last is up to your skills as management and your drive to keep completing your research tree. Imagine how many points you could earn once you unlock the whole tree!
Along with the great gameplay, Phantom Signal has smooth, ethereal graphics and sounds that draw you into the game. It’s the type of game that if you just give the first board a chance, you’ll be hooked in and never come out until you’ve conquered the skies. Campaign mode is only 16 maps long, but they just gear you up for the cutthroat survival mode. You’ll have to keep fighting to see how far you really go, so having a short campaign barely matters in the long run. Just think of it as a super long tutorial just gearing you up for the real game.