'Escape Dead Earth' Is an RTS Where Deathballs Are the Only Tactic

In a far-flung and ruined future, the robots want to do one thing: get on a rocket and escape the dead earth. This is the setup for the appropriately named Escape Dead Earth, a Steam game that I stumbled on recently via @microtrailers. To be frank, it just looked like a game where a bunch of robots beat the hell out of one another on the stepped-on, crumbling ruins of the planet. I’m not too proud to admit that I like to play games where robots beat the hell out of one another, and at the $2.99 price mark on Steam I felt confident that it was worth a gamble to find out if Escape Dead Earth was a top-tier robot beater.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/88488z/escape-dead-earth-deathball-microstrategy-rts

This immediately reminded me of Sea Salt which is currently on Game Pass. It uses keyboard controls (or a gamepad) but wasd moves your “cursor” around, which is like a magic symbol. Hordes of creatures loosely path towards that symbol.
You have one button for “attack”, which sends everyone into a frenzy assaulting roughyl whoever is closest to them, but they are still pathing towards the cursor. There is another which causes them all to group up tightly.

The maps and enemy placements are all pre-designed. There are summoning plates that allow you to bring in more creatures, and you can also collect gold from fallen enemies which will fill a meter to allow you a free summon. But you are very much trying to snowball forces because the more you have, the faster/easier enemies go down, and the more likely you are to catch innocent civilians before they escape, netting you more money.

You can quickly retry a room, which allows you to puzzle out - should I quickly rush this group of enemies, or skirt around them and collect more forces first? Your army composition is also important since you want enemies that cause your opponents to flee in terror rather than stand and fight, but those creatures usually aren’t the ones that deal a lot of damage. There’s also a lich that raises dead enemies into spectres, but they only last a short time, encouraging a sort of planned rampage across the map.

I hadn’t thought of this kind of game as its own genre, but yeah. It’s sort of half puzzle half RTS.

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