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Video Game / Age of Wonders: Planetfall

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Age Of Wonders: Planetfall is a Turn-Based Strategy game, developed by Triumph Studios and published by Paradox Interactive. Unlike the previous games in the series, it is no longer fantasy, but wholly sci-fi. It is also not set in the future of the original games' timeline, like Endless Space to Endless Legend, but operates in a whole new continuity instead, with the original races not getting carried over.

It was released on August 6th, 2019 on PC through Steam and The official website is here.

Tropes present in this game:

  • A Commander Is You: Much like the fantasy Age of Wonders games, your commander, units, and abilities are generally customized by two factors, their racial background and their specialty. Instead of fantasy hero classes like "Rogue," the specialty of your commander is based on what "Secret Technology" you possess.
    • Voidtech: Focuses on a variety of features that let your units walk through cover or shoot through cover, making phantom copies of your units or your citizens back at home, and messing around with time and space in general.
    • Psynumbra: An offensive-focused Psionics technology tree that burns enemy minds and makes ethereal units spawn on the battlefield, born straight out of their regret. Great against anything with a mind, but their Achilles' heel is anything "Mindless" is a lot less likely to care.
    • Celestian: A defensive-focused Psionics technology that makes your units "Enlightened," granting them bonus healing and better combat against "soul-burned" enemies, as well as a few Operations to make everyone opposing you get soul-burned. The larger Operations can peacefully steal citizens from enemy colonies and entice them to migrate to yours or give you discounts on NPC faction units.
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    • Synthesis: A cybernetics-focused technology tree that lets you hack enemy machines or cyborgs and manipulate the battlefield. Their Logical Weakness is going against enemies that have entirely biological units, like the Amazons, but they can also Integrate all their own mechanical or cyborg units so they work better in groups.
    • Xenoplague: A subversive technology that poisons the battlefield; unlike other Secret Technologies, you can't manufacture its units. Instead you spawn them from defeated enemies provided you infected them with a parasite during battle.
    • Promethean: A highly offense-focused secret technology that focuses mostly on burning the enemy, the battlefield, and scorching away alien life (including Xenoplague units). It also has some decent healing techs that use the power of fire to purify status ailments, and provides mods that let your units ignore environmental hazards (or in mechanical units' cases, even recharge while on fire).
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  • After the End: Planetfall is set after the collapse of a galaxy-spanning human empire known as the Star Union, and every race can trace their lineage to some social caste or organization that was originally part of the Union.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Amazons are an all-female faction of bio engineers that fill the Space Elves niche in the game. While their humanoid units are visibly female, their heavy units are all living creatures modified with modern weaponry. Like the Tyrannodon- a T-Rex with laser cannons on its head.
  • The Apunkalypse: Invoked by the Spacers. Originally the Star Union's lower class, they spent most of their time in ultraviolent virtual reality sims. When an apocalypse happened, they made post-apocalyptic video games their reality. Their quests indicate that a lot of them are sick of it.
  • Artificial Limbs: The Assembly is a cyborg faction, and so adores this trope. Even their basic troops replace one arm with a shotgun, instead of just holding one. Users of the Synthesis secret technology, though they're subtler about it, are the same. To say nothing of what happens when the Assembly uses Synthesis.
  • Artificial Zombie: These make up the bulk of the Assembly's troops; they can install cybernetics in corpses, even on the battlefield, to create such. To a lesser extent, the Paragon troops are this as well; their basic trooper makes the "argh" zombie noises when selected and they often have rotted faces. The difference is that Paragon are all former Imperial nobility (or their servants) who kept themselves alive with cybernetics, so they're not undead so much as really old.
  • Attack Drone: The Vanguard support units, like the flying OWL and ever-helpful PUG, which can blast enemies with lasers when not painting a target on them or healing soldiers.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most hero mounts and vehicles. They grant additional abilities, but they take up the primary weapon slot and are vastly overshadowed in potential damage and utility by other options for that slot.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Psynumbra is positively dripping with malevolence, but it can be directed to positive causes. Most prominently, the Hero of the Kir'ko campaign, Poz Tk'Nor, is a devout follower of the "Harmony", but starts out as and can be played through as a seeker of reconciliation who walks a path of balance between his dark powers and those of Celestians he can ally with.
  • Bald Woman: The last hair style option for female heroes is a bald head.
  • Black and Grey Morality:The majority of factions and secret techs are grey — even Celestian has some sinister undertones. But then Psynumbra is entirely devoid of redeeming qualities; it's all about pain, suffering, cruelty, and despair.
    • Most of the protagonist commanders in the story missions are solidly "grey" so they can be written as justified for either destroying their enemies with force or winning the game with diplomacy.
  • Blade on a Stick: Mounted Amazon troops often wield energy spears.
  • Body Horror: Many of The Assembly's troops are built with pure "efficiency" in mind, and so possess bodies that are gruesomely mangled and reshaped by the technology in order to fit more weapons or armor inside.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: One of the options available to Celestian players - if you can't preach to the enemy to make them join you, just use your psychic powers to make them believe in your "truth" instead!
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Factions with the Psynumbra secret tech are gleefully psychotic and unapologetic about using the darkest potential of psychic powers for domination.
    • It is rare to see an Assembly commander that isn't cackling over the prospect of turning you into spare parts (with the possible exception of a certain Celestian Assembly guy), and most Xenoplague-using commanders are placed in an antagonistic relationship to you.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Assembly's "Reverse Engineer" fights with a buzzsaw.
  • Chainsaw Grip BFG: Present on numerous units and hero weapons like Promethean Purifiers, Assembly Electrocutioners and the Dvar Rotary Autocannon.
  • Civil Warcraft: Very common, particularly in the campaign. Several campaigns have a primary antagonist of your faction (Amazon, Assembly), and most of the others see the player going up against their own kind for different reasons. The factions aren't particularly united.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Attacks and hazards are colored based on their damage type: Thermal attacks are red, Arc blue, Biochemical green, Kinetic yellow and Psionic purple. The one notable exception is Celestian psi, which is gold/white colored befitting their theme as a religion based around light.
  • Combat Tentacles:
    • Assembly's "Reverse Engineers" are essentially undead human torsos that drag themselves on the ground with their human arms, while carrying a buzzsaw, an electric blaster and repair tools in its six robotic tentacles.
    • The Growth. Many, many of their units utilize plant tentacles to do damage in melee.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As with previous Age of Wonders titles, units that have even a sliver of health left are still just as dangerous as fresh combatants. Downplayed with units that consist of multiple individuals, as the troops fall dead one by one as the unit takes more damage — but the last man standing will still somehow put out enough firepower to equal all of his dead teammates combined.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Since the Syndicate has slave troops and one of the primary ways of buffing them to replenish their action points is an overseer jabbing them with a stick, there's no real non-morally-questionable way to play as them.
  • Cyborg: The Assembly faction consists of these, and the Synthesis secret tech focuses on upgrading your conventional troops into cyborgs. The Paragon NPC faction are also a bunch of decrepit cyborgs.
  • Damage Typing: There are five attack damage types: Kinetic, Arc, Biological, Thermal, and Psionic. Each units have attacks that inflict damage based on those types, each races have their specialization in certain damage types, and secret technology that also add these damage types.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: The Amazons have Tyrannodons. They're more like the reptilian dinosaurs of old than what we now know dinosaurs to be like, but that's because they're actually domesticated alien creatures. Also, they put lasers on said dinosaurs.
  • Drill Tank: Dvar have this as one of their heavy vehicles, which can tunnel underground and emerge behind the enemy lines, triggering a seismic charge. It can also become a vehicle Dvar heroes can equip.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: The Dvar and Amazon both tend to terraform the land. In opposite ways; and the mountains Dvar raise up resist the Amazon's efforts at forestation, meaning the Amazons have reason to strike Dvar quickly before they can damage the land too much. Needless to say, a lot of the lore describes the two as going to war wherever they encounter one another.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: One of the ending conditions for random scenarios is "Doomsday." It's all about building a Doomsday Device and ending the planet you're currently inhabiting, and each secret tech has their own way of doing it.
    • For the Celestians, this is The Final Revelation, which uses psychic waves to brainwash everyone in the world into accepting the Celestians' "truth". This is a Class 2 end of the world, as it doesn't destroy anything, but rather collapses every society other than the player's.
    • For the Prometheans, Planetary Purification floods the atmosphere with PyrX gas, incinerating the entire world and causing a Class 6 end, extinction of all life. One of the silver-class landmarks you can find are Promethean bunkers, which they had planned to use to allow themselves and their followers to survive.
    • For Psynumbra, Oblivio Mundi floods the world with evil psychic waves, forcing everyone to go Brainwashed and Crazy, and kill each other and themselves, likely causing a Class 5 multi-species extinction event and leaving only mindless creatures behind.
    • For Xenoplague, Omega Awakening infects everyone on the planet with a super virus called the Omega Strain. Implied to be less about destruction and more forcibly "evolving" everyone into xenoplague creatures.
    • For Voidtech, Dimensional Cascade opens portals to every parallel universe that exists - an infinite number - and channels all of the energy from all of them. The class of this is unknown, as the tech itself explicitly states that no one can possibly understand what will happen as a result of this... it could provide unlimited free energy to everyone and create a glorious utopia... or it could create a Class Z omniversal destruction event.
    • For Synthesis, this is The Singularity, which hacks all computer systems on the planet through the Synthesis' Basilisk Network, putting all electronics under the player's control. The result is a Class 2 event as every other faction is forced to either surrender or abandon all of their technology.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The final mission of the campaign is set in an all-out war between the forces of Empress Carminia and CORE, the former of which is responsible for some truly spectacular atrocities (including the death of trillions during the Cataclysm) while the latter intends to do something about The Evils of Free Will. You can join either side or Take a Third Option and kick them both out of the galaxy, though that is the path of most resistance, as virtually every faction will be fighting you in the final battle.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Xenoplague units "evolve" into bigger ones if you have the right tech for it and took the time to infect more units with parasites during battle. This is less about "adaptation" and more about how the Xenoplague units are colony creatures that pile themselves up into a bigger physical form the more biomass they acquire. Psi-Fish and Kir'ko Emergent units also "mature" into a different unit if they reach maximum experience levels.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Xenoplague units are spawned by infecting enemies with a parasite during battle (provided you kill them and win), but an even more direct example are the Psi-Fish, who can actually implant an egg in an enemy right during battle with one of their units. The poor afflicted enemy unit will run around in a panic for two turns before dying and being replaced with a Psi-Fish under your control.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Laser weapons deal Thermal damage and are specialized by the Vanguards and the Amazons.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The Dvar have excelled at developing explosives to the point that they can eventually research mods that allows their explosive-equipped units to avoid all friendly fire when detonating them.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Except their enemies, that is. The Amazons operate their wars off this trope. They receive bonuses to movement within dense forests and jungles, and their "heavy weapons" are all living creatures of one type or another that they have either domesticated or genetically engineered to serve a specific role in combat.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Autonom Golem, a melee-based robotic unit, possesses two main attacks: the Tactical F.A.C.E. (Forcefully Applied Contact Explosive) and the area-affecting B.O.M.B. (Body Originating Mass Blast).
    • The Assembly's T4 unit, the vampire-esque Reaver, is controlled by an Intelligent Neural Interface & Oracular Conscience Hypercore or I.N.I.O.C.H., according to the quote in its flavor text.
    • The sentient computer network that helped the emperors of the Star Union run their massive empire is called C.O.R.E (the Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine).
  • Gatling Good: The Dvar Bulwark mech, which is equipped with two six-barreled autocannons mounted on either side of the cockpit. The exosuits of the Dvar Barons also wield one of these and heroes can either pilot the same exosuits or carry the same gun.
  • Giant Flyer: These are part of the world's aggressive fauna, which is liable to attack any faction. Some of said fauna are, in fact, wild versions of some of the creatures used by the Amazons.
  • Green Thumb: The Amazons have this, to some extent. One of their early tactical operations protects and heals a friendly unit with roots at the cost of temporarily immobilizing them, while a later strategic operation allows them to cover almost an entire sector in forests. Their Arborian units are tree-like creatures capable of entangling enemies in combat.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The Autonom minor faction were originally a network of civil service droids. After the Collapse and the destruction of their commanding AI, the droids developed sapience and started to build a new network with the goal of self-preservation.
  • Hellfire: PyrX, the source of all Promethean technology, is a sci-fi version of this with all the classic traits except for the mystical origin. Unlike many fictional incendiaries, it's a super-oxidizer rather than a super-fuel, so it'll cause unquenchable fires even in vacuum...
  • Hive Mind: The Kir'ko used to have one of these, until human genetic modification lobotomized their queens. Some Kir'ko hives want to bring it back; others want to leave the past behind and go forward as individuals. They still have latent telepathy because of it.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Some of the "vehicles" available are actually mounts; the Amazons and Kir'ko are particularly fond of these.
    • Amazons use genetically engineered cavalry in place of vehicles. The Tyrannodon is the most iconic, but there are also Lancers who ride Swift Beaks, a sort of a striped lizard-tiger thing, and the flying, laser-armed, pterodactyl-like Harriers. Amazons sometimes even mount secret tech units that are normally infantry; their VoidTech Echo Walkers ride Swift Beaks, while Celestian Light Bringers swoop on their foes on Harriers.
    • The larger Kir'ko castes usually operate independently, but can be ridden by a hero; usually, but not always, that hero will be a Kir'ko swarm herald.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • All of the soldiers and colonists of the Vanguard spent two hundred years in cryosleep. According to the Amazon commander, that was enough time for the Star Union they were meant to uphold to collapse while they were in transit. Undeterred, they intend to restart it regardless, starting with the world they are on.
    • You can also find old cryogenics laboratories in the world as a high-level landmark. Annexing them into your territory unlocks an operation that allows you to thaw out some of the people inside, boosting the population of your cities at the cost of some temporary unhappiness as the new arrivals briefly struggle with fitting in to your society.
  • Humans Are Divided: With the exception of the Kir'ko, every playable race is a divergent offshoot of humanity that emerged after the fall of the Star Union. Two of the five NPC factions (the Paragon and the Spacers) are also composed of humans. Even the non-human factions all in some way owe what they are to the influence of the Star Union. (The Union created the robots which later became the Autonom, they enslaved the Kir'ko and the Growth to do work for them, and they accidentally summoned the Psi-Fish to this world through their Void Tech experiments.)
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: At least, those of the Syndicate. They wield potent psionic powers to supplement their conventional arms. Other human factions, unless they take the Celestian or Psynumbra secret techs, make do without.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Psi-Fish think that humans are delicious. This isn't out of any particular malice, they just have very different standards compared to humans (or kir'ko) and they think that telling you you smell nice is a compliment. They still eat people, though.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Kir'ko are these, but play with it; they're not evil mindless bugs, but a sophisticated civilization oppressed by humanity.
  • Irony: The scene in the announcement trailer where the Vanguard troops are engaged in a stand-off with both the bug-like Kir'ko on one side and the Amazons on the other has Vanguard's propaganda poster with the message of "Reaching Together" as the background.
  • Karma Meter: Here it's called a "reputation" meter, and it goes both ways. Disreputable faction commanders will like you more if you do more "disreputable" stuff, but it's not directly tied to certain abilities, just who's the most forgiving of your actions. Usually striking deals and doing NPC quests will help your reputation grow, and NPC units are cheaper to buy with influence if you have a sterling reputation.
  • Kill It with Fire: The "Promethean" Secret Technology tree is based around fire, blowing stuff up with fire, forging stuff with fire, dropping orbital napalm strikes to cover the battlefield with fire, terraforming the land with explosives, and melting enemies' faces off (with fire). It also has techs that protect your faction from the negative effects of all that fire, allowing you to inhabit volcanic or radioactive regions with few ill effects and no morale penalties.
  • Logical Weakness: Cyborg units usually benefit from anything that can benefit a biological or mechanical unit, but they also suffer from being able to be targeted by any attack that works on those things. As compensation they are 10% more resistant to status ailments in general.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Dvar faction footage shows the Trenchers, who carry heavy shields, and can dig them into the ground to provide cover even out in the open. "Fortified" Trenchers can even make mini-fortresses that heal the occupant, making them extremely tough to dig out.
  • Magic from Technology: You don't cast "spells" in this game, but you do use "Operations" which are functionally identical to the spells of the fantasy Age of Wonders games, right down to the "casting limit" during combat. They're divided into Tactical Operations (which you deploy during a battle), Strategic Operations which affect the larger world map, and "Doctrine" operations which enhance your empire as a whole.
  • Magitek: In so far as Psychic Powers are the game's stand in for magic, Syndicate "PsiTec" qualifies. They have guns and even vehicles that can "shoot" psionic damage at enemies.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Dvar mainly fight from inside these. The Phoenix Walker as well.
  • Mook Medic: Every faction has these. Some, like The Assembly's Reverse Engineer, can also revive fallen allies - or revive enemy fallen as allies.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Many of the unit flavor texts are written from the perspective of one Mah Reg'nib, also described in an NPC conversation as short but very amiable. This is of course the sci-fi version of the original Age of Wonders series' own Ham Binger, luckiest halfling alive...
    • It's an Age of Wonders game, so of course there are giant penguins, and of course they're creatures of pure malice. This time around of course they aren't demonic but rather the result of some very ill-advised genetic modification.
    • As mentioned earlier, the flavor text for the Assembly Reaver has an acronym that spells INIOCH, the name of the undead elf king and primary villain of the first Age of Wonders.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The story trailer has Jack Gelder, default leader of the Vanguard in their campaign missions, landing on a planet and immediately ending up waving guns at the local Kir'ko and Amazons by being a complete General Ripper. In the campaign, Jack's first conflict is with other Vanguard who've become little more than bandits after the Star Union's fall, and his first encounter with the Kir'ko is freeing a group of them from Syndicate slavers. (He can still be a Jerkass and pick a fight with them afterwards, but he never has to end up in conflict with the Kir'ko and can easily become one of their best allies in the Vanguard.)
  • Nightmare Fetishist: The Assembly are amalgamations of human flesh and mechanical components — not necessarily formed into humanoid shape — that live in rusted, electrified scrap heap cities bristling with Spikes of Villainy. And many of them, including campaign protagonist and Assembly First Ellen Shaw, love it.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Tyrannodon — a genetically engineered lizard/dinosaur with a laser cannon strapped to its head.
  • No-Gear Level: No matter what amazing weapons and mods your spectacularly overpowered campaign heroes collected over the past two missions...for the final free-for-all on Mora Secundis, they start back at zero with their default loadout. And that final mission is really stingy with good hero gear drops because of how it's set up. note 
  • One-Gender Race: The Amazons became this. The reason why "is a closely guarded secret" and they reproduce using technology.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The second Assembly mission is a struggle between L0G3N-1 and his fellow second-generation Assembly leaders and the first-generation Assembly loyal to CORE over the future of the Assembly. L0G3N's side favors a chaotic approach (and thus constant evolution), while the CORE loyalists seek eternal, unchanging order. Protagonist Ellen Shaw can join either side.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Dvar faction is a pretty traditional rendition, to the point their armour suits have metal beards. As a faction, they are also geared towards slow but heavily armed and armoured units, and excel at production and mining. The primary twist is that they have Slavic names and accents, rather than the typical Scottish deal dwarves have.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Played straight with the Vanguard's weapons, and those purchased from the Paragon.
  • Planimal: The Amazons' Arborian units are classified as both plant and animal.
  • Power Fist:
    • Dvar Foremen only carry a fairly weak hand mortar as a ranged weapon. When something really needs killing they instead rely on the gauntlets of their Power Armor. The unit description states that it breaks through "rocks and monsters alike".
    • Syndicate Enforcers use Psi-Tec Gauntlets in melee that inflict brutal damage by bypassing both armor and shields.
    • Several varieties are also available as hero equipment, including the Tyrant Fist which combines this trope with a powerful laser cannon.
  • Psychic Powers: The Psynumbra and Celestian secret techs let any faction play with these, while the Syndicate and Kir'ko always get them.
  • Purple Is Powerful: With the exception of Celestian abilities, Psychic Powers are colored purple. Purple also features heavily in the Syndicate's color scheme, befitting a group of merchant princes who like to flaunt their wealth and power (as well as heavily using PsiTec in their units and structures).
  • Ramming Always Works: Dvar heavy vehicles straight-up ram enemies to damage them. This includes their air vehicles. And yes, the plane survives the attack.
  • The Remnant:
    • The Vanguard, thanks to cryogenic hibernation, are the only playable faction that directly hails from the fallen Star Union, as well as consisting of the pre-Collapse human species. They have every intention of rebuilding the Union, starting with the world they land on.
    • The Paragons, an NPC faction, are composed of the Star Union's former elites, politicians and aristocrats, who survived the Collapse through life-extending medical technology and implants.
  • Restart the World: This is the goal of The Assembly faction, who intend to destroy the entire universe and then rebuild it into perfect order.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Octowhales. They roam wild on any planet with an ocean. The Amazons have also managed to ally with some of them and they form the faction's naval forces, with the Amazons' only mechanical unit being a ship piloted by an Octowhale.
  • Scavenger World: Most of the post-Cataclysm worlds have at least some scavenging, but the first world you start on in the Assembly campaign is covered in garbage and ruins, with sub-objectives to scout around and collect as many pick-ups as possible.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted. Every campaign is actually on a different planet, with each one being the different factions trying to establish themselves; thus, the planet's drama is ultimately a smaller scale of a much bigger political war.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The "treasure" you're hunting for in the first Syndicate mission turns out to be a very dangerous viral AI.
  • Skill Gate Character: Synthesis is trickier than most of the rest of the Secret Technologies, especially if you play as a faction that doesn't have a lot of mechanical or cyborg units (and thus are not automatically Integrated without a mod), but its ability to manipulate the battlefield and buff your troops is without equal. The Network Link unit can reset once-per-battle abilities and refresh itself by downloading data from enemy corpses, allowing for a clever player to decimate the battlefield.
  • Slave Mooks: The Syndicate's basic infantry are bonded slaves, whose service pays off the debt their family accrued. For many of them, that would take multiple generations. They can even turn the infantry of other races into these via the Control Collars mod, or treat other units they make as "indentured" with another mod. (The reason you'd want to do this is there's a few gameplay benefits, like Overseers zapping an Indentured to refresh their action points).
  • Shock and Awe: Arc weapons, beloved of the Synthesis secret tech and the Syndicate and Assembly factions, though others can get them by modifying their conventional or biochemical weapons as well.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Downplayed. While the effective range of shotguns is certainly smaller than that of assault rifles and the like, it is still a ranged attack, and will damage aerial units and the like.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silicon-Based Life: One frequently-encountered group of marauders are the Quartzites, mineral creatures divided into two types: crystal types who use arc-based attacks, and magma types who use thermal-based attacks.
  • Spikes of Villainy:
    • They're all over the Spacers NPC faction (a collection of drug-addled violent lunatics who treat life as a video game) as part of their post-apocalyptic desertpunk aesthetic.
    • The Assembly are not necessarily villainous (their Hat is For Science!) but they do love the spiky look.
  • Super Spit: Kir'ko melee units can spit poison as a ranged attack. A number of neutral alien creatures also use spitting attacks, including the Quartzite Liquid Flame which spits molten lava at its unfortunate targets.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Psi-Fish NPC faction consists of these. They are extradimensional beings torn from their home by the cataclysm and struggling to survive in a world of vastly different natural laws. As the name implies they are all psionic and resemble translucent, floating marine life.
  • Take Cover!: The introduction of a cover mechanic has been one aspect of the shift to firearms-centered combat.
  • Tech Tree: At least seven for every player. First, they are divided into "Military" and "Social" tech trees, each of which is worked simultaneously and independent of the other. Military includes Faction techs for any faction you have at least one colony of, two Weapons tech trees, and your Secret tech tree. Social includes Doctrine, Colony, and Operations tech trees.
  • Tractor Beam: The Dvar Earthcrusher vehicle, which uses a beam to pull the enemies right into its ore processing machinery.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Kir'ko used to be completely enslaved by the human Star Union, but eventually rebelled. Meanwhile, the clone super-soldiers who eventually became the Assembly overthrew their handlers after the Star Union's collapse.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Empress Carminia provides the campaign's opening narration about the terrible cataclysm and the need to avoid repeating its mistakes. She caused the cataclysm herself in a bid to become a psionic goddess and she's willing to blow up entire inhabited planets to cover her tracks...
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • While you can easily get the units of NPC factions under your banner by getting in their good graces, there's a lot more specialized units that are only put under your control by quest events, if you're very lucky. Penguins, the male and female sex androids of Elysium park, the various rock monsters and giant insects are but a few of the enemy creatures running around you have to deal with that you can't manufacture or buy with influence.
    • There are also the unique upgrades used by the Quartzite neutral creature type which can only be obtained very rarely by using the Amazons' animal control operation successfully on a unit that has them.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Syndicate's tier IV unit, the Zenith, is a hovering warship with one of these mounted in its bow. The Cataclysm Cannon needs to charge up for two turns before being ready to use, but when it fires, the results are...well, cataclysmic.
  • When Trees Attack: The Amazon Arborian units, which come in two types. The first one, the Arborian Sentinel, is a support unit armed with laser cannons and Thorn Roots capable of entangling enemies from a distance, it is also capable of granting bonus shields to friendly units. The second, the Arborian Queen, is the Amazon T4 unit that uses bio cannons and a more powerful Root Quake ability with a wider area of effect, it can also restore dead animal and plant units back to life, as well as grow whole forests on the strategic map.
  • Women Are Wiser: The Amazons certainly believe so. It's mostly Cultural Posturing.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: "Cosmite" is the Vespene of the game, a fairly rare resource that you can only find in select areas. It's needed for modding units, building Colonizers, or constructing very high-tier units.


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