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Video Game / Planetary Annihilation

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Planetary Annihilation is an RTS set IN SPACE! Created by Uber Entertainment and funded by Kickstarter, it follows factious robots in their separate (and conflicting) quests to conquer the galaxy. Players have control over all robots in their army and can build an empire across multiple star systems.

As you might guess from the title, it's another Spiritual Successor to Total Annihilation (the other being Supreme Commander), this time on a galactic scale. Not being limited to just a single planet's surface like in its spiritual predecessors, players can now build and deploy armies across multiple planets in a single map.

A standalone expansion with the subtitle Titans was released in August 2015.


This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Averted with most of the titans/superweapons, which each have their own niche.
    • Atlas/Zeus/Ares titans are slow and expensive, but can easily annihilate massed armies and bases on their lonesome, and can be built surprisingly early.
    • The Helios titan is vulnerable to orbital defences, but is a rapid transporter that is otherwise hard to destroy and provides its own air support; plus it's movable, unlike ground-based stargates.
    • Nukes can 2-hit commanders and destroy armies, but are instantly defeated by anti-nukes; however, they can be launched anywhere in the solar system and are comparatively cheap superweapons.
    • Colony Drop often completely destroys not one but two planets... which also automatically destroys a lot of precious resources and build space, to say nothing of the cost of building the engines required to move a planetoid. However, without a way to move the commander away it's an instant win and reduces the potential places they can hide, on top of being a no-questions-asked instant destruction of a planet, all defences be damned.
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    • Played straight with the Ragnarok (which can also explode planets, but is slow to build and takes time to charge as well, making it easily destructible) and the Catalyst (requires a metal planet and 5 catalysts to be built, so you probably could have won twice by the time you fire it).
  • Absent Aliens: The only thing known about the Progenitors is that they came before the commanders. One of the factions believes 1) they must be eliminated at all costs, and 2) they are even now preparing to attack and destroy the robots. There's a "Progenitor" commander, but functionally it's just a bit more anthropomorphic than the others and otherwise identical.
    • The background info does mention another race (Xziphid) the robots were originally created to fight by the Progenitors, but there's no sign of them either.
  • Action Bomb: Bomb bots. Incredibly cheap, quick to produce, and with very low health, they have no actual armament. They do, however, explode when close enough to an enemy unit or building. One or two can be picked off with ease... but you never send just one or two.
    • To an extent, Commanders are this - upon dying, they explode in a nuclear fireball, and some games with multiple Commanders on a side would see a Commander just walking into an enemy base and suiciding, taking out half the base at the same time (this technique is called "Com Bomb" by the community and is now not as feasible anymore due to the much lower commander explosion damage).
    • The Manhattan is this too but slower, more expensive and has a nuke.
  • After the End: "The Age of Humanity is long past..."
  • Apocalypse How: All the way up to physical annihilation on a planetary scale, at least for small planets.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The dev team's goal, at any rate. If you're going to see it a lot (it's the name of the game after all), it might as well be spectacular!
  • Anti-Air: Every unit class and the defenses have 1-2 things capable shooting Air. Effectiveness varies greatly depending on what you need and the enemy has.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Completely averted. Though with enough units, even a high-end computer will begin to crawl.
  • Baby Planet: All the planets seen are substantially smaller than would be stable spheres. The smallest of those can be equipped with engines. See Colony Drop.
  • BFG: Several advanced buildings and units.
    • The commander has the "Uber cannon", similar in function to the two predecessors
  • Colony Drop: The Halley Engine allows players to change the orbits of medium to small planets. The new orbit does not have to be stable, or free of other planets...
  • Colour Coded Armies: With no unit cap, this is the only way to have a hope of telling what's going on in any large battle.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Completely justified in-game, as you're taking part in a rolling war where only the commanders travel to planets, use up all the resources and then move onto the next, requiring that they construct everything needed to wage war on-the-go.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The AI opponents in Galactic Conquest mode have preferred strategies like swarms of aircraft or bots which are easily countered. It gets really sad when an AI puts all of it's resources into naval dominance of a planet with barely enough water to hold its base.
    • And equally annoying if you're unlucky enough to have only unlocked vehicles at the time.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Commanders can walk around just fine with next to no HP, but one hit over that and they turn into a mushroom cloud.
  • Cyber Cyclops: A few of the robots have this.
  • Death from Above: Orbital Lasers take a while to build, but if the other side doesn't have anything to shoot them down...
    • The unit description even says "death from above".
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: A lot of the Bots are cheap, weak, and short-ranged. Two or three - heck, even five or six - are no match for most other units. But get twenty or thirty, or fifty or sixty... Now with the Titans expansion there is the nano swarm.
  • Decapitated Army: Rather justified in that the Commander is supposed to be controlling everything. Once he's dead, the rest of the army self-destructs.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Everything explodes when defeated, but Commanders explode massively when destroyed.
    • Exploited with nuke tanks, which have a similarly massive explosion triggered on death
  • Drop Pod: How the Commander arrives on a planet.
  • Doomsday Device: Oh, let us count the ways!
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: It's in the name.
  • Earth-Shattering Poster: The cover art of the box.
  • Easy Logistics: The only thing you need to worry about are energy production and metal extraction; everything else is automatic.
  • Energy Weapon: The Orbital Laser, Umbrella, and Uber Cannon, and most artillery cost power to recharge.
  • Excuse Plot: Unlike Total Annihilation or Supreme Commander, the game doesn't present much of a plot or story to the game. There's some background explained on the website, but it's mostly cosmetic. Even in-universe the robots only have a vague idea of what's going on.
  • Fog of War: You can only see what your troops see, and some buildings have a firing radius larger than their sight range. Radar is a must for getting their full effect... and getting warning of approaching hordes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The background briefings on enemy commanders in Galactic Conquest mode make it clear that defeated Commanders are often captured and reprogrammed to serve a new side rather than destroyed. There is no possible way to do this in-game.
  • Glowing Mechanical Eyes
  • Hero Unit: The Commanders; once they're destroyed, it's Game Over.
  • Humongous Mecha:
  • Instant-Win Condition: Kill the enemy's Commander? Victory!
    • Fully activating a metal planet is this even against multiple opponents, since it will then destroy every other planet in the game in rapid succession.
  • Keystone Army: Lost your Commander? Buh-buy now.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flame Tanks. Short-ranged and moderately slow, but tough enough to get within reach and strong enough to take out most buildings and even commanders in seconds.
  • Killer Robot: Everything in the game.
  • Kill Sat: Orbital lasers.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Many units shoot missiles. There is no unit cap.
  • Not Hyperbole: Yes, you can actually annihilate planets over the course of the game.
  • Nuclear Option: Little bit on the small scale, but still devastating to bases built compactly.
    • Terrain can sometimes force attacking armies to come at one or two easily-blockaded points. Just cram the opening with defensive structures and you're safe... unless you forget to add an Anti-Nuke Launcher, an oversight that can lead to instant annihilation.
  • Obvious Beta: Quite a lot of promised features weren't available at release. See this compilation post. (Backup screenshot)
  • Oh, Crap!: Can happen in numerous ways. Enemy got a Kill Sat over your base and you've got nothing that can hit it? A thousand tanks closing from all sides? Nuclear missiles roaring in with no counter-missiles to stop them? Minor planet about to fall on your head? Oh, Crap!.
  • Orbital Bombardment: If the enemy doesn't have any Umbrellas to shoot down orbital units, an orbital laser is practically unstoppable. Just make sure that while you're busy reducing buildings to dust, the other side isn't returning the favor...
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: Ragnarok titan can drill a hole to the core of the planet it's built on before launching a powerful missile that explodes the core, destroying the entire planet in process.
  • Planetville
  • Point Defenseless: You should never be that. If you forgot to guard against air or orbital attacks, this could be a game over in less then 30 seconds of the enemy making their presence known.
  • Pointless Doomsday Device: Launching the last 2 planets at eachother, or using a ragnarock device on your commander's planet is basically suicide...but still amusing.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: Do you hurry and build the most advanced units to wipe out enemies from distances at which they can't even see you, much less respond? Or do you rush five hundred cheap, weak units and overwhelm everything in your path through sheer numbers?
  • Real Robot: Pretty close.
  • Refining Resources: From the start you can built "Tech 1" energy and Metal Extractors; "Tech 2" buildings can only be constructed once you've built a higher level worker.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Everything is built and repaired by spraying glowing green stuff at it.
  • Robot War: The backstory suggests it started out like this, but by the time the game starts, its Robots Vs. Robots.
  • Rule of Cool: In the words of designer John Comes - "We are not shooting for realism; we're shooting for awesome."
  • Shock and Awe: The new Titans expansion adds the spark tesla bot
  • Shout-Out:
  • Space Base: Currently has the "Moon Base" variant.
  • Spam Attack: If you can't match their quality, you can try overwhelming them with quantity.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Averted with Earth-Like planets having polar regions, wooded areas, deserts, and seas/oceans. Played straight with Lava, Desert, and Ice planets. Realistic with Moons and Metal planets.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Total Annihilation.
  • Straight for the Commander: Since taking the Commander out is the only way to win, this will happen eventually.
  • Suicide Attack: Often, waves of units will be sent out as distractions or delays, with no intent of having them survive. Also the whole point of existence for the Bomb Bot, whose only weapon is the bomb on its back. Even Commanders can do this, if you have more than one - just walk into the middle of the enemy base and die in a nuclear fireball. (This is generally only done by the supremely confident or the supremely desperate, because - as previously mentioned - once your last Commander is dead, it's Game Over)
    • Blowing up the planet your commander is on is this... at best.
  • Tank Goodness: All the vehicle units look like some kind of tank. Some have anti-air missiles, some have BF Gs, and some are mobile artillery.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Comes with the territory of being an RTS: Bots are good at raiding or hit/run but die to defenses. Defenses die to vehicles. Vehicles are rather vulnerable to Air. Air should really not fly too close to bot swarms
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Teleporters look a lot like stargates and single unit transporters are in the game. As of this writing, multi-unit transports are still taking their time.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Actively encouraged.
  • That is just not a Metal Planet: Metal planets are actually Death Stars that have laid dormant for millenniums. Starting a late game construction project lets you reactivate them.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: One of the possible reactions to seeing five hundred enemy tanks appear from one direction while three hundred (each) fighters and bombers roar in from the other. Give or take a few hundred.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Annihilaser found on metal planets. Power it up with five Catalyst structures and it'll remove any planet of your choice.
  • We Have Reserves: By the end of a planet-side campaign, many players are cramming out so many units they tend to send out hordes with little regard to whether they survive or not. Averted early game where losing a few Worker units can be a large setback.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Commanders walk on the bottom of seabeds while all construction in the water are placed on floating rafts.
    • Several Bots can do that too to support their mobility and ability to raid enemy economy.
  • Walking Tank: A few of the more powerful Bots are this.
    • The Commander can survive a nuclear missiles to the face. You need a planet to kill him with only one attack.
  • World Shapes: The default shape is spherical, but any mesh shape could be imported if desired.
  • Worker Unit: Fabrication units, nicknamed "Fabbers". Your commander can create basic buildings, but you're going to need some dedicated units to get anything done before your untimely death. Tier 1 fabbers are faster at moving and slower at building than the Commander, but have an expanded build menu and are significantly more expendable. Tier 2 fabbers build faster and have even more build options, but are themselves more expensive and take longer to produce.
  • You Are Too Late: This sometimes happens with the Ragnarok titan. If it gets blown up between firing and the weapon taking effect the planet blows up anyway. Happens quite often against AI opponents, which try to time attacks to make you waste resources by finishing it just before their nukes land.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Energy and Metal. Though both are theoretically infinite, the challenge comes from producing enough to meet demand. If you can get a force behind enemy lines, generators and metal extractors can better targets than factories - they have less health, and if you leave the factories running the actual efficiency will nose-dive as resource debt skyrockets. Taking out the factories instead leaves plenty of surplus resources for rapid rebuilding.
  • Zerg Rush: A viable tactic in the early stages of the game is overrunning limited defenses with weak (but cheap) units, particularly bots; this was a popular tactic of Uber's Community Manager Brad.
    • Being a mix of glass cannon and speedster Bot's need to use that against anything that shoots back.