Review: Artificial Extinction – Annoying Rogue AI, Solid Tower Defense

Review Artificial Extinction

Artificial Extinction is a brand new tower defense game by 100Hr Games however it is not your traditional tower defense title. Artificial Extinction combines first-person shooting and exploration with tower defense based combat to deliver a truly unique and challenging experience. This is our review of Artificial Extinction on Steam in which we take on the rogue AI and try to survive nine days on a hostile planet in a bid to find a safe spot for our family before they arrive.

Tower defense and first-person shooting are two entirely different genres and it appears like combining them together can be quite fun. Artificial Extinction is such a game that allows you to move around an alien planet and place down turrets to fend off attacking rogue machines. The story of the game is based around a rogue AI who has taken over the planet and has forced humans to look for a new living place. With you hunting for a space for humans and your own family, you only have a limited time to find such as place and settle down away from the rogue AI to threaten humanity’s survival.

You arrive on such a planet where you have exactly nine days to find a suitable spot to find and signal your family who is on the way to the planet as well however as you explore the new planet for a safe spot, you must continue to find fuel and refuel your ship. When you land on the ground to refuel your ship, you find out that the rogue AI is present on this very planet as well and is using the local robots and machinery against you. Your goal here is to survive each landing by building sentry guns, ensuring they have plenty of power and collecting fuel at the same time.

Review Artificial Extinction

Right after booting the game, you are briefed on the past and the current situation while you explore the space in your spaceship. You are also introduced to your companion AI who plays a vital role in the game. The companion AI teaches you everything in the game and the first landing you do on the planet is essentially an extensive tutorial during which the companion AI teaches you everything there is to play Artificial Extinction. The tutorial is pretty extensive and takes quite a long time to complete but it also serves as the first mission of the game so it does not feel too boring and there is plenty of action going on during the level.

The gameplay of Artificial Extinction is basically building, maintenance and shooting. You come with a large rifle yourself which can be used to shoot at enemies to destroy them. It is essentially a huge sniper rifle but firing is not satisfying at all. There is no weight to the shots and they look like explosive water balloons hitting the enemies. You begin the mission by laying down some miners to collect metal and produce some energy. Both metal and energy resource piles are marked on the map and you have to build miners on them to extract them.

These miners are crucial to your survival in the game. Energy is used to power your sentries while metal is used to build the sentries. These are always at the back of the area however you still have to protect them from the enemy forces because they are very weak against attacks and also crucial to your mission’s survival. On the other hand, your sentries can take a decent amount of damage in their fight against the rogue machines bombarding your base. The main goal of every stage is to refuel and make it out alive with the fuel cell.

Review Artificial Extinction

You are allowed to build multiple miners on energy and metal deposits but only one miner extracts fuel which ensures that fuel stocking takes a decent amount of time. After the waves begin, you must continue to manage the sentries, build more as required and react to ever-changing tactics of the battlefield. The AI of Artificial Extinction is extremely smart as they will change their attack tactics on the go. If one of your areas is heavily defended, they will change their direction and try to flank your main defenses. When this happens, you must adapt quickly and either build new sentries to defend the new attack area or move some of the old sentries to the new area to ensure that your miners are safe. Each level also brings additional challenges and multiple access points for you to guard and watch out for.

Apart from using the sentries to deal damage to your enemies, you can also shoot the enemy machines yourself with your rifle. It comes with two different firing modes. Long ranged is slow-firing mode however it has longer reach, on the other hand, Short ranges have less travel distance but allow for a faster fire. Your companion AI will monitor the battle and continue giving you tips according to multiple changes happening around you. It will also repair the damaged sentries all around the base. You can also order the companion AI to repair a miner or a sentry on demand.

Along with this, you can also craft additional ammo for your rifle which costs metal. If you run out of space for your sentries, you can upgrade the current ones as well by spending some metal. My main focus for most of the levels was to deploy as many sentries as possible because, during the end of the level, you get the most enemies and even with pretty hefty defenses, you often notice that some sneaky little enemy will bypass them and reach your base. To counter enemies that come too close to your base, you can deploy close counter machine gun sentries that excel at destroying enemies at a close range.

You must have a balance of different types of defense sentries so that you can easily counter any sort of enemy easily. Some of the enemies will try to attack you from the distance while some will try to attack you from the air. You have different types of sentries to tackle both of them however even with that, there is not a good variety of defense sentries in the game. In later stages, I felt that even when fully upgraded, the sentries are no match for large enemy waves and most of the time I was running around putting down new sentries as enemy tanks continued to crush my sentries. Destroyed enemy tanks can be a good source of metal however so if they explode near you, collect their destroyed pieces for some extra metal.

The star of your defense is the MRLS which fires blind rockets at your enemies. It can only be built once per round and once deployed, it comes with around 48 rockets. I found it pretty useless most of the time because the missiles are fire-and-forget. In addition, if any of your own turrets come in its path, they are destroyed as well. I learned this the hard way as the companion AI told me to put it safely behind my sentries but it ended up wiping out half of my own defenses. You can also call in airstrikes from your airship circling around the map but that is only once per round as well making them something you should keep safe for desperate emergencies.

While you are moving around the map, putting down sentries, shooting enemy tanks and making sure that enough miners are functioning at all times, you should watch out for your own health as well. If your current number of sentries is too low, the enemy tanks will continue to attack you instead of the sentries and you come with a limited amount of health. When it reaches zero, you die and have to restart the game. To minimize this, you can lay down some Claymore mines in anticipated paths of the enemies and you will not have to fire at the enemies and attracting their attention. Even in the presence of the sentries, if you shoot the enemies, they will switch their focus on you and you take quite a lot of damage from enemy hits.

As much as I tried to like the game, Artificial Extinction is not short of glitches and bugs as well. Despite running on a pretty well-equipped system, the game kept crashing on me. Two of the most commons errors I received while playing the game were ‘unable to allocate video memory to the game’ and ‘fatal error.’ I thought we were past the era of the ‘fatal error’ crashes but it seems like we are not. Sometimes while fully zoomed in, textures would load pretty slow making me wonder if my computer is not working up as it should be. The game requires some patches and updates asap because the bugs and glitches are ruining an otherwise pretty decent game in the tower defense genre.

Final Verdict:

Artificial Extinction is a great concept as it combines a first-person shooter with tower defense mechanics. However, both of the genres fused together still feel pretty empty in most cases. The base defenses are pretty limited while you only have one rifle to use in the entire game. The amount of levels in the game are pretty short as well since there are only nine levels however they are pretty good while they last. In addition, once you are done with the levels, there is not much to do in the game as well. There are also plenty of bugs and technical issues leading to complete game crashes which is extremely annoying. As much as the I loved the concept of having a first-person tower defense game, Artificial Extinction still falls short in many departments. If you’ve been craving for a tower defense game for a long time, Artificial Extinction is a decent choice for you. The game has a lot of potential and if the developer continues to support the game, it can become a solid tower defense title however, the glitches and bugs need to go in its current form.

Final Score: 6.5/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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