What You Need To Know About Ancient Planet, Gabe Newell’s New Favourite Game

What You Need To Know About Ancient Planet, Gabe Newell’s New Favourite Game
Image: Ancient Planet Tower Defense

Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell has become everybody’s favourite gamer dad while living out in New Zealand. From holding a celebratory concert to applying for citizenship and even hinting Valve opening a local branch in the country was a viable option, it appears he’s fallen a little bit in love with our tiny side of the planet. Almost as much as everybody’s fallen in love with him. During a recent interview, honorary Kiwi Newell opened up about his plans for the future, as well as a new game he’d fallen in love with: Ancient Planet Tower Defense.

It’s a game that’s slid under a lot of people’s radars, but if it’s good enough for Gabe, it’s good enough for us.

Here’s everything you need to know about Ancient Planet Tower Defense and why it’s back in the spotlight.

What is Ancient Planet Tower Defense?

Image: Ancient Planet Tower Defense

Well, according to Gabe Newell, it’s a game people will make fun of him for liking.

“I have this horrible problem where I just min-max the hell out of things… I’ve just been obsessed with trying to figure out all of the possible ways to play that game,” Newell told One News.

At its core, Ancient Planet Tower Defense is a classic tower defense game. But this one’s a bit more classy than some, and features gorgeous top-down environs and a whole lot of strategy.

When you’re saving ancient civilisations from alien raiders, the beauty makes all the difference. It’s actually a bit ‘classic Fallout-like’ when you look at it, and that’s no bad thing.

It’s not exactly a new game: it released in 2014, before hitting Steam and mobiles. But Newell cited it as one of his current passions thanks to its hearty strategy elements and the ability to solve defense gaps via problem solving.

Reviews call it “really fun”, a “challenging tower defense game with some interesting mechanics” and “not for the faint of heart”.

If you’re in the market for a new tower defense game that tweaks the formula enough to feel fresh, check out Ancient Planet Tower Defense. It comes with the Newell tick of approval.

Everything else Gabe is playing

Image: Dota 2

Ancient Planet Power Defense wasn’t the only obsession Newell admitted to in his recent interview with One News. According to him, Dota 2 was another game he couldn’t get enough of last year. Reportedly, he turned his entire squad of travelling companions onto the MOBA hit.

His fellow Valve-ers were also keen on Apex Legends, a game Newell said he could learn a lot from.

If you’re playing any of the above already, congratulations — everybody’s favourite gamer dad approves. You both have excellent taste.

Stay tuned to Kotaku Australia for all the latest Gabe Newell-related adventures, and everything else besides.


  • Oooh, 2014 is a good sign. I’m an oldschool tower defence game fan (Creeper World 4 just came out and is consuming my next couple weekends), but a lot of the stuff that people think is awesome is just too finicky for my tastes. Sanctum, Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die all put way too much effort into the player-combat and not enough focus on the towers, for my taste. Similar, They Are Billions in its RTS unit-management. But it should always be primarily about the towers… and where possible, the maze. Before Prime World Defenders went all freemium-mobile trash, it was an excellent example of doing it right with replayability. I just love me some oldschool TD like the Armor Games style (although even Kingdom Rush starts juggling powers/active selling/rebuilding too much for my tastes, I like building critical mass) or Defense Grid. Anomaly Warzone gets chucked into TD discussions too often for me, too. Reverse TD is just a RTS, dangit!

    I’m definitely up for checking this out and I don’t CARE that it’s chasing a trend-setter! 😛

    • Did you ever play Defense Grid? That kept me going for a very long time.
      Defense Grid 2 isn’t as good, but it’s still pretty great. There was also a Portal Themed DLC from back when Valve did that weird potato themed event for portal 2 with a whole load of games introducing meta content.

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