This planet has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Space exploration is a very fascinating yet intimidating thought. To think that we as humans are just on a tiny speck called Earth, in a vast sea of planets and galaxies. The potential of what we could find is astronomical to think of. Though what if you were sent to a planet light years away, with supposedly organic life? Being the first humans to land on a planet would be a life experience you would never forget, but what if you weren’t the first humans to explore the planet after all? Lifeless Planet asks just that question with fantastic results.
Lifeless Planet would be considered a platforming, story driven adventure game by most players. Mechanically, there are only a very few elements of gameplay at work here. Platforming is a huge aspect, where the astronaut will have to jump wide crevices or platforms to continue along his journey, sometimes requiring the player to find tanks that allow his jet pack boosters to kick off even more. These are the fun jumps where folks have to consider the gravity of the situation. Boost at the height of a jump, ascend higher, boost on the way down, and slow the descent. It’s a little tricky at times, but once players get the hang of it, becomes second nature. While most jumps are fairly easy to perform, a few required precision that it felt like the game controls didn’t offer, but luckily these were very minor moments.
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
How long to beat: 4 hours
The other aspect of gameplay that shows up at times is in the form of minor puzzles, sometimes having to press some buttons in a specific order with the astronauts robotic arm tool, using dynamite to blow open a new way, or using the energized rocks to power up a device. While nothing is absolutely brain bending here, sometimes players can miss the one crucial rock or air tank that is needed to proceed, and will have to explore the environments to find that missing element. Puzzles seem fairly logical, but when there is always an explosive, air tank, or rock just when players happen to need it, it can pull the sense of tension away from the otherwise solid adventure feel.
The environments are nice to explore because they offer some fantastic elements that come together to truly make it feel like players are on a desolate planet. Draw distance can be impressive at times, offering wild views that might showcase a foggy forest, or perhaps a huge crater with overcast clouds above, casting a creepy overtone to the situation. It’s lonely on the planet, but it makes perfect sense in the context of the player’s situation and the sound of wind and other environmental hazards, along with the beautiful, alien, and energetic soundtrack only add to the entire experience.
I completed Lifeless Planet in just under four hours with almost constant progression, as I very rarely found myself stuck. Yet I don’t claim this as a negative, because I was so completely enthralled with the story and presentation that I didn’t want to stop playing. The game had me on the edge of my seat, exploring a planet with wonderful visuals and a mystery I just had to see to completion. Lifeless Planet is an absolute gem. While there might not be much reason to replay the game other than to re-experience the adventure, it’s one experience I won’t soon forget.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.