Have you heard of Lovely Planet before? If you haven’t, form a picture in your head based on the words Lovely Planet and take a guess as to what the game is about. The results may surprise you. Lovely Planet is an enticing little first-person shooter based on time trials. Innocent-looking at first, the game gets progressively harder with enemies, apple bombs and more that threaten to impede your path. The goal is to defeat every enemy and reach the pole to finish the level. A simple game in design, Lovely Planet tests players’ accuracy and first-person shooter skills.
Here’s what I liked:
Minimalist — While I wouldn’t want to see every game embrace this kind of simplicity, I’ll give credit to Lovely Planet for making a lot of very little. “Basic” defines this game: from the world layout to the enemies, everything is made of simple shapes and bright colors. On more than one occasion, the art reminded me of Beautiful Katamari. While it won’t win visuals of the year, it’s a nice change of pace from the recent stream of releases.
Lock on — After three-starring (by defeating all enemies, having 100 percent accuracy and beating the target time) the first 18 levels, I realized that Lovely Planet has an aim assist available. While the game is playable without the assist, the experience is enhanced from the simplified aim. Aim Assist won’t help every shot hit its mark, but it will help those shots that should hit 95 percent of the time to actually hit around 99 percent of the time. It also acts as a pseudo camera-centering tool, which is helpful when the action goes all over the place. Lovely.
Here’s what I disliked:
One trick pony — Unfortunately, repetitiveness is this game’s downfall. Lovely Planet stays largely the same from beginning till end. The music is catchy at first, but the track loops quickly and doesn’t change until the next world. The gameplay contains only minor differences between enemies with no variation in each journey. This minimalist approach eventually backfires and makes for a glaring reminder that everything looks and feels repetitive.
Almost instant restart — A minor gripe is that after the first few levels the game shows a menu that offers a look ahead at the layout or the option to start playing after using the quick restart. When I failed, I just wanted to get back in the action and try again, so the time spent on the extra button press to close out the menu added up after awhile and became annoying. Some gamers will like having this buffer before restarting, so it’s a very iffy situation. A toggle in the menu screen to turn this off would be ideal.
No one asked for this kind of game. This is a niche concept at its finest, but I have to wonder how many people would jump at the idea of playing a game solely based on time trials. One bright note — this game is perfect for getting players to start cursing expletives. It’s very tough to broadly recommend Lovely Planet, though; it’s not meant for players who aren’t great at shooters. If you do like the idea of a time trial game, definitely give it a shot. Everyone else should approach with caution.
Score: Try it
Achievement notes: Expect to retry levels many times. Most Achievements require finding miscellaneous items and locations or getting three stars in every level in every world. Levels gradually get more difficult, so expect eventual frustrations. Unfortunately, the Achievement for getting all the stars on the mountain is unobtainable as of this moments as one of the levels does not register stars.
Lovely Planet was developed by QUICKTEQUILA and published by tinyBuildGAMES. It released on January 8, 2016 for $9.99. A copy was provided by tinyBuildGAMES for review purposes.