Developer: Stage 2 Studios
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Price: £15.99 // $19.99
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be stranded on an empty planet or watch the Matt Damon movie the Martian and think I could cope with that situation? Well, thanks to the guys at Stage 2 studios and publishers Serenity Forge you can try this walking sim/puzzle game that strands you on, wait for it a Lifeless Planet (yeah, I went there).
In space, no one can hear you scream!
So at its core, this is a spooky, sci-fi game that revolves around a mission to find life on other worlds. The planet is supposed to be teaming with life forms however after crash landing our hero discovers a completely desolate landscape with no one to be seen anywhere. So we start off at the crash site and this game really doesn’t hold your hand at all. Lifeless Planet is interesting in that the game wants you to work out so much for yourself, it’s great but starting off with no real info doesn’t really help you out when you’re stranded. All you have is your trusty jetpack to help get you around the deserted landscape.
So we set off in search of oxygen and across the desolate surface, you will find mission logs and documents littered across the planet that fill you in slowly on a few things. This platformer/puzzle game is a bit Marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it. The planet surface is sparse and seems to go on into the distance and for the most part, the game is not groundbreaking in terms of graphics. One thing you’ll find out pretty quickly with this game is that a mistimed jump will rapidly become a source for frustration, this will continue throughout the game. Also a little tip, not a spoiler but there is an underground area and I found it very tough to see what I was doing, there is an option to brighten dark areas and this helps enough that you’ll see where you were going wrong.
Like any good game, the story is what drew me in. I’m an older gamer and I remember a time before games were measured by how polished they look or ultra-realistic they were, so a good story for me is absolutely vital. Lifeless Planet follows our character on a journey looking for life on other worlds and when you get there you find a mysterious town that has no right to be there, I mean who doesn’t love a good mystery? As you delve deeper into the mystery you begin to wonder if you are really alone and find more mysterious and interesting locations that only give you more questions than answers. Was the mission a hoax, is it really the earth we just have to find out. The game breaks down the planet into different areas, can you survive the treacherous terrain and what lurks beneath your feet?
He leads a lonely life……
We follow our astronaut as he moves around the lonely world. As you progress you will find a new boost for your jump which will assist you in getting across those pesky chasms. One thing I felt really added to this game is the background music, honestly, some pieces made me feel like I was watching a film. The dramatic music really helped me to get into the game more and I didn’t allow myself to switch off from it like I have with previous games. The rumble feature is something I don’t really talk about in games but during rockfalls and things like that in-game you will feel the full force of the action in your hands.
The game delivers lots of little tasks to keep you busy, you’ll find yourself looking for codes, working out how to turn the power on and little things like this. I have to be honest and say that upon first playing this game I instantly felt that it wasn’t for me, but I have to say that it actually won me over. I enjoyed the simplicity and the whole story was interesting enough to keep me coming back for me. This game was a grower for me personally. The gameplay is simple and I don’t see much replay value unless you miss the odd thing. The emphasis is the story. The length of play through will obviously depend on you but it can be done in around 6-8 hours based on my own time with the game.
As a whole, the game won’t be to everyone’s taste (remember Marmite, which tastes great on buttered toast, just saying), however, if you like a good story-driven game and can look past the by the numbers gameplay then give this a try. It’s not going to set the world on fire by any stretch of the imagination but I still found I enjoyed myself and would want to play more once I finished my normal 9-5. This game was originally released back in 2014 and it is nice to see older games getting a second lease of life on the Nintendo Switch. It does seem that Nintendo is really building bridges with developers to increase software that’s available to their audience. Certainly a step in the right direction from previous generations. Maybe for the games’ age, it’s worth waiting for a discount in one of the Eshops many deals.
This game was provided by Serenity Forge for the purposes of this review.