Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lovely Planet Review (XONE)

Imagine the results if a first-person-shooter and Katamari Damacy had a baby.  Now imagine that the shooting isn’t actually any good and the bright colorful quirkiness seems really forced and lame instead of fun.  That is basically Lovely Planet.  It desperately wants to be weird and quirky and cool, but the only thing that really shines through it all is the desperation and none of the fun.  See our full review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: tinyBuild Games
  • Developer: QuickTequila
  • ESRB Rating: “E10” for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Shooter
  • Pros: Great music; fast pace
  • Cons: Repetitive; not actually very fun
  • MSRP: $10
Lovely Planet page at Xbox.com

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Lovely Planet is a first-person-shooter / platformer smashed into a speedrunning game.  You run and jump and shoot your way through short levels to kill all of the enemies and reach the goal post as quickly as possible.  And that’s it.  Each of the 100 levels throws something different at you, of course, but the core concept is simple and straight to the point. 



The problem is that Lovely Planet doesn’t control all that well in the first place, but also throws way too much stuff at you for those so-so controls to actually handle.  You have to move, and aim, and precisely jump on platforms (that disappear under your feet more often than not), while also locking on to enemies and shooting (locking on is way faster and precise than free-aim).  All at the same time.  And as the levels progress, they get increasingly difficult and complicated.  You simply don’t have enough fingers and thumbs to control it all. 

This all makes an experience that just isn’t fun to play despite the colorful and upbeat presentation constantly tricking you into thinking you should be having fun.  Lovely Planet’s most prominent feature is definitely the bright and colorful visual style that borrows liberally from the Katamari series.  The world is made up of simple shapes and objects, but it is all bright and quirky and weird.  And, honestly, that gets kind of tiring after a while.  The soundtrack is similarly not shy about its point of reference, but is catchy and fun enough I’ll let it pass.  I always loved the music in the Katamari games.

Lovely Planet isn’t a bad game by any means, but it is a thoroughly mediocre one propped up almost entirely by its presentation.  A neat visual style and catchy music isn’t enough to make up for gameplay that just isn’t any fun, though, which makes it a tough one to even lightly recommend.  Skip it.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.

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