I really enjoyed Interstellar, I thought it was great and possibly even one of my favourite films, it was so good that I actually bought the Blu-ray with the art book which is unusual for me! Thats how much I liked it tough and I was always disappointed there wasn’t some of proper story focused planet space exploration game to go with it (anyone who mentions the iOS game will be blacklisted!).
Enter Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition, which I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced for Xbox One at E3 2014 . It really scratched that itch of exploration and discovery for me, it’s not an action game with big explosions or an RPG with a deep level of progression its an adventure platformer which allows you to experience what it would be like to seek life on another planet, before finding an abandoned Russian town on it that is.
The US astronaut along with a couple of companions are sent on a one way mission to this (supposedly) uninhabited planet to see the wonders of the thriving lush natural eco-system and seek new life, unfortunately after a rough landing it soon becomes obvious that something in the mission is not right. You journey through trying to piece together what has gone on here before, where your companions are and uncover the mystery of why this planet isn’t what you were expecting it to be whilst you fight your own demons from the life you left on earth.
The first Steam tag on its store page is “walking simulator” but I would say its a lot more than that.
The most important thing is the experience that is portrayed to the player in this case the sense of exploration and adventure, a story that is intriguing, interesting and in some respects horrifying in the way the world has reacted to other people being in it and now you, the player, there is also a creepy atmosphere which is conveyed well in the logs and environments, a feel of the unknown. Ultimately it is one that is definitely worth playing and I really think Lifeless Planet does what it set out to do incredibly well, the walking simulator tag isn’t even necessarily an unfair one, you do spend a lot of time walking around but also exploring, searching for collectible (minerals, documents, audio logs) to find out more about this planet and what exactly the Russians were doing here which all tells the story and makes it interesting.
Aside from the walking it has a few puzzles to complete which are relatively simple but can use of the mobile robotic arm you acquire as well as some puzzle-platforming segments to help the astronaut navigate the terrain and continue his exploration, you also have a few instances of blowing things up and moving things around, these are less common but break up the gameplay well when they do occur.
My favourite thing to do though is to use the jetpack, popping the astronaut in the air is fun and quite satisfying as well as a key gameplay mechanic, there is the regular one use boost that is always available but in times where you need it you’ll find a jetpack fuel refill nearby that will give you multiple boosts to use in quick succession to get help propel you over huge gaps and have some fun air-based fun along the way.
There are few moments where you really feel under threat but you can die in multiple ways (there are various achievements for this too) like falling to your death as well as other hazards like being set on fire or getting attacked by certain things, if you navigate using the tools you have it should be pretty easy-going unless you enjoy dying constantly.
I enjoyed the sense of adventure as I was travelling around, looking for ledges to jump on so I could get to the next bit and it felt quite satisfying to do so especially when you add in the jetpack, there is an interesting and worthwhile planet to explore particularly with the collectibles hidden around the levels which give you more back story on the planet and the events that have gone on.
For me the game ran fine on Xbox One as well, it looks nice and has some nice little effects like the wind and dust kicking up, the only time I had any particularly problems with it was a couple of platforming sections which were quite tight to move around in and for some reason when I landed after a jump it felt like the player had his legs tied together and they wouldn’t generate proper steps to move forwards and give me the momentum to jump to the next platform which was a slightly strange occurrence when it did happen and a little frustrating. The achievements are all relatively easy too although you may need a guide to help you find everything, I did a pretty good job on my first play through but I did miss some things.
Lifeless Planet Premier Edition is a fun and interesting game, with an intriguing story which contains many mysteries and is worth experiencing, the exploration and platforming are two of the main aspects across many locations (more varied than my screenshots suggest) and I enjoyed doing this a lot particularly with the jetpack, its everything that you would think you would get from a game like this and doesn’t disappoint.
- Price: $19.99/£15.99
- Release Date: Out now
- Formats: Xbox One (Played). PC
- Developer: Stage 2 Studios
- Publisher: Stage 2 Studios
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