Don’t let the cute visuals deceive you. Within lies a difficult, and sometimes cruel game. Much like Australia’s adorable koala, can be mean at a moment’s notice. This is the same for Lovely Planet, a speedrunner that you will love with all the cuteness on display, but then, it will turn on you.
If there’s a story to Lovely Planet, I have yet to find it. And that’s alright with me, it would only slow down what is otherwise a non-stop first-person shooter in a cutesy world that will be easily compared to Katamari Damacy. Both the lavish pastels covering every surface and the music by Calum Bowen make this unavoidable. But again, deceptions.
Memorization and exactitude in each of these levels is required. Equipped with magic gun that shoots pellets that explode into hearts, you’re able to blast baddies, snipe tomatoes out of the air, and breaking down walls that impede progress. Simply firing your unlimited supply of ammunition can get you into trouble by level’s end. You have to maintain speed, agility, and even accuracy for a good score. With the maximum rating of three stars, can be difficult if you miss even one enemy.
Death comes quick on this beautiful globe. The aforementioned tomatoes, should they land before they can be shot, will explode and reset you to the beginning of the level. All enemies have one hit kills on you, and a misstep can have you plummeting towards your death. Pressing ‘R’ on the keyboard can reset you quickly. At the start of levels, pressing ‘F’ can give you some idea of what’s to come, but the timing must be tested via trial-and-error.
With 100 levels to play and master, Lovely Planet is full of challenging and nefarious levels. There’s some real cleverness with the design early on. For example, one of them starts you off, facing the wrong direction, to then be told via a sign “Wrong Way”. Once you’re fooled on that level, you just restart and go on your way. Later levels get more devious and less cute about setting you up for failure. It’s merely just remembering the routes. This can be hard to do, as the entire game, (broken down into five separate areas) doesn’t look all that different from one another.
Leaderboards play a role in showing you how you fare against others going through the same levels as you. You can’t watch any replays of ghosts to learn their secrets to doing better, but it is just a time that must be beaten. This alone can be a driving force, or simply doing better for yourself to get all the stars for a level or section is enough.
Lovely Planet has very little in the way of enjoying this indie shooter. It’s incredibly generous price is nothing to balk at. Whether you’re spending hours trying to perfect a level to achieve all three stars, or just a few minutes, you’ll enjoy all of your time on this torturous and exciting adventure in frenetic first-person shooter speedrunning.
A Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes