Lifeless Planet

Publisher: Kingstill
Developer: Stage 2 Studios
Year: 2014
Platform: Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Rating: 3

Lifeless Planet sold itself as a mostly stress-free platformer that focuses on story. While that turned out to be mostly true, there was not enough platforming and not enough story. Braid this is not.

The game’s beginning is intriguing and has the same sense of awe I had when I started Journey. Sadly, less than an hour into play I found myself become increasingly bored and underwhelmed. The premise is that you’ve crash landed on a planet believed to be full of life. However, you quickly determine that all life is gone (including your crewmates) and find evidence that Soviet era Russians had been colonizing this planet for years, though there’s no evidence they’re still around either.

The story does develop over the five to nine hours it will take the average person to play, but it is so freaking slow. So much time is just spent walking over vast expanses of land and the platforming that exists is generally repetitive, occasionally awkward (those geysers made me want to scream), and with very little in the way of challenging puzzles. This would be fine if the story plugged along at a nice pace, but sometimes you can go an hour without learning anything of note. Some people were moved by the story that is there. I was not.

The most frustrating part for me were the few levels that were dark. I even selected the in-game option of brightening the screen and it was still so hard to navigate some areas without straining my eyes. Darkness has its place in games to add to the atmosphere, but here it was just mostly annoying.

I got this when it was a free download off Epic Games. It was generally a nice diversion, but I have no desire to ever pick this up again.

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