Quicktequila’s debut game ‘Lovely Planet’ is coming to Xbox One this month and there’s reason to celebrate. At first sight, Lovely Planet looks like a first person homage of Katamari. The font looks the same, Japanese sentences are all over the place and Lovely Planet even uses the same style of pastel colors and music. That being said however, Lovely Planet is nothing like Katamari, it’s a brutal game that combines shooting with speed running. It looks cute but it’s one of the hardest games we’ve played.
The cute atmosphere
First thing first, the moment you’ll start the game you’ll see some incredible cute graphics. Everything in Lovely Planet is created in pastel colors to mirror popular cartoons. The enemies are just red squares and pillars standing behind corners; and your weapon is a magic stick that fires off purple squares. These squares follow a straight line so aiming is a little hard at first. That being said, the atmosphere of the game is something entirely different from what you’re used of in other first person shooters.
The worlds themselves look rather strange as well. Everything is placed randomly and the skies are filled with nonsense objects like fish, hovering plastic balls and a lot more. The game tries to deliver some color on the Xbox One and it really succeeds in its goal. Don’t be mistaken however; although the game might look innocent, it’s far from that.
The brutal gameplay
Behind its cute looks, you’ll find a very hard game to master. The goal of Lovely Planet is to reach the end of every level by running towards the big purple pillar at the end of each level. The levels aren’t that big and can be completed in less than a minute. There are more than 80 levels in the game. Sounds easy right? Well it isn’t. Lovely Planet is filled with things that will force you to restart the entire level. Let’s take a look.
First of all, you’ll need to take down every enemy on the map. If you miss one but reach the end, you’ll be forced to restart the level. Enemies are hidden behind corners or on lower platform in the levels. During the first levels it’s easy to spot them all but the more you advance, the harder it all gets.
Those enemies can also send you straight back to the start the moment they hit you with their purple square shots. You can shoot the enemies using your magic stick and the lock button on your controller to aim more precisely. The developer placed the enemies on locations where you don’t expect them, like behind the corner of a wall for example. Before you start your run, you can check the environment first but taking down enemies will always result in a lot of trial and error. Also take note you can’t shoot the grey ‘neutral’ block or need to restart the level as well.
The third thing that can force you to restart is the flying apple. These are often catapulted during your run (you’ll hear a shot when it’s fired) and need to be taken down before they touch the ground. If you miss and the apple hits the ground, you’ll need to restart.
Last thing are the obstacles such as flying platforms and spikes. You need to jump precisely to get across those while shooting enemies or flying apples at the same time. It’s not hard to understand that the game offers a lot of challenges at once and you’ll need some practice to actually become good at the game.
Memorize your level
The only way to really become good is to memorize the level. You’ll need to learn the exact location of every enemy, every obstacle and every flying apple. If you do this and play the level time after time, you’ll finally reach that moment where everything falls in place. It’s the run where you hit all enemies, jump on a platform, turn around mid-air and manage to take down that last flying apple just in time. The feeling you get when this succeeds and you manage to reach the end of the level is glorious.
That’s what this Lovely Planet is all about really. It tests your skills to the max and introduces a lot of enemies and obstacles on ‘frustrating’ locations but you always know you can overcome all of those if you practice enough. The game isn’t as hard as let’s say Dark Souls but it does ask a lot of practice before you can feel euphoric. This feeling is why you should play Lovely Planet for sure!
Room for improvement
This doesn’t take away the fact that Lovely Planet still has some room for improvement. The audio section for example could definitely use some better sound effects. The sound of you ‘bullets’ and the enemies or neutral blocks that got shot down isn’t that impressive and feels rather low budget.
The environments look good but lack some variation. The game brings you to new locations but they never feel new or different from the others you’ve played before. The swamp area for example is just as similar to the first world as the other levels; the only new element in the swamp is the fog to make the game even harder. We would love to see some more variation and creativity in the levels if this game ever gets a sequel (it certainly deserves one to be honest).
|The good:||The bad:|
|+ Great atmosphere||– Sound effects|
|+ Intense gameplay||– Can be frustrating|
|+ Euphoric feeling when you reach the finish|
Lovely Planet is a strange little game but it’s a great debut for Quicktequila. It offers some crazy platforming in combination with a first person shooter that will really put your skills to the test. You’ll need to restart a lot in the game but the euphoric feeling of reaching the end of a level is very rewarding. It’s not a game everybody will enjoy but if you’re looking for a challenge, this might be the one you need.
Score: 3.5 out of 5