Because the launch of Limbo in 2010, cinematic puzzle platformers have relied on capturing gamers’ consideration and imaginations with lovely artwork instructions and fascinating, typically enigmatic storytelling. As typically temporary experiences, instantaneous puzzles ought to hit laborious with intelligent, memorable obstacles and never meander via rehashing acquainted mechanics too typically. Planet of Lana virtually hits that candy spot in delivering a stunning presentation, however mountain climbing via this unusual world does not all the time encourage the identical awe.
Planet of Lana wastes little time throwing gamers into the fireplace. As younger Lana, your little village, together with a liked one, has been kidnapped by alien machines. It is as much as you to search out and free everybody, and also you’re joined by an lovely (and lovely) cat-like companion named Mui. Watching tender and darkish moments in between is a deal with as a result of all of it appears to be like so great. From painterly grassy plains to postcard-worthy seaside views, there are a number of snapshots value framing as artworks. The majestic soundtrack ranks excessive on my listing of better of the yr, with the primary theme, particularly, changing into a welcome earworm that additionally has intriguing narrative significance.
The sport provides an entertaining sufficient story, and it is laborious to not smile at Lana and Mui’s cute, if restricted, interactions. Probably the most thrilling world-building occurs alongside the sides, principally via easy-to-miss collectible fragments of an illuminating wall sculpture. Is it Earth or one other planet? What are the machines and the place do they arrive from? Planet of Lana leaves some imprecise solutions, however the plot helped propel me ahead though I am nonetheless drawing my very own conclusions from it.
Lana’s deliberate, momentum-based motion feels nice however generally causes complications, like watching her slide off an edge after touchdown a giant soar. Drawback fixing includes the generally tedious activity of transferring objects into their appropriate positions and doing issues within the appropriate order in order that each characters can get round obstacles. Mui’s superior agility means you may command them to drop climbing ropes for Lana, activate distant switches, or pull in enemies. I simply want Mui would not cease after performing actions so I haven’t got to always name them to my facet. Ultimately, Mui and Lana can hijack animal spirits or hack machines, respectively, to make them function platforms or weights for pressure-sensitive switches. These are cool talents that I want the sport would use extra typically.
These traversal puzzles have some intelligent concepts, however they do not scale a lot and hit the following gear. You push objects, climb ropes, and crouch in tall grass to keep away from patrolling equipment for a lot of the journey, albeit in reasonably extra elaborate methods. Some much less recurring workouts break this routine, like manipulating the water degree in lakes, however nothing I tackled actually impressed me, and I often groaned when the puzzles reverted to established order. I’ve solved a number of obstacles at first look, and others could be deceptively easy even within the deepest a part of the sport. ‘adrenaline. Acquired kicked into a splash via the desert as your mount sprints via an armada of colossal strolling machines.
Whereas I want the gameplay had extra chunk and selection, Planet of Lana remains to be an fulfilling and delightful journey. The artwork route and most important jingle are most likely the one issues I am going to keep on with in the long term, however Lana and Mui’s journey is a reliable rescue mission that does not all the time soar as excessive because the machines chasing them.