Lovely Planet review

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Lovely Planet from QuickTequila and TinyBuild Games can best be described as a twitch shooter, but to limit it to such is to do it an injustice.  With a somewhat minimalistic story, it falls on the other components with which to endear itself to you.

The overall premise is decidedly simple. Make it to the end of the level, eliminating enemies and navigating platforms while avoiding all damage as a single shot will put you back to the beginning on the stage.  Although this sounds simple, it most certainly is anything but.  The key mechanics are exceedingly straightforward, simple and precise with only a jump and a shoot button at your disposal.

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Each level follows a linear path to completion, with increasingly difficult enemies and obstacles introduced periodically to prevent stagnation, frustration or boredom. These begin as simple foes who stand in place to shoot at you, upgrading to those with tracking projectiles you must destroy to survive to what can only be described as apples, that reset you once they complete their trajectory and touch the ground or nodes that create an area of damage after a short countdown that you must sprint through to survive. Alongside this, you have civilians who, should they be shot accidentally by yourself or by the enemy, will also cause you to fail the level.

All of these varying hurdles are triggered sequentially ensuring you traverse the level in the fastest speed possible ensuring a hectic, sometimes frustrating , sprint from the start to the finish pole.

To this end, each level has a preview mode, which allows you to view all of the enemies you must face and enables you to plan your path and course of attack.

There are a lot of similarities that can be drawn between Lovely Planet and the Katamari series, each having a very simplistic yet inherently Japanese stylisation to them, and it suits Lovely Planet perfectly. The simplistic pastel coloured world is accompanied perfectly by the cheerful, upbeat music that accompanies each stage, thus ensuring that each of the five worlds and 20 plus stages for each, have a different feel to them despite the elementary graphics utilised.

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With the pacing of the game being extremely fast and the controls exceedingly precise, it is not easy to spot the flaws, yet they are there, albeit minor. Your own and enemy bullets sometimes clip through each other, and when the game permits no mistakes, this injustice can cause some frustrations, especially when it repeatedly occurs within the same difficult stage.

Thankfully, this does not occur very often and my frustration never reached the point where it felt overwhelming.

There are some games that defy simply categorisation that, when examined, fall under a multitude of genres. This is always a fine line to tread, as “Jack of all Trade” games tend to lose some of their impact by spreading themselves to thin. Lovely Planet, while suffering from some of these problems manages to hold the line, striking a balance between Twitch shooter and puzzle platformer with few missteps and remains a joyful, unique, frustrating yet eminently enjoyable game that can easily satisfy the most hardcore of twitch shooter fans while remaining accessible to more casual players.

 

Thanks to Xbox and TinyBuild Games for supporting TiX

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Gamer and technophile. Destroyer of the scourge that are motorbikes. Gaming since I could hold a Competition Pro and trying to instill a gaming mentality on the next generation through my son. Frequent imbiber of ales and curser of shooters.