Mysteries are there to be solved and Lifeless Planet has one heck of one to solve. The game begins by throwing you onto an unknown planet, without your crew or much oxygen supply to last you on your journey. As you venture forth you start to realise you’re not alone and thus begins the quest to find out what’s going on, as there are signs of life and something strange going on.

Developed by Stage 2 Studios, you plant your feet in the moon-boots of a committed astronaut, who has given up his life back home on Earth to visit this planet and find out what it has to offer. You might have read a news article recently about sending some people on an expedition to Mars, well think of Lifeless Planet like that. You find out instantly that the planet doesn’t have enough oxygen to sustain life, although there is one contradiction – the fact that deadly vine plants grow in the ground.

Lifeless Planet tree.
Don’t trust the tree.

As a platformer, you’re mostly asked to avoid threats such as these plants that strangle you and the barren terrain which has a lot of dangerous gaps to jump over using your jump pack. Sadly the game is pretty linear, so there’s not much of a challenge, for example oxygen only runs out when you’re near to the next oxygen tank and you’ll find the jetpack boost, which allows you to jump further when you reach an area of large gaps to traverse. Everything is almost too convenient and it’s scripted in to be played that way.

I did find the whole experience quite enjoyable though, even though the storyline was a little bit confusing at times. Sometimes I had no idea what was going on, but thankfully as you progress things are explained more clearly. The controls are also great for the game, as you use A to jump and then tap it to use the jetpack, which helps to get over gaps in front of you. Some parts of the game were a little bit too open and as you’re free to explore the map, you can sometimes get out of it to areas you’re not supposed to. I guess it offers a bit of freedom, but I also found it was a useful way to skip past areas accidently.

Sadly, once you’ve played through the game once, there’s probably not much you’ll want to play again, as the game only really has achievements like not dying once and completing the game is 4 hours as reasons to go back and play again.

Lifeless Planet gas.
Watch out for space gas!

The graphics aren’t going to push the boundaries and the game does have an almost moon-like feel to it with its colour and texture, not to mention the variety in terrain. It’s a shame they didn’t add more mysteries to the map, other than audio logs and mineral samples to the game, as that would have been a great reason to go exploring further. There is quite a lot of potential to space games, as not much is none about other planets, so Stage 2 Studios could have created any sort of planet they wanted. It was nice to see some lava and ice appear in there though, so there are different climates too.

Building upon that, sadly the voice-acting isn’t much better. There’s not much emotion and the protagonist just feels a little flat in terms of performance. I couldn’t tell what emotion he was feeling – sad, lost, confused, who knows. The soundtrack is a little bit too weak too, but one thing I do have a lot of praise for is the jump pack sound – it felt very satisfying. The little things aye!

I can’t criticise Lifeless Planet too much though, as it does what it serves to do. The storyline does offer a mystery and I was intrigued right up until the end as to what that was. The price you pay for the game will put a lot of gamers off, especially as there’s an achievement to finish the game in four hours, so clearly there’s not much to do in terms of gameplay and as previously mentioned, replayability is very limited unless you’re an achievement hunter.

Pros

  • Has some charm
  • The jetpack sound is unusually satisfying
  • The storyline kept me interested right to the end

Cons

  • Not very long for the price you pay
  • Not much replayability
  • You can cut parts out by using the terrain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.