Lifeless Planet - Review
Lifeless Planet - Review
The game begins with an amazing intro, but once the gameplay starts it soon becomes apparent that isn't an adventure game, it's actually a platformer. Nonetheless, it's professionally made with huge and varying environments.
Posted: 04/21/15 | Category: Review | Developer: Stage 2 Studios | Publisher: Lace Games, Kiss ltd | Platform: Windows, Mac

Genre: Platformer 
Release date: June 6, 2014

As our telescopes got better and better we discovered more and more exo-planets. Eventually we found the right one. From a distance it looked like the perfect candidate for supporting life. We sent out robotic probes and years later they told us the amazing truth – not only could the planet support life, but it was already a lush jungle with a breathable atmosphere.

This seemed too good to be true. We had to confirm it. So NASA found three volunteers with little or no family ties willing to take a one way trip to this distant planet, to explore it and to make it their new home. You are one of those volunteers.

Several years later you wake up from your cryogenic sleep, but something isn't right. You're in a space suit outside of the capsule which appears to have crash-landed. The land around you is a barren desert with no sign of life and your instruments tell you that the air is not breathable. The other two members of your crew are nowhere to be seen. Great. Could things get any worse? Oh, your suit has a leak and you only have ten minutes of oxygen left.

So, with literally nothing better to do with your life, you start following the footprints of your crew as they go off into the distance. Thankfully, they lead right to one of the oxygen pods the paranoid minds at  NASA scattered around the area, just in case.

With your life expectancy now extended to a whole ten hours, you continue following the foot prints until they lead you to an abandoned Russian village. No, not Russian. Soviet! WTF? The Ruskies were here back in the 1980s or earlier? What happened to them and what happened to the environment? Fortunately, this was a scientific enclave and the occasionally found journal entry slowly starts to piece the story together.

Then she shows up. The only sign of life on this planet. A strange woman who leaves green foot prints. She isn't wearing much, certainly not a space suit, and appears to be able to breath the native air just fine. And she speaks Russian.

She runs off into the wasteland and you follow. What else is there to do? She appears to be leading you somewhere, and even helping you at times, but to what purpose?

This is how Lifeless Planet begins. It's a very good start for an adventure game – lots to explore and a good storyline. But that's it. It soon becomes apparent that most of the game involves trotting great distances while avoiding traps or jumping from pillar-to-pillar à la Coyote Roadrunner. This isn't an adventure game, it's actually a platformer. So that is how I will judge it.

The first thing you'll notice is that this is not your standard 2D Super Mario Brothers. It's a fully rendered 3D environment running the Unreal Engine. You can moon trot or jump anywhere. Sometimes there is a definite path to follow, other times you can freely roam a large area. Either way, you will do a lot of running.

While there is the occasional locked door or machine to revive, most of the puzzles consist of figuring out how to exit your current environment. And, of course, how not to get killed. You won't need much logical thinking. The game is brute force exploration with steady hand-eye coordination.

On the plus side, the world is huge with varying environments. If you knew everything that needed to be done, it would still take you two hours to complete the game. Actually playing it and having to find the solutions might take you up to ten hours. Not a bad value for the price.

On the down side, there is no save game capability. It uses the standard save point system of most console games. This means that you are committed to ten to twenty minutes of play before you can exit. Otherwise you will have to repeat your efforts when you come back.

Also, the story is a little thin. You eventually find out what happened, but are left thinking, “That's nice, but what do I do now?” It just wasn't inspiring.

The bottom line is “Was it fun to play?”

If you're the average gamer who enjoys World of Warcraft, then yes. You'll get several hours of enjoyment from this professionally-made game.

If you're like me, an adventure gamer who wants an inspiring intellectual challenge, then no. Frankly, I got bored about two-thirds of the way through and just looked up a walkthrough on YouTube. I enjoyed watching that as much, if not more than, actually playing it.

But I said I would be fair and judge it as a platformer.

Grade: B
Huge, beautifully rendered world
Intriguing story line
Not intellectually challenging
Requires hand-eye coordination
System Requirements
OS: Windows XP or later
Processor: Core 2 Duo or AMD equivalent 
Memory: 1.5 GB RAM
Grapics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 or ATI equivalent
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
Sound Card: DX9.0c compatible
OS: 10.7 (Lion) or newer 
Processor: Core 2 Duo or Better (2Ghz or faster)
Memory: 1.5 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA/ATI Dedicated Graphics (Integrated Intel Graphics not supported)
Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
Specials from Digital Download
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