Lovely Planet Arcade (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 06.02.2017

Review for Lovely Planet Arcade on PC

Lovely Planet Arcade is a lot of things. It's a challenging first-person shooter. It's a weird looking game that brings minimalism to a surreal level. It's an arcade style shooter that seems to meld puzzles into each stage effortlessly. The only real question remaining is: is it worth your time? The answer might be surprising, like a shotgun blast from a weird snowman enemy.

Remember how in most shooters there is a HUD, a clear-cut objective, and, depending on difficulty, a bullet sponge for an avatar? That's all surprisingly devoid in Lovely Planet Arcade. It's been replaced with zero on-screen assistance, a weird assortment of things that need shooting, and a health bar that is painfully realistic. Let's break it down.

The first thing anyone will notice about Lovely Planet Arcade is the absolutely adorable, albeit simple, graphics. This isn't a graphical juggernaut, folks; it's a simple world filled with simple shapes. Houses have no detail, just enough walls and a roof, so you know it's a house. Enemies take the form of snowmen, many of whom shoot simple shapes to keep you on your toes. Fire is probably the most noticeably minimalist thing in the game, as it takes the form of a ball of...well, red. It's just half a red ball on the ground. If it all sounds painfully boring, you're not seeing the forest for the horribly polygonal trees, here. There's something enticing about Lovely Planet Arcade just by looking at it.

The soundtrack, however, falls into the loud and imposing. From the minute the game loads, its presence is felt, as it rings a single drone note before breaking off into an incredibly upbeat tune that seems like a cross between chiptune and freeform jazz. It's a tough sell, honestly, and depending on the player's personal preferences, it may be better to play this one with the music turned down. When turned down, it is a nice background noise that accentuates the game's playful and almost childlike innocence, but at its standard volume, it's just grating.

Screenshot for Lovely Planet Arcade on PC

The gameplay is, despite no real introduction, incredibly simple to grasp. Run through each level, defeat the enemies as quickly as possible, and get as many stars for doing it quickly as you possibly can. It may not sound very interesting, but it's actually quite intense. Battling through levels is as simple as figuring out where the enemies are, but certain foes behave differently. For instance, many of the snowmen use shotguns, but others just seem to stand there. Acting quickly simply isn't enough, as each shot takes a second to reload. It's a lot of fun finally figuring out how to move through each level.

Some enemies take a bit of thought to get used to, as well, such as the bombs. Bombs are a prime example of one of Lovely Planet Arcade's biggest failings. In a game where the player is meant to learn from their mistakes, a lot of times you will die having no clue why. A bomb behind a building exploded and you didn't even know it was there. An unseen enemy pot shots you, and you're just dead. It's incredibly hard to learn your lesson when the game insists on making things so quick that you never realise they are there. Of course, this can all be remedied by studying the levels' layouts, but it's incredibly frustrating at first.

The puzzle-like structure of Lovely Planet Arcade is really its main selling point, because otherwise it would just feel like an unfinished FPS. The truth is, as rewarding as it can be to finally finish a level, a lot of the time everything just feels unfair. Unseen enemies being able to kill you, some without physically touching you, and the fact that often the game just leaves you in the dark, contribute to a feeling of helplessness. For fans of truly difficult FPS games, this is an absolute blast, but even then, it can be daunting being punished for something you didn't even know was going to happen.

Screenshot for Lovely Planet Arcade on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Was it what you guessed it would be? Fans of puzzle games and first-person shooters alike will probably find a lot to love in Lovely Planet Arcade, but much of the game is spent feeling stupid for something you wouldn't have known anyway. While the simple graphics are charming, and the music leaves a lot to be desired, Lovely Planet Arcade will either feel like a challenging mentor, or a schoolyard bully, depending on how you as a gamer play.

Developer

Quicktequila

Publisher

tinybuild

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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