Lovely Planet brings a lot of character to the table in a basic idea, but it works. This game features a conglomeration of shoot ‘em upLovely Planet brings a lot of character to the table in a basic idea, but it works. This game features a conglomeration of shoot ‘em up gameplay with time trials, and toned down Jumping Flash!-style jumping physics. It is addictive and extremely fast-paced; the character felt like it jumped off the screen when I moved around for the first time. The basic idea is to run through different courses featuring enemies and obstacles as fast as possible. It has a star-scoring system, in which you must complete the course to gain one star, defeat all enemies to get the next, and beat the course within a certain time limit to get the third. A great game overall!
Lovely Planet has a nice aesthetic to it, with a sort of pale pastel color palette that reminded me a lot of the Katamari Damacy art style. This was backed up by the enemies seemingly screaming at you in what appeared to be Japanese text. The game was also very unique in art style in the somewhat random things featured in the world. You were basically running through the levels on clouds with very slight Japanese influence, but there were also things like giant fish floating through the sky, and far off spaceships, that added just enough to entice the eye to look around.
I found myself figuring out the point of the game fairly quickly with no major set-backs. The game has very basic controls with the only options being to move, shoot, or target lock, which is nice for later in the game where more complex controls would be lost in the speed of things. I was delighted to find out the game, which was meant for speed, could also be played in a different style for the more casual player, with a slight exploration aspect to the game. I discovered several secret areas, as well as short-cuts, which allowed for multiple paths of discovery.
The levels progress in a Mario-style “World” system where each location, be it the “Village” or “Forest” features around 20+ levels a piece with increasing levels of difficulty.
As I moved forward, however, I found myself being forced into speed more and more. I didn’t find this to be an issue, but I found myself more and more frustrated by some courses, and the discovery from the early game was left behind for intense, quick twitch FPS gameplay. I will say that the levels never felt repetitive, but the memorization is key in late-game, and unless you remember every step you won’t pass the levels.
A major negative I found was an extremely trolly enemy placement at times, where it felt very unfair, and like the designer just wanted you to run through the course again. When I say trolly I want to clarify I don’t mean the designers placed enemies around a corner to immediately kill you; they did that, but what I am referring to as an issue of mine were the times I would get to the end of a level and find I had missed an enemy somewhere along the way, and would have to start over. After repeated attempts I could not find the enemy for the life of me, only to discover the enemy floating high up in the air at the very beginning of the course. I did not appreciate that, but luckily that only happened in a few courses.
I would say the game’s difficulty progression is fair, and progresses nicely, but it does get extremely brutal later in the game, and anyone who isn’t good at those twitch-based shooter games won’t be able to make the precise actions needed to progress past the second world. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this game, and found myself having to come back and play more even after the frustrating bits here and there. Give this game a go!