Planet of Lana review: indie charmer makes for a good Zelda break | Digital Trends

    “Planet of Lana makes up for some repetitive 2D puzzling with a gorgeous art style and a good-natured tone.”


    Intuitive gameplay

    Short and candy

    Gorgeous visuals

    Good-hearted tone


    Repetitive puzzles

    Slow tempo

    Sparse story

    If you like video video games, there’s a good probability that you just’re fairly deep into The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom by now. The newly launched open-world sport is an engrossing journey, however it may be a demanding one too. It requires each a good quantity of creativity and a heck of quite a lot of time (it’ll possible take you 60 hours minimal to see the tip credit). If you’re searching for a fast and breezy journey to interrupt up that tour, Planet of Lana could be precisely what you want proper now.
    A debut title for Swedish developer Wishfully Studios, Planet of Lana is a 2D puzzle platformer that performs like a extra mild model of Limbo. After a quaint village is attacked by a military of mysterious robots, a younger lady units out on a quest to save lots of her associates with the assistance of an lovely (and fairly spherical) black cat. It’s each a minimalistic story informed with out phrases and a cinematic sci-fi epic crammed with astonishing hand-painted vistas.
    Though a glacial tempo and repetitive puzzle design can go away it feeling brief on concepts, Planet of Lana is a meditative journey value embarking on. It’s a lighthearted story about defending the pure world that takes the correct notes from Studio Ghibli’s playbook.
    Familiar puzzle platforming
    Planet of Lana is a reasonably intuitive 2D journey that has gamers fixing environmental puzzles, dragging objects to create platforms, and avoiding enemies that’ll take down its small hero in a single hit. Nothing is especially groundbreaking right here, because it intently follows within the footsteps of video games like Little Nightmares, however that acquainted template works for a platformer that’s extra about soaking within the ambiance than creating challenges. I hardly ever ever discovered myself caught on a puzzle resolution for greater than a minute, which let me transfer via the sport’s world and benefit from the sights.
    The story temporary is sufficient to maintain it from overstaying its welcome.

    The solely twist it brings to that method is its cat companion gameplay, the place gamers direct their feline pal to leap as much as excessive surfaces, minimize down ropes, and mind-control black sludge creatures (as cats do). It’s a cute premise that works with the story’s wider theme about people working in live performance with nature, however Planet of Lana doesn’t discover some ways to twist that system. A number of inventive late-game puzzles had me commanding my cat to take a seat on a drone and pilot it via obstacles, however the bulk of its puzzles are constructed round box-pushing, rope-cutting, and stealth timing. Three hours in, it felt like I used to be repeating the identical concepts again and again, with minimal variation.
    That repetition is compounded by sluggish motion mechanics that drag out the tempo. The younger hero trots alongside at a leisurely tempo and scrambles up ledges in an extended animation cycle, each of which create frustrations provided that a great deal of the puzzles listed here are reflex-driven. Most of my deaths got here from getting zapped by a robotic mid-scramble.

    Despite these ache factors, Planet of Lana embraces its limits. Clocking in at round 4 hours, the story is temporary sufficient to maintain it from overstaying its welcome. That makes for a nice, bite-sized journey that lets gamers tune into its vibe.
    Saving the planet
    More so than its gameplay, Planet of Lana’s strengths lie in its ambiance. As a part of its long-term mission assertion, Wishfully Studios says it needs to be identified for its “stunning artwork” and it’s clear that this sport was designed with that mission in thoughts. The journey options attractive, hand-painted visuals that deliver its grassy planet to life. Awe-inspiring vistas gave me lots to marvel at, whereas detailed environments give spectacular depth to 2D environments. And but, it nonetheless maintains a delicate, virtually minimalist type that at all times leaves me feeling at peace with the world.

    There are moments the place it feels just like the studio is maybe a bit of too self-aware of its personal ambitions. Several sequences have me slowly trudging throughout massive landscapes between puzzles in a means that feels a contact self-indulgent. It’s laborious in charge the studio for wanting to point out off, although, as each cell of animation seems like a watercolor portray.
    Those aesthetic sensibilities aren’t only for present, although; Planet of Lana’s stakes depend on its elegant visuals. The narrative right here is left sparse, with environmental storytelling doing the majority of the heavy lifting within the obscure robotic invasion premise. The correct plot beats don’t construct an excessive amount of, however they don’t must. The narrative hinges on gamers understanding the pure fantastic thing about the planet and desirous to do every part of their energy to take care of that. It’s a battle in opposition to disruptive know-how that threatens to displace the individuals and animals who depend on the Earth.
    A hopeful little journey that at all times has its coronary heart in the correct place.

    Like its acquainted gameplay premise, that story is well-trodden territory. Planet of Lana doesn’t deliver a lot new to the desk thematically, nevertheless it doesn’t actually need to. Instead, its focus is on capturing a sense — and that’s one thing it nails. Like the Studio Ghibli movies that look to have impressed its artwork and tone, it finds peace inside an apocalyptic premise. Its focus is on immersing gamers in a calming world that’s value saving reasonably than wallowing in dystopian cynicism. It makes for a hopeful little journey that at all times has its coronary heart in the correct place.
    So if you happen to want a fast break from the countless depths of Hyrule, contemplate saving one other lovely world from an impending catastrophe. And ensure you cease to pet the cat when you’re there.
    Planet of Lana was reviewed on an Xbox Series X hooked as much as a TCL 6-Series R635.

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