There’s nothing simple about making video games, which is why when a game comes along which goes out of its way to create an experience based on a few simple principles which really works, it’s worth sitting up and taking note, and Planet of Lana is that game.
The story plays out in just over three hours, with a few new abilities unlocked along the way, and a constant is the beautiful soundtrack. The score is almost hypnotic, with its calming influence bringing the expansive world to life as a peaceful utopia, punctuated by creeping strings as the threat of danger from the robots on the hunt for Lana, which will not hesitate to take her out on the spot.
Planet of Lana is a beautiful journey which transports you to a peaceful, and tense, other world which is fun and satisfying to explore...
Controlling the character lacks precision in parts, making pulling of complex manoeuvres challenging, though if you feel like you have to do something particularly intricate, you’re probably overthinking it. It’s when you know what to do, but the intentional lag between button press and action catches you out, that the frustration starts to build.
Fortunately, there weren’t any moments where we felt really stuck on a puzzle, thanks to a forgivable but challenging difficulty level, and solving them was consistently satisfying.
Outwitting the enemies requires both patience, persistence and, crucially, the ability to not fly into a blind panic, choose chaos and try to run past everything. More often than not, there’s really only one way to get past a situation, which means that, besides a few collectable shrines, there’s not a lot of replayability here.
There is a great one-and-done, charming experience here, which – while more common in the indie space – is still hard to come by and definitely endearing. Lana’s determination and optimism comes through with just a few words, as does the emotion of how important her connections to other characters are to her.
Planet of Lana is a beautiful journey which transports you to a peaceful, and tense, other world which is fun and satisfying to explore. While it could have been too one-note, the diversity in the locations and the gradual development in the game experience pulls you through.
The gaps between gameplay sections do occasionally feel as though they are padding for time, but, largely, the mechanics, including the dream sequences which flash you back to the beginning of the game, all come together to create a cohesive and satisfying experience.
Developers Wishfully have done a great job in making this game feel polished and complete, delivering a thoughtful, well-executed platforming experience that is well worth the time.