Lifeless Planet review

Lifeless Planet was developed and published by Stage 2 Studios. It was released on May 13th, 2015 for Xbox One and has been released on multiple platforms at various dates. 

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Lifeless Planet follows the journey of an unnamed astronaut with some emotional baggage who is sent to Mars to explore the planet in hopes of discovering life and water on the red planet. In essence Lifeless Planet is a platform and a puzzle game with some elements of an adventure title. Lifeless Planet’s sound, story, and sense of optimism make for a solid albeit flawed game.

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What I enjoyed:

Story of a lifeless planet – Lifeless Planet starts with a landing that goes horribly wrong. You find yourself low on oxygen and completely alone with none of your crew members. You only have a beacon which presumably holds the astronaut’s much-needed oxygen. There are no apparent lifeforms or water around. As soon as the astronaut lands and examines the Martian landscape, isolation, anger and intrigue ensue. It’s story is intriguing and extremely well crafted. 

Mars looks good – Lifeless Planet has some of the best graphics of any indie game released on the Xbox One. Mars is absolutely breathtaking as every aspect of the planet including sand, rocks, the environment, are both aesthetically pleasing and add to the game in terms of the atmosphere. With that being said there were a few issues that I have with Lifeless Planet. On certain rare instances the frame rate dropped. Drops would be a few seconds at a time at random times during the game but this issue was certainly not welcomed and will hopefully be changed.

Ear candy – Lifeless Planet’s sound is particularly excellent. Between crisp and concise voice acting and a solid soundtrack Lifeless Planet fails to disappoint in the sound category. It’s a real treat to play a game with superb sound, and Lifeless Planet certainly has that.

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What I disliked:

Lifeless Play – In terms of game play Lifeless Planet is somewhat monotonous. Playing as the aforementioned astronaut you find yourself with only your space suit and a jet pack to work with which brings me to the first problem that I have with the game. All that seems to be done in Lifeless Planet is running. The games puzzles while sporadic in appearing often provide a complement to the continuous running but often end up being frustrating more than anything. That is because of the fact that most of the games puzzles are associated with your jet pack (which provides the basis for most of the game play) that can be used to easily undershoot or overshoot jumps. Jet pack use is certainly exacerbated by a certain lack of gravity on the planet. In the end Lifeless Planet’s game play is pretty solid but suffers from a lack of diversity in terms of its puzzles and quite of a bit of running.

Lifeless Planet is a fun game though not without flaws. Its story and sound are great and its graphics are good. Lifeless Planet suffers from some pretty poor game play that consists of mostly walking. It was a valiant effort by a one-man studio but I wouldn’t consider paying full price for it. The replay value is limited and because of several graphical and game play issues I can say hold off for a price drop on this title.

Score: Wait for a sale

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