Lifeless Planet is a game that didn’t even hit my radar until it unexpectedly showed up in the “Coming Soon” section of the Xbox Live Marketplace. Ever since I saw the game images I’ve been anxiously been awaiting it’s release. This game was funded with help from Kickstarter, so I’m sure the people that contributed to the project were far more anxious than me. The funding allowed them to take what was on the PC already and make it much better for the Xbox One version.
Going into the game I didn’t have any expectations as to whether it would be good or bad, I just knew it looked interesting. When the game first reached it’s title screen I had this feeling that it was going to be epic. Within about 30 minutes of playing the game, I admit that I felt it didn’t live up to what I expected it to be. The story starts off very slow and the story is almost driven exclusively via text in some sort of module that keeps a log. There wasn’t much to be excited about when things first started, until things picked up…
Without revealing or spoiling any key elements of the story, lets just say that things started to become interesting and the game had my complete and utter attention. My friend, who sat and played through with me, agreed that the game started off slow and he had second thoughts about whether he would like it. It truly was well, lifeless…and the game felt like it lacked substance also.
Another initial complaint was the lack of a HUD on the screen for oxygen and jetpack levels, which seemed to be a problem since the game would occasionally prompt you that you would need oxygen. What I realized later was that it was just a prop, something to fill a temporary gap in getting from point A to point B. When they didn’t want you to have a better reach with the jetpack they would say that you were out of fuel. I had points in the game where I had seemingly played for over an hour without needing to resupply my oxygen. And I think I understand why they didn’t put a HUD on the screen, it would have detracted from the environments, which can be stunning at times.
The graphics were pretty good for a small studio game. Understand that if you get into this there aren’t going to be epic cut scenes that suck you in like watching a movie. The text-driven narrative of this game is the real prize here. I’ve actually seen people say that they found the story to be a profound experience. I’m not going to go that far, but it was an exceptional story and as time went along the puzzle pieces finally fit together. Towards the end of the game both me and my friend were both fully vested in what was going to happen next.
The replayability for this title is on the low side, with limited collectibles to get as most of them drive the story forward. Achievement hunters will possibly be able to complete this game in one playthrough, but in all likelihood it would take at least 2 playthroughs to obtain all of the achievements. Some of them are easy, a few of them are not. One of the achievements is to play through the entire game without dying – that’s gonna be pretty challenging even for someone (like me) who thinks they are great with the jetpack. Also an achievement for a 4 hour playthrough might be difficult to obtain also.
You should definitely give this game a chance. Some gamers might find the $20 price point too high, well for the first week Xbox Live Gold members get it for $16, now is a great time to try it out. No matter what, I’m here to tell you that it was a great game from a small, indy developer that could definitely use the support. I’m crossing my fingers that this game will be successful so that I can see what else they have in store for the future!