Reviewed on: PC
Also on: Mac, Linux
As I pulled open the colorful box in great anticipation, a long list of quesions about this game ran through my mind: “Is it like Katamari Damacy? Is it some sort of RPG? Is this a kids’ game?” I then began pulling items out of the packaging: Lonely Planet chopsticks, a block with an angry face, Indiebox stickers, a soundtrack and a cutely decorated thumb drive containing the game. At this point, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, so I popped the memory stick into my 7-year-old Macbook and booted up the game.
Three hours later, I found myself turning off the game and wondering if I’d ever master the speedy style, and wanting to listen to the soundtrack on repeat. Lovely Planet is a blocky and colorful world of “speed-run” tracks where the user needs to get to point a to Point B while eliminating all the enemies. There is no gore, not much violence (unless you consider a cube hitting another cube with a face “edgy”), and yet, it is absolutely enthralling. The way that the game drives you from level to level as you complete the challenges gives you no excuse to turn it off, and the music matches up to the colorful environments almost too perfectly. The fact that the game ran on my ancient Macbook Pro and was still something I can go back to and play at any given moment is a testament to the design prowess at Quicktequila. Should I walk past this game in a store, I would have immediately written it off as a weird “niche game” and paid it no more mind.
Lovely Planet, for all of its quirks, is bathed in solid shooter mechanics (at least for what it needs) and, again, is intensely fun to replay. Not only are you driven to get your completion times down, but there are secrets and items hidden around in the levels. While the game doesn’t have a formal navigation system (if I recall correctly, one of the levels actually encouraged me to go the wrong way), it isn’t too challenging to find your way through the worlds. While this game may not be for everyone, the casual and hardcore gaming community will find this endearing and incredibly breath taking.
The packaging through Indie Box is definitely worth mentioning. The $19.99 cost to get a fully packaged indie game that would generally be digital only is well worth the “investment” if you can call an amount that small an investment. The included contents, while bordering on being convention swag, are enough to make the total value worthwhile. I love the chopsticks, thumb drive and physical copy of the sound track, but could have gone without the beach ball. Having the box to put into my game collection definitely adds to the buy factor, as I’ll generally buy indie games online, play the hell out of them, and then they fall into the obscurity of my digital collection. Unless people are going through my Steam library on the reg to check my geek cred, not much else comes of them. I like the idea that smaller devs—who would normally be digital only—are getting the opportunity to distribute to the physical market.
I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you don’t play and enjoy Lovely Planet, and I’m also not going to infer that not checking out Indiebox is a mistake. I’m just going to say that both of the previously mentioned items can add a ray of sunshine into a life that is far too often filled with the grey grind of the office, alarmist news reporting and menial life events. If anything, Lovely Planet should be a game experience that rivals your wedding, graduation or little sister’s 13th birthday celebration where you pushed her friends into the pool.