XB1 Review: Lovely Planet

It's, uh, lovely.

It’s, uh, lovely.

By: Quinn Potter

Lovely World is a quirky, fast-paced first-person shooter with clever animation and peppy music.

CONTROLS (3.5/5)

Controls are basic – super-basic – ok, almost too basic. There are only four options: jump, shoot, look ahead or retry. All the other buttons automatically default to shoot. There’s no option to re-map the controls.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4.5/5)

Graphics are clean, well-designed, and glitch-free. The geometric shapes, soothing pastels, abstract cloud backdrop and random Japanese exclamations will put you straight on a nostalgia-filled path to the early 1990s.

Although the graphics are well done, they are fairly limited. Giant birds, chopsticks, hearts, sparkles, stars, pink bowties, apples, fences, a floating multi-colored shade, boulders, stairs, spikes, and random garden elements provide the backdrop. There aren’t a lot of details or realistic renderings. This is an ode to a simpler era, much like other games that have given a nod to the highly pixelated 8-bit era of the 1980s.

The sound is peppy. There’s really no other word for the music. It’s bright, be-boppy, fun and infectious. A catchy synthesized beat with upbeat chords and an uplifting chorus strike the right tone for retro-arcade fun. Just a few minutes is all it takes for this little earworm to get stuck your head. Before you know it, the first notes will have you shouting, “It’s my jam” (because it’s just that kind of game).

The gun has a nice “puh, puh” sound when fired. Characters that die respond with a “huh” or “oof.” Other sound effects are fun and add to the overall cuteness factor of the game. Although the music changes as you go from the first to the second world, the graphics don’t vary.

GAMEPLAY (3.75/5)

Don’t let the nostalgia, cutesy graphics and peppy sounds fool you, however. This game is not for novices. Gameplay starts with a brief tutorial and then throws you into the action.

And what a wonderful game of action it is! Levels are super short but extremely difficult. This means you might zip through a 20-second level on instant repeat multiple times until you nail it — 20 minutes later.

The first few levels are fun and can be finished in just minutes. As you progress, levels get more difficult. Some levels have a lot of clarity. It’s easy to identify both your path and your objective (who to shoot). Others levels aren’t so clear, so you might make a few detours until you find the official path.

Square-shaped enemies will shoot at you. Upside-down triangles won’t shoot, but they will lurk around until you complete the level having taken them all out. When you die, you will instantaneously restart. It’s insane how fast you move back to the start. This can be really disorienting at first, but it’s also highly addictive and adds to the instant satisfaction of gaming.

As fun as it is, Lovely Planet can get repetitive. There’s no co-op mode – local or online. There are no boss battles. There’s no backstory or ongoing narrative.

OVERALL (3.75/5)

Lovely Planet does one thing very well.  It is a straightforward frantic race-to-the-end first-person shooter contained in a landscape of cute, surreal Japanese nostalgia.

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About Herija Green

Avid gamer, adventurous lover and all-around damned handsome man...
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