It has been a while since I’ve performed a recreation that has tied itself to my coronary heart so successfully, however Planet of Lana did simply that. The journey from developer Wishfully swept me up in a journey that is engrossing, shifting, and completely memorable. Spending time within the intriguing world setting stuffed with mysterious creatures and machines is a stunning pleasure thanks in no small half to its lovely hand-painted artwork type, and the accompanying emotive musical rating from The Final Guardian composer, Takeshi Furukawa.
The altering environments and number of puzzle situations all through work collectively to maintain me invested, and I repeatedly really feel like I am introduced with one thing new. Whereas it’s harking back to the puzzle-platforming present in Playdead’s Inside and Limbo, Planet of Lana firmly stands out because of its companion-focused mechanics, which make for extra distinctive challenges. Protagonist Lana groups up with an lovely cat-like creature referred to as Mui, and since they each have totally different strengths and weaknesses, the pair make for a practical duo who stability one another out properly.
What strikes me most about Planet of Lana is simply how successfully it makes you care about its characters, and what’s taking place to them from second to second. Although they solely talk via choose verbal cues in a fictional language, a lot feeling is conveyed via their tone and the music. The bond that is shaped between Lana and Mui is one you may consider in, and the attachment I really feel to the each of them is what turns this expertise into one thing really particular.
It did not take lengthy for me to get invested in Lana’s journey, with Wishfully working to shortly draw me into the journey and set up my motivation. Planet of Lana opens throughout a mild second between the protagonist and her sister on the outskirts of a peaceable village they name house. However the presence of mysterious machines taking pictures down from the sky out of the blue cuts via the quiet, and Lana’s sister is quickly captured.
Because the music begins to swell to evoke a way of urgency, I race my again via the village I playfully ventured throughout simply moments earlier than. The distinction between calm and chaos is sharp: The joyful sounds of the as soon as tranquil village are actually changed by screams and the clang of machines as persons are taken away. Now alone, along with her sister and her village gone, Lana has to got down to discover her sibling and save her house. Already, I really feel for Lana, who has misplaced a lot so shortly, however there’s just a little gentle to come back because of her encounter with Mui, who joins you in your journey shortly after.
Since you may‘t struggle the machines immediately, there are occasions the place I needed to make the most of stealth to bypass hazard – utilizing patches of grass or an overhanging ledge to cover. Every of the machines, that are considerably harking back to bugs, transfer in several methods, which lends a point of problem to those situations. Whereas some are airborne and use a highlight to look, others scuttle throughout the bottom like a spider in particular patterns or instructions.
Even whenever you encounter the identical kind of machine down the road, they will not at all times use the identical sample or route of motion, which creates totally different puzzle-like challenges for every encounter. On a number of events, efficiently making it previous enemies hinges on each my timing, and my capacity to work out a route that avoids detection. One other layer to the problem comes from serving to each Lana and Mui get to security, since they will every solely transfer to or attain sure locations due to their very own strengths and weaknesses. There’s an ever-present pressure to every of those encounters, for the reason that machines will not hesitate in zapping you if Lana or Mui are noticed.
It isn’t simply machines the pair need to take care of. The planet is house to some darkish, somewhat unsettling creatures with a scarier edge who will assault on sight, however once more, there are alternative ways to get round them and a few artistic options to find. Considered one of Planet of Lana’s largest strengths is the best way it makes use of Lana and Mui’s talents. Whereas the companion mechanics are efficient in the best way they have you ever clear up puzzles, in addition they actually impress upon you simply how a lot they assist one another, and extra crucially, want one another to make it via.
Because of Mui’s agility and small stature, the little cat pal can attain increased ledges or get via tight gaps, they usually even have a novel energy that enables them to regulate a number of the uncommon creatures that you simply encounter. As Lana, you are in a position to direct Mui to totally different areas and command them to work together with switches, which works properly for probably the most half. On sure events, I discover it barely finicky to get the cursor to land on the spot I am aiming for, however typically for those who‘re standing in a great place in relation to the place you need Mui to go, the button immediate will routinely seem above it.
There are additionally sure components that solely Lana can use, and since Mui is afraid of water, it is as much as you to assist them make it throughout safely. Because the journey progresses, I fall in love with the bond they share. It is clear that they care about each other‘s properly being and the help they offer one another is not simply within the sensible sense. In any case, nobody desires to face difficulties alone, and there are many quieter moments of affection between the 2 that tug on the heartstrings (and as an added bonus, you may pet Mui at any time).
Interspersed between the puzzles are cinematic sequences which ask you to finish easy quick-time occasions or navigate via a location. Every one feels prefer it flows naturally into the journey to progress the story, and a few even provide a second away from the risks of machines and creatures that allowed me to mirror on every thing Lana and Mui had been via up to now. Wishfully’s lush world shortly swept me up, and there is an undercurrent of thriller to the planet that I discover myself eager to carry to the floor. Fortunately, there are clues and collectible shrines to search out that paint a wider image of the world, for those who‘re solely keen to look.
For me, Planet of Lana is all about connection. The connection between sisters that drives Lana ahead; the connection between the protagonist and her loyal companion who retains her going; and in a broader sense, the connection between people, machines, and nature. However maybe crucial connection is the one Wishfully successfully creates between me because the participant and the characters. With a improbable number of puzzle situations and loads of memorable moments, Planet of Lana is a stupendous, affecting journey I will not quickly overlook.