I’ll make a reservation right away that games can be of any genre and category. Both indie and Firebolt 5esingles, but no online projects. I like single holistic games with a complete story. Live Gold games will also count as part of Game Pass Ultimate. I know that it is customary to dislike selections from gold, but in fact, from time to time, good projects slip through there. Moreover, today’s subject of discussion is from the July selection of Live Gold.
This is a side-scrolling platformer developed by the independent studio Planet Alpha ApS. Initially, one person was involved in the project, but his ambitions were too great and at some point he formed a small team around him. The game was even recognized as the best indie project at the Unreal Dev Grant and was awarded funds that allowed hiring people for further development. What got me hooked on this game?
I really like unusual platformers. Limbo and Inside are classic examples. There, the story is told through the environment. No text or storyteller. Health indicators and any other interface elements are missing on the screen. You see the situation and what is happening and just draw your conclusions intuitively. Planet Alpha is one of those games. Nobody explains to you what kind of astronaut you are, where you came from and what you are doing on this unknown planet, so without further ado, we immediately set off to find out. Literally from the first seconds, it is possible to assess the main reason to try this game. Visual!
How coolly the aesthetics of the sensation of an unknown world with its flora and fauna is conveyed here. There is no intelligent life here. Reminds of the land in the era of the dinosaurs. This is an insanely colorful world. He will delight your eye throughout the game with alternating views and will not get bored until the very end. A bunch of animals, plants, landscapes.
The action takes place on the ground, then under it, then we suddenly rush into the clouds and run along some kind of flying rocks. Visual finds something to surprise you at every level. There are diplodocus-like (Eldritch Blast 5e) creatures with flattened heads that slightly resemble a diamond. Huge underground worms that are trying to eat you. Majestic flying whales constantly fly past and look trying to hurt you. Fresh flowers iridescent with all the colors of the rainbow and, depending on the time of day, hiding under the ground or reaching for the sun. Pink trees, blue bushes and much more. Seriously. The variety of landscapes and their beauty are simply amazing.
At the same time, the world sounds very lively. Everywhere someone howls or croaks, birds cry, the hero pleasantly stomps on the grass. Crickets cricket at night. The setting makes you believe in this world. More than once during the game, I stopped just to look around and listen to the nature around. He gazed into an endless valley with huge “diplodocus” or tried to examine plants and bizarre spores on the walls of another cave.
I read that the creator was inspired by the game Another World, but I haven’t played it so I can’t comment on it in any way. It all reminded me quite strongly of the Avatar movie, which is now just heard.
About the plot
Almost immediately, we witness a brutal alien invasion. Hundreds of ships fall on this beautiful world from which robots get out and begin to destroy all living things around.
These robots are made in retro fiction style. Round, metal with flashing lights on their heads. Slow and clumsy, but shooting deadly lasers.
This is how they were represented in the 50-60s. There are also those similar to the trinods from the movie “Shadow Blade 5e“, but in my opinion they were only at the beginning of the game.
Throughout the game, we will encounter these robots and escape from them in different ways. While they are taking over the planet, our astronaut runs through this chaos and periodically stumbles upon some ancient buildings and launches incomprehensible mechanisms in them.
I assume that these are the remnants of some old civilization that used to live on this planet. By the way, during our adventure, we constantly come across the corpses of other astronauts, which tells us that he did not come here alone, but apparently the last one remained. These robots also have a leader. It is made in the same style, but very large and round. Has two long claws and laser one-shot. He will chase us throughout the game and try to kill us, naturally every time staying with his nose.
We have the platform part here without too many surprises. If you do not jump to the ledge, then there is a stone nearby that you need to drag. If you see a fragile floor, then you need to jump on it or throw something off. There are many action moments in the style of ancharted where everything explodes or is shot at you and you run jumping over everything that you see in your path or roll down the slope pressing the jump and flying over the abyss in time.
There are levels that you get to with the help of special teleports. I didn’t quite understand what this place is. Surely also some kind of heritage of civilizations that lived here earlier. You need to jump on black blocks that constantly change position. The gravity is low here, so we jump much higher and further. The second part of the gameplay is stealth. We are hiding from robots and local animals, which also do not always turn out to be friendly towards us, but the main danger is still the invaders. Someone flies and scans the space, someone reacts to sound and movement. Most often, you need to drag the stone so that no one will notice. There is also one unique opportunity. The main character knows how to change day to night and back.
At first it looks more like just a cool feature, but closer to the middle the game forces us to use this mechanic more and more often. For example, in order to jump over the abyss, it must be daytime, since at night the flowers on which you need to jump are hiding like in F95Zone.
The character feels normal. He’s quite fast and very jumpy, but because the controls are a little sticky you can’t accurately calculate the jump distance and miss. In general, you have to die often, but it does not infuriate. Check points are well placed and load quickly. To be honest, the gameplay is rehearsal and just shuffled throughout the game. Thanks to the visuals, I personally was not bored, although I perfectly understand those who get tired of the game closer to the end, but I will say that every time you move the next stone, do not lose heart! Remember that very soon there will definitely be a spectacular chase or some kind of action. There are also a lot of them here.
Plays ambient here. He adjusts to different situations. If we look at the beauty in the background and admire the outlandish animals, then the music will accentuate and sound with a stretching and enchanting motive. As soon as we experience the next attack, we will immediately hear disturbing notes. Nothing special, but as for me, music copes with its function completely.
I am finishing
The game is not very long. I completed it in 5 hours. Considering the repetitive gameplay, it could have been shorter, of course, but thanks to the visuals, I was involved until the very end. Great game for a couple of nights. I hope someone will check it out and share their impressions of the passage in the comments. Will be back soon with a second issue. Pis everyone!