In Lovely Planet, I think I might’ve died and gone to heaven – a six-year-old’s heaven, splattered in crazy colors and crayon monsters. Or was it hell?
That’s the gist of QUICKTEQUILA’s eccentric first-person-shooter, a rainbow of all shapes and sizes that live in one big, lovely planet. That is, until you the shoot the living bejeezus out of ’em. It might all seem a bit grim in any other context, but Lovely Planet does it with a smile on its face. This is basically all of your pre-school doodles that used to hang on your parent’s fridge come to life, but beneath the kindergarten spectrum, there’s more here than meets the eye.
You begin the game as a guy/gal with Muppet arms presumably stranded/invading a lovely alien planet full of living and only slightly off-putting cube…things. Your objective? Shoot them all with your endless stream of 8-bit bullets until you reach the end and do it all over again. And again. And again.
If the premise sounds simple, then the controls are simpler. Lovely Planet may be an FPS, but you won’t find any scopes or iron sights here. There’s no cover or camping allowed here, so my shootouts generally pushed me right into the heat of the action. Instead, my main method of attack firing away like a crazy person with the right trigger while controlling the camera with the left and right sticks.
My goal was short and sweet: destroy all enemies and reach the purple goal post at the end of each level. Sounds easy enough, right? For the most part, it was. The majority of the demo’s five levels act more like a tutorial than I’d assume the full game’s staggering 100 do, but once I got accustomed to the environment, I found each encounter to be a fast-paced affair. Lovely Planet‘s clearly a game meant to be speed-runned and beating your own times is its own amusement, as is anticipating when you friendly neighborhood block people might pop up and pop you one.
Though you may not be able to, enemies can and will snipe you whenever they darn well please. Once they see you, you’re probably already – well, “dead” isn’t quite the right word. Though Lovely Planet lacks a lives system, each “defeat” will place you squarely where you began at the level’s beginning. Despite being stationary, some enemies spew blocks which you’ll have to shoot before being hit yourself. It’s a surprisingly involved design and the resulting scene’s strangely reminiscent of a cheeky, kiddy Halo running and gunning indignant, angry block faces. I only hope they did something to deserve it.
Lovely Planet is a sometimes and at all times charming game purely as an aesthetic. This is a game cheeky enough to plaster its in-game instruction manual on a bright yellow wall, after all. I can find it easy to imagine the game of cat and mouse getting terribly old terribly fast in the span of its full version, but for the short time I was allowed, I’ll admit it: it’s oddly (and guiltily) engaging.
I may have not idea what rules govern Lovely Planet, but it strives to live up to its name in every way. An old-school FPS wrapped up in nursery room decor, this is a game worth the time and attention it definitely deserves. QUICKTEQUILA’s created something indelibly unique here something that’s nothing more than good, clean fun. Let Lovely Planet‘s close encounter of the cute kind entertain your eyes and only the block faces will be sorry.
Lovely Planet is out on Steam/GOG, PC, Mac, Linux, and available for free digital download on the Wii U eShop ’til June 22nd. Be sure to check out all things Nindie and more E3 coverage right here at BagoGames.