Like George Dawes, this may look cute but it’s a brute!
Once in a while you see a game and think to yourself WTF. Lovely Planet, developed by QuickTequila and published by tinyBuild Games, is one of those games. It is a back-to-basics first person shooter that could quite easily be the lovechild of the Hohokum and Katamari games. The aim of this FPS is simple: Make it to the end of each of the 100 stages without dying.
Many people might overlook Lovely Planet thinking that it is some sort of cute kid-friendly shooter and this is where it gets you. Hiding behind this cutesy facade is a FPS game that is so brutally difficult, it doesn’t even let you have crosshairs to help you aim! It is also addictive, tough as nails and a speedrunner delight to boot. You’ll need lightning reflexes and a twitchy trigger finger to stand half a chance of getting past the first world. Oh and if you plan on completing this game it’s worth remembering a few rules. Rule One – Don’t shoot civilians. Rule Two – Make sure you kill all the enemies before you finish the stage. Rule Three – Don’t let the enemies’ bullets hit you. Rule Four – Don’t stay on blue floating platforms for too long. Rule Five – Don’t let the apples hit the floor, EVER! If any of these afore-mentioned rules are broken you’ll be restarting the stage. If you make it the end of a stage you can chose to continue onto the next or stay on the same stage and try to obtain three stars. You earn these stars for beating the stage, beating the target time and finally achieving 100% hit accuracy.
The key to making your way through Lovely Planet and grabbing the three stars is to learn by your failures. As each stage is fairly short and can be completed in under twenty seconds, the layout of the enemies and apples is static so you can easily memorise the stage until you perfect it. If you find yourself way off the target time it is worth looking for a shortcut. An example of this is stage 1-14; I spent ages failing to beat the target time until I tried shooting the first enemy from a distance then jumping over a nearby fence instead of following what seemed like the logical path of the level. This shaved off valuable seconds and the target star was mine. It is shortcuts like this that will make you dip into the stages time and time again to try and beat your best times.
Chances are you might not get many of the trophies when you play as some are rewarded for finding all the secret areas (which are well hidden) and finding all the gun colours (which are extremely well hidden). The saving grace is that the trophies for getting all the stars on each stage of all five worlds don’t have to be obtained in a single run. So you don’t have to race though the stage to get the target time while making sure you hit the enemies with 100% accuracy (it would be practically impossible for most players anyways).
Lovely Planet is proof that First Person Shooters don’t need elaborate futuristic weapons or Hollywood style plots. Don’t be fooled by the trailers you may have watched or screenshots you may have seen, Lovely Planet is brutal. It may look like the sweetest eye candy you will have ever seen but when you cry because you can’t finish a stage as fast as you need to get that target time star your tears will be made of sugar cubes, and when you finally beat that time you’ll be on one hell of a sugar high. It is a simple, well-made, damn cute and addictive game that you need on your PS4.
NelMaNo Rating 8.5/10