Those of you who are quite familiar with my reviews will know all to well my thoughts on 2/.5d platformers/sidescrollers. They are my kryptonite, my weakness in gaming, I find it hard to get stuck into one for a good amount of time, hence the reason for the lateness to this review for Planet Alpha.
The first thing I’ll say about the game is how stunning it is. Planet Alpha is a looker, I love the colours and how the world has been designed, each section always complimented the colours in use and made it so pleasing on the eye.
But can a game get through solely on looks? The game kicks you off with a crash landing on an alien planet, you playing an explorer have to get to safety and the opening has you crawling to a cave where you eventually collapse. The game then has you traversing through the world solving puzzles, and one thing that I did like within the game is its use of the day/night cycle, watching the scenery around you change was brilliant, however I did think that this system wasn’t utilised fully as there were times within the game when you’re in caves etc that it couldn’t be used. Which kind of led to one of the biggest annoyances that the game has.
The biggest annoyance of this game was simply that there was no driven narrative to help you, with the lack of tool tips and HUD you can be forgiven if there are a fair few times where you’re finding yourself a little lost and devoid of ideas.
That seems to be Planet Alpha all over unfortunately, the game seems to get very repetitive at times with stealth and sneaking becoming a chore. However, when it comes to fighting some of the local folk that are in the game, using stealth can sometimes be the only option, and using long grass is a particular favourite to use when it comes to hiding. I can hear you now, ‘But Jon, why can’t you just fight your way past these things?’ – Well, that’s an easy question to answer, you don’t have a weapon or any way to attack these beasts, so playing it cool and going stealth is pretty much the only option you have… Unless you want to die a sometimes horrible stomped on death…
I have to admit that the game does tend to put looks over content and while it is a very good-looking game and one of the best platformers I’ve had the privilege of playing, there isn’t really anything new when it comes to the side scrolling platform genre. Saying that though, would I recommend it? If you’re a fan of platformers, then I have no doubt you will love this game, if you’re on the fence and like me platformers aren’t your thing, then I would either stay away or wait for it to be put on sale.