Lifeless Planet Review: A Lecture in Story Telling


The Beauty of Independence

(or: How I got old and why AAA titles suck)

Disclaimer: this “how I got old” statement has nothing to do with the game developer, David Board (the obviously young and handsome guy on this picture here); this title is my own personal cry for sense and a question that I kept asking myself while playing Lifeless Planet:

Where was this gem the past two years? How did I overlook Lifeless Planet for some bul$#it titles instead?

I may have missed it because of all the AAA game hype that keep dominating the market, and because of the companies pushing products that have never even brushed against any creative talent. I know they may not care about my [email protected]#king opinion while there are millions of 10yo kids that will purchase a copy, play through the game once, and completely forget about it in two weeks tops. The profit is there, and that’s what they’re after.  It’s painfully obvious to me that 90% of the major companies are afraid of getting involved with anything that might be considered creative or even a moderately bold venture – at least until someone else does it first, makes big $, then they’ll all rush to produce copies.  My point?  Indy titles don’t get enough love, and are often (very often) better than the triple AAA titles, and you shouldn’t overlook them just because they’re not on the front page of, say, PC Gamer.

When I was looking around for other reviews of Lifeless Planet, I noticed a bunch of the aforementioned kids rating this game as an “average play” and comments like “the mechanics could use some work.” My initial response was: “You spoiled, privileged brat! I played SEGA effin Genesis for a freaking decade.”  That’s when it finally hit me: “Dude, you got old.” And that’s that bridge I and those of my generation cannot cross with the modern generation, and the reason why they will never understand how games are a special form of art to us older gamers. I mean, I still own a Gameboy. Not even a Gameboy Advance but that old school, 4 AA batteries Gameboy, and I actually played Double Dragon on the toilet this morning. Still working like a charm. The Gameboy I mean.

It’s not your fault kids. It’s me who was looking in all the wrong places, constantly skimming through the pre-modified online searches that kept pushing the BS games I wasted time and money on.

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David Board, Stage2Studios. image source: powerupgaming.co.uk

David Board is the sole creative mind behind the Lifeless Planet. Indie developer by night, David is one of the partners and the interactive designers of the Stage 2 Studios, a successful video production and interactive design company.

Part of the profit from the Lifeless Planet sales is going to the support of science education through the Stage 2 Fund.

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So, what's the story?

The most frequent question, coming from the experienced reviewers and “critics” that I kept stumbling upon while researching this game was “do we have to read the story?” No, you don’t have to. I’m guessing that the idea of having a single man surviving on a deserted, distant planet isn’t that much of a interesting concept to you and you should totally pass on that little detail, and simply run around in circles before you decide to bitch about how long this game is and post unhelpful comments about it. It is an astronaut, using his bare hands (and one additional robot hand, plus a neat jet pack of course) exploring a completely new world. You are seriously not interested? Or do you just have to watch Matt Damon doing the exact same thing in order to get wet? I mean, interested.

It sounds like I’m defending Lifeless Planet from all the negative hype but that’s not my intention. I’m dead serious when I say that this game should serve as an example to all the major companies that just invest in graphics and neglect their scripts entirely. This game is an interactive story, with a profound story-line and inventive concept to say at least. The moment I read the summary of LP, I thought Twilight Zone. It turns out that this series was the inspiration for the game, and that might explain why I love it so much!

I am not going to give out any spoilers. A mysterious girl helps our protagonist to survive on this seemingly inhabitable planet, and he ends up following her in order to find out… well, everything. You’ll simply have to play the game yourself if you want to find out more. And we are going to hook you up with some free copies of the game so look out for that #RaidersLoot. 

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What about them graphics?

Yes, if visuals are your ‘thing’, they might be a little bit disappointing to you. Certainly if you are accustomed to Mass Effect, Call of Duty and other titles of that “quality” then of course, playing a third person-adventure-platform in this sort of setting can be a little bit underwhelming. For me, the absence of action and the style of design, plus the addition of a great soundtrack by Rich Douglas, adds up to an astonishing, cinematic experience. A detective game that lures you in and keeps feeding you with amazing revelations and twists – that sort of stuff really brings the gameplay beyond any criticism of the graphics.

Lifeless Planet is made with the help of Unity and Blender, and isn’t such a demanding game. If you were wondering whether you can run this title or not, you can. The XBox One version provides a much better visual experience if you want the best graphics possible for this title.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned at Fists of Heaven: we are currently in the process of bringing you an official interview from David, and from his Stage 2 crew (sounds like a rap group). Personally, I would love to find out that we can expect more titles like this one is from them.  If you like adventure games, storyline, and mysteries, definitely grab Lifeless Planet!

In the meantime, enjoy in some of the official screenshots from the game.

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George is an avid blogger, a fiction writer in his own spare time, a content marketer during the day and a manager of the FoH website. A book nut, a movie nut and everything space nut, who loves to talk about himself in third person. He's awesome.

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