Planet of Lana is such a wonderful game. I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release from the moment I first saw its reveal at the Xbox Showcase back in 2021, and it has absolutely delivered on all of the expectations I had of it. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not oozing with originality as far as the gameplay is concerned, but it’s hard to complain when it manages to deliver in every other facet of its design.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I think I need to get this out of my system immediately: Planet of Lana is SUCH a beautiful game. It was the first thing that caught my attention when the game was revealed, but it’s also the thing that kept me in awe when playing, with the luscious landscapes and striking vistas constantly keeping my jaw dropped. It’s brimming with colour and atmosphere, whether that’s when seeing the wind blowing through the trees, a hulking creature approach your boat, or when seeing strange robots shoot down to the land from the skies, and it easily stood out as one of the best-looking games that I’ve played. It’s all complemented by a wonderful soundtrack that fits the vibe of the experience perfectly.
Of course, there’s more to a game than just pretty looks, so I’m happy to report that Planet of Lana delivers across the board. The game tells the tale of Lana, a young girl whose life is shook up when strange robotic creatures crash down from the sky and start capturing the inhabitants of her seaside village, including her older sister Elo. Desperate to find her, Lana has to traverse across hazardous terrain whilst evading the invading threat, though she’s not alone on this trip, with a strange cat-like creature named Mui helping her along the way. With Lana and Mui working together, nothing will get in their way… right?
It’s a lovely little narrative that blends together mystery, tension, and beauty in equal measure, with players kept guessing as to what exactly is going on in the world. There’s no dialogue or narration to guide things along, with the player instead left to interpret events and put their own spin on the adventure. There’s a whole lot more going on than it might initially seem and players with a keen eye may catch more little story details than others, but ultimately there’s plenty to immerse yourself in with the heartfelt tale. It’s perfectly paced, and whilst the ending does have some ambiguity, it’s hard not to feel satisfied by the conclusion.
“It’s brimming with colour and atmosphere, whether that’s when seeing the wind blowing through the trees, a hulking creature approach your boat, or when seeing strange robots shoot down to the land from the skies, and it easily stood out as one of the best-looking games that I’ve played.”
The puzzle-platforming gameplay is equally rewarding, with players having to work through a myriad of different challenges throughout their adventure. Whilst there’s plenty of running, jumping, and hiding (you’ll spend a lot of time stealthily sneaking through high grass), there’s also an emphasis placed on outsmarting the robots that are stalking you and using Mui’s unique abilities to overcome obstacles in your path. Mui can be guided along with a quick button-press, with players able to use the little creature to distract enemies, hypnotise creatures in their path, or even throw down ropes to help reach inaccessible areas.
There’s a good amount of variety to be found in the game’s puzzle design, whilst plenty of new mechanics are introduced as you progress to keep things interesting. They’re all pretty fun to solve, and whilst most are small in scale, there are a few puzzles that ramp things up and give you large areas to cover as you figure things out. A personal favourite of mine saw me having to lead Mui through a bunch of dangerous fans by hijacking one of the patrolling robots, though there are plenty that will demand some rewardingly creative thinking to solve. I’d be lying if I said the game was particularly challenging, though there will be one or two puzzles that might leave you scratching your head for some time.
The only real issue I had with the puzzling and platforming was that Planet of Lana rarely did anything unique. Sure, there’s plenty of variety to be found and it’s all executed efficiently, but it never really did anything that I hadn’t seen before in similar releases. It’s not a big problem since the game feels really fun to play anyway, but it would have been nice if it had a few little tricks up its sleeve to help make it feel a little bit more distinct.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s hard to complain too much though, especially since the adventure itself is so damn mesmerising. It even has plenty of little secrets to uncover, with optional shrines to be found across the world that reveal more small details about the game’s narrative. Some of these are easy to find, some of them require more clever thinking, but it’s always cool to come across them. I only found five on my first playthrough (which took just over four hours), but I’m looking forward to finding the rest the next time around.
Planet of Lana Review
Planet of Lana is simply mesmerising, with the stunning world and engrossing puzzling ensuring it truly shines as a puzzle-platforming spectacle. Sure, it might not be the most original experience when it comes to the gameplay and it’s rarely challenging, but the variety and creativity it showcases ensures it still feels captivating to play – just don’t expect to see too many ideas that you wouldn’t have seen before.
It didn’t stop Planet of Lana from being a wonderful experience though, and it’ll always stands out to me as one of the most beautiful games that I’ve ever played.
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One