Review: Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition (PS4)

lifeless-planet-review-banner-yr10

Title: Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition
Format: PlayStation Network Download (947.8 MB)
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Serenity Forge LLC
Developer: Stage 2 Studios
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €TBD (EU), £TBD (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition is also available on Xbox One, PC, and Mac.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I only knew of this game very recently when the trailer came out showing off the PlayStation 4 version. It looked intriguing and so I grabbed the review copy and began my adventure on the Lifeless Planet.

Gameplay:
After a short introductory cutscene you awake from a concussion, alone and running low on oxygen. The world you had set off for turns out to be very different to what you were expecting. After the long sleep during the light years it took to get there, it doesn’t seem worth it.

You notice a blinking light in the distance and set off across the barren landscape in the hope of some precious reactive gas that the living couldn’t be without. Maybe it was my subconscious and the need to explore that nudged me off course ever so slightly. It cost me dearly as my oxygen ran out.

After the second attempt, I made it and got an eight-hour supply, my excitement weakened ever so slightly as I the realization sank in that I would have to stick to a time constraint. I ventured into an arid canyon with some monotonous platforming using a spurt from the jetpack to get a boost, or double-jump for the true gamers among us.

lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-20 lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-01

There was not much else to do or see during the long linear journey. Plenty of jumping and a few puzzles, none that stretched the imagination. I did find a few small rocks that served no purpose and took one on my adventure. To fend off the boredom I named the rock and may or may not have succumbed to conversing with it.

During my travels, I found many things that unravelled the mysterious goings on that led to the planet becoming without life. That should really be, largely without life as there are one or two things still inhabiting the dull world.

I will not spoil anything here and all that I write can be seen in the trailer and artwork for the game. It turns out, you and the rest of the team are not the first to set foot on the planet and you will slowly uncover how and why there is no one left to tell the tale.

… nothing really going on here …
After traversing several areas my oxygen began to run low again and sure enough, there was another supply just within reach. I wanted to see how far I could explore before the next tank emptied and so veered off the path. Only to find there was barely anything to discover and nothing of interest and my tank never ran out.

It was lie, what a fool I had been. I felt like the 90’s Douglas Quaid. It turns out the supply only runs out when you get to certain points. Just like the extended jet pack, you can use that for as long as you want, within a certain area.

Apart from acting like a dung beetle pushing large things about and lots of jumping, there is nothing really going on here. There are no diary entries to write, no songs to listen to, and definitely no potatoes to grow. Just impossibly large things to move.

Avoiding the occasional pathetic flora and its feeble attempt to hurt you is laughably easy. Saying that, neither my spaceman nor Mr. Rocky Wilson III actually found anything to crack a smile at. Then something bad happened.

lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-19 lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-07

Apparently, the game doesn’t like you carrying things for too long and too far from their home. At one point, I turned the spaceman to see Rocky and our conversation was cut short. The spaceman was holding out his hands as if Rocky was there, but he was nowhere to be seen. I frantically searched, and felt lost without him, as if I were alone in an ocean of despair.

In my panic, I noticed something in the background. It was Rocky, floating in the distance. I moved the spaceman and Rocky moved too, as if still cradled in the arms of the suit. Rocky was slowly being pulled away. Now, I know that oddity was my own doing but it was not the only thing to go wrong.

… I ached for some awe-inspiring moments …
Visuals:
I fell through the scenery on several occasions, objects and my spaceman became stuck on the edges of textures. I ran into enough invisible walls to make Marcel Marceau proud and felt a gameplay mechanic you learn sometime into the game to be overly clumsy and awkward.

There is no detail, everything is bland and dull, and as the name suggests, lifeless. No effort has been made to push the PlayStation 4. I ached for some awe-inspiring moments, some jaw dropping vistas, but just got a washed out bore.

lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-10 lifeless-planet-premier-edition-ps4-scr-16

Audio:
The speech and music are good, probably the best part game. In addition, the sound effects are okay too, nothing great. I suppose that due to the repetitive locations and interactions with them, there is not much to hear anyway, apart from the footsteps on rock and gravel.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

… I had to find other ways to alleviate the boredom …
Conclusion:
Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition could have been so good but the mildly interesting story is spread so thin over such a dull landscape that I had to find other ways to alleviate the boredom. I managed to complete the game in the hope that the story was worth the long journey. Sadly, it was not.

It felt like a longer trek than poor Mark Watney had to contend with and I did not think it would ever end. It almost feels like a placeholder and the game will be added at a later date.

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook
  • George Nash

    I remember playing the game at PAX a few years ago. It seemed really interesting with the wide empty planet. I can see if the planet stays empty that this would be really boring. Its a shame from the screen shots the game looks like it would be really great for someone that loved space themed games.

    • ChazzH69

      I was looking forward to it and was sorely disappointed.

  • Joshua Simpkins

    I’m so glad I didn’t pull the trigger on this game. It looked promising enough, but I kinda had a feeling it was going to suck… Looks like my feeling was correct.