Lovely Planet is a twee little game for your Mac (or Linux/Windows box) that distills the essentials of the first-person shooter genre down to the basics: shoot, jump, run.
You’ll do this, over and over, across five distinct worlds and hundreds of levels armed with nothing more than your adorable little bow and arrow and a sense of adventure.
Be warned, though — you’re going to die repeatedly, especially at first, because while the visuals and soundtrack are kawaii as heck, the levels are designed as diabolical tests of your gaming sanity. But please, don’t throw your Macbook across the room when you have to re-start a level for the hundredth time. Maybe take a break.
It’s not all distilled run, jump, shoot, though those are the main assets of the game experience.
There’s definitely an influence of bullet-hell shooters, where you need to avoid the bullets being (in this case) spit at you by the baddies, all of whom look like angry shapes. The music and visuals call to mind the adorable Japanese-style hit Katamari Damacy. There’s some platforming, as well, though the platforms all seem to disappear soon after you land on them, hence the cursing.
When you’re hit by an enemy bullet, fall off a ledge, or sizzle to death on one of the red rocks, you’ll start back at the beginning of the level. After I reached my own frustration tolerance around level three, I handed off the Macbook to my daughter, who whizzed her way through several more crazy-hard levels before giving up herself.
While this may sound a bit much, the levels are designed for repeated runs, with a ton of trial and error. I’m sure there will be hordes of YouTube videos showing talented 11-year-olds earning three-star ratings with record speed run times.
While the visual style and brutal difficulty may not be for everyone, this game has a certain something that will truly encourage you to continue well past your frustration level. Each death feels fair, if annoyingly stupid, and there’s a specific joy to be had in mastering a particularly tricky level.
Lovely Planet was developed by Vidhvat Madan from @quicktequila, produced by Luke Burtis and Alex Nichiporchik from @tinyBuild and scored by @CalumBowen. It’s available via Steam right now for Mac, Linux, and PC, for a measly $5.09 (it’s on a 15 percent sale from the original $5.99). You can buy so many less worthwhile things than this game for five bucks — why not give it a shot?