Title: Planet of the Eyes
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Reviewed On: PC (Steam)
Release Date: August 24, 2015
A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of review.
The Steam marketplace is saturated with indie platformers, This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever glanced at the store in the last five years. This is not necessarily a bad thing — after all the platformer genre has been popular since the days of the NES. However, this doesn’t just mean that we as consumers must wade through the swamp of titles before we can find the gold buried underneath. We must appraise these gems to an immense degree to know if they’re worth investing our time and money into. The bar has been set high, and the developers must reach it.
Planet of the Eyes throws you straight into the action: no backstory or introduction, just “Oh hey I’m a robot that’s cool, now go!” The first thing you’ll notice is that the artwork is fantastic, from the very get-go the game presents itself quite evidently as filled with creativity and imagination. The details in the sets, creatures, and plant life are well-crafted and admirable, and there is a sense that Eyes is polished to perfection.
The gameplay is what you’d expect from a platformer: controls are simplistic and standard plus there’s a hidden input I won’t spoil. The physics are top-notch (ignoring the floating rocks of course). Your character moves as a robot should, with the appropriate amount of weight with his walking and jumping, and you’ll have to take this into account as you plan your leaps.
The game mechanics are introduced with a quick showcase of how they work before requiring the player to use them in the puzzles. When it comes down to the game design, you can tell that the developers have taken notes from other platformers to see what works and what doesn’t: there’s a few surprises up the sleeve of the game and they seem to come about to stop the gameplay feeling repetitive, which is a good move on their part. However, I will say that the challenge was quickly lacking — few puzzles required multiple tries, but even then I didn’t get the feeling that I achieved much. The areas that were slightly difficult were more of a hassle than puzzling.
Despite a lack of challenge there was a lot of fun to be had here. I wouldn’t label the puzzles as innovative though it’s clear that some clever planning had gone into them. I could appreciate the ingenuity combined with the artwork which makes for a relaxing and entertaining experience.
However the story does leave much to be desired: everything is told from audio logs, and while that can work great in a platformer; it doesn’t here. There was little to get me invested, and it seemed more like a means to provide basic character motivation. I can’t say I wasn’t curious to see how the story was going to end, but you can could tell it was leading up to a twist or some reveal that just doesn’t pay off at all.Both story and the challenges are the elements that makes a platformer worth remembering, and I can honestly say that Planet of the Eyes is a forgettable title which is a huge shame because it could have been so much more. There’s nothing technically bad with Planet of the Eyes, it just feels empty.
There is a lot of charm in this game, and I’d like to see more from Cococucumber in the future. However, at £7/$10 it seems a little steep for a game that lasts 2-3 hours at the most with little replay value. If the price doesn’t bother you, and you’re a platformer fan, I would recommend this title.
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