I get a lot of weird games sent to me for review. For the most part their strangeness looks cool for a brief moment, only to then be thwarted by technical difficulties and boring gameplay. It's a good thing that QUICKTEQUILA's Lovely Planet isn't just trying to sell itself by its looks alone.
Taking place in a world that looks like a Cibo Matto fever dream Lovely Planet has you traverse from Point A to Point B as you take on shooting squares, hurtful globs, and the occasional deadly water balloons. As you run through the level you'll have to shoot your way to the end, making sure you don't hurt any innocent bystanders. Get shot, fall off the land, shoot the wrong cubes, or get hit by a water balloon, and you'll have to start the level over again. Fortunately, as each level is very short (and can be completed in roughly half a minute), having to start again is nothing to get too frustrated over.
As Lovely Planet is a planet of love your weapon is one that spouts hearts out of its barrel, taking the saying of "killing with kindness" to literal heights. Using your mouse it aim is fairly easy, but with its fast-paced nature getting that perfect shot can take some time. There's no time limit, mind you, but when the current world leader time is staring directly at you before the start of each level you can't help but try to beat it; and trust me: beating that time at your first go will lead to many mistakes and missed opportunities. Maneuvering through the land is fairly easy with the WASD keys, but you must be careful not to let your fingers do too much of the thinking.
The game's appearance is incredibly charming. On many occasions it brought to mind what the world of the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots must look like. (In fact I wouldn't be too surprised if the album's protagonist sported a gun quite like our unseen hero.) It's very simple-looking, yet its bright colors and characters will no doubt bring a big smile on your face. The same can be said about Calum Bowen's trippy soundtrack, which sounds like a mixture of Cornelius and Adventure Time melodies.
Despite its cutesy appearance Lovely Planet is a very challenging video game. I've met with failure dozens of times each level before I finally completed it, much less mastered it, and with a hundred levels to take on you'll be spending many hours tackling the cute landscapes this game has to offer. Believe me when I say that no matter how adorable things look here, it won't cushion your gamer rage when you are on your fiftieth try.
- A game that knows how to have fun with its genre
- Cute world, music is very catchy
- Smooth shooter mechanics
- Gets increasingly difficult in a heartbeat
- Easy to accidentally kill a good guy rather than a bad one
Lovely Planet is many things. It's weird, trippy, and nothing we've quite seen in the FPS genre. What it also is is a lot of fun, and something that those looking for a change of pace in the shooter realm should give a go. With its $6 price tag, too, it's quite the bargain for a beautifully sharp title.
FINAL GRADE: 7.8 (out of ten)
Steam key provided by Alex Nichiporchik of tinyBuild Games. Available July 31s via Steam.