Planet Alpha is published by Team 17 and will be released on the 4th September.
You start Planet Alpha as an injured astronaut on an alien world that has found itself under attack from an army of robots and as there is no introduction, tutorial or dialogue, you can create your own story as you explore. The game starts slow, but this gives you time to take in the wonderful environments you find yourself in, the art style for this game is beautiful and you will find yourself pausing to take it all in.
The game plays out as a side-scroller and has you making your way through 10 chapters filled with puzzles and enemy robots, forcing you to make use of stealth mechanics and an ability to control the time of day. I managed a complete playthrough in about 6 hours, so it is not the longest game out there, but the length felt right.
The puzzles start out simple, but they soon become more difficult as you progress, and the game begins to bring together everything you have learnt. However, none of the levels felt too difficult that they became frustrating and after a few failed attempts you start to see what you need to do. Something I learned quickly was going forward isn’t always the right answer.
A key mechanic to the game is your ability to control the time of day, allowing you to bring up the sun or the moon, which in turn has an effect on your environment. Whether it’s plants that only appear in the sun and allow you to jump on them to get across a large gap or close up at night to allow you to hide behind them as you pass an enemy without being detected. I found myself forgetting about this throughout the game and remembering it after all other options had failed. There are no button reminders after they are shown to you once so it is down to you.
The biggest impact of this game though is most certainly the art style. As you progress through the story you are treated to a vast array of environments and colours that ensure each surrounding has its own identity. Add in the subtle background music changes and the sound effects of the wildlife and enemies and you soon forget that there is no dialogue throughout the whole game.
With no crafting, combat, dialogue or complicated menus, Planet Alpha is a relaxing playthrough. With drag, jump and change time being the only buttons you need in the game it makes it a very user-friendly game, similar to Abzu but with far fewer collectables.
I would recommend Planet Alpha for anyone looking for a bit of stress free gaming time and a break from a more demanding title. I would even go as far to say that the game would be great for younger gamers looking to play something new or get into console gaming.
For the trophy hunters out there, it is probably an easy set of 16 trophies with a guide, I collected eight in my playthrough with just luck. Plus, an easy chapter select option means going back to pick up any missing trophies should be easy enough once we know what you need to do.
There is no arguing Planet Alpha has a beautiful art style and plays well. I felt the game was just the right length for it not to feel too long or repetitive as the puzzles are pretty similar throughout the levels once you get further into the game. It is worth a playthrough, but I don’t think it has much replay value once completed it, apart from picking up some trophies through the chapter select.