Planet of the Eyes is an indie game developed by Cococucumber which puts you in the shoes of a service robot whose ship has crash landed on a devastated alien planet. Guided by audio logs left by your missing creator, you’re left to explore the alien world and search for a way back home. A 2D puzzle adventure with a colourful environment, Planet of the Eyes ignites your curiosity and you’ll soon find yourself invested in unravelling the mysteries and solving the puzzles that are (mostly) your only companions on this strange planet.
Puzzles range from moving boxes and blocking electrical outbreaks to outwitting the hungry local wildlife using timing and strategic thinking. The game boasts a wide variety of environments with each of them requiring a different approach to clear them. However, twists on puzzles you’ve faced before under difference circumstances often reappear to ease the player in the more strenuous and tougher levels.
The driving force behind this charming little game is the powerful and mesmerising soundtrack, one which knits together melodic chimes and a repetitive shrill of desperation. A soundtrack which, like the game, leaves you feeling equal parts thrilled and uneasy. The art style is very touching, a hand drawn background paired with colourful environments which are so detailed that it’s almost impossible to tear your eyes off the pleasing scenery. Days to roll into nights smoothly as colour palettes transition from the welcoming hues of reds to dark midnight blues. The strong colour patterns also helps alert the player to potential threats. Enemies who are mostly large in size are easy to spot thanks to their bright colours, laser strikes are signalled by ominous red beams and fizzing electricity is highlighted with strong yellows accompanied by crackling sound effects. Whereas as in Limbo, with everything being a monochrome shade, danger was often harder to spot, leaving you to tread with more caution.
As a retro styled sci-fi adventure Planet of the Eyes is a visually stunning game. Just like its obvious inspiration Limbo, Planet of the Eyes shifts its style between moody and dark themes to those of hope and optimism though the completion of particularly tricky puzzles. Light and shadow play ominous roles throughout the hour-long story with beacons in the distance hinting at where to head to next and dark caves and tunnels signalling that danger lies ahead.
A little short in length, Planet of the Eyes feels as though it could give a more in-depth story with a longer running time. However, this game is still a memorable experience. Planet of the Eyes is very similar to Limbo and INSIDE and because of this lacks its own personality. During the beginning of the game we also feel the only reason to complete puzzles is to progress, rather than connect with the story and develop a relationship between player and robot.
Deaths are frequent in Planet of the Eyes but their importance to the game is to teach you how to properly navigate the harsh environments and puzzles on this alien world. Close re-spawn points and no loading screens means that you may fall many times on your journey through an unknown world, but death never feels unfair or without reason.
Planet of the Eyes is a fun little adventure. Although the game generally delivers it doesn’t entirely deliver the wow-factor either. However, a compelling soundtrack and intricate background full of subtle detail means Planet of the Eyes is an engaging experience, and who could resist a dancing robot?