Looking back at my Steam library and my playing history, I must say I've played quite a lot of games over the past 9 months. (And suffering in school work as a result, but that's another story.) There are a lot of great games that I've played that were released just this year. It's hard to pick exactly one.
But if there was a sub-category for "Best FPS I've played that was released in 2014", it would be this one, hands-down. Why? Well...
Lovely Planet. It's as its namesake suggests. An incredibly cutesy, Japanese world with Japanese-styled characters. Everything pretty much looks like it came from some weird utopian anime with lovely planets and lovely worlds. But beneath that cute and cheery appearance lies a game that has far more depth than you would have thought it had.
For starters, despite its Japanese themes and Japanese-styled soundtrack, it was actually coded by a guy based in India. Vidhvat Madan - remember the name. I certainly would be. In terms of his games
, Lovely Planet is the most polished one that he's come up with yet. And the soundtrack...not by a Japanese, but by UK-based Calum Bowen. Incredibly catchy, and still miles better than the turd that passes for radio pop nowadays.
You're armed with a gun that shoots purple cubes of DEATH
love, and you use it to kill
love all the red enemies
friends that you see around the map. They need your love. But don't shoot the gray ones, they already have enough, and any more than that will cause them to die from too much love. There are also a few types of fiendish traps strewn across the levels - for starters, apple bombs that trigger once you reach a certain point, you have to shoot them before they touch the ground, or else you go BOOM*! Other traps include a proximity trap which, when set off, renders a certain area unsafe after a few seconds - going into that area, uh, vapourises* you.
The first few levels start off easy, but after a while, you're involved in increasingly trickier scenarios. Take this one level for instance. I walk past an apple bomb, jump off onto a jump pad, and before I land on the jump pad the apple bomb I just walked past triggers and is launched into the air, along with ANOTHER apple bomb further along the way. You somehow have to turn around, shoot that bomb that you passed, then quickly turn back around and shoot the next bomb. All while you're probably in the air or trying to land on that jump pad. That was possibly the first level I really struggled with.
Lovely Planet's an incredibly punishing game. You have no crosshair (it feels really weird, mind you) and you have to judge your shots right. Most of the level solutions are learnt by rote - fail, fail and fail again, all while discovering how to pass some parts of the stage each time, and then perfecting the method for that one exhilaratingly perfect run. Good challenges, too - there's a speed challenge for beating a certain time, and an accuracy challenge where none of your shots go to waste.
The game also takes cues from games like Super Meat Boy - respawns are near-instantaneous so you don't have to wait too long to try again. Because you'll be trying again and again a lot of times.
I've been notoriously bad at FPS games, so I don't forsee myself being able to complete this one, unfortunately. But even if I didn't, I'd be damned if I claimed I didn't have fun with it.
Oh, and before I end off: I like reading PC Gamer Reviews because their writers have a masterful command of English. For the most part, I agree with them. However, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I disagree with this particular one
. The presentation, contrary to what they say, is NOT MEDIOCRE. In fact, it's perfectly appropriate for this game. Not every FPS must look like CoD or Crysis.
I will concede though that they at least gave one of the better scores. Other critics don't appear to like it as much, and that's a real shame, because this is such a...wait for it...lovely
gem. Okay, okay, I'm sorry, I'll stop now.
When to buy: If you're into FPS games, you'll probably enjoy this, it might be worth full price to you then. If you're into FPS games with a large modicum of seriousness...put that all aside and get this. Don't be serious for a change.
If you're not either of the two, it's been bundled at least once so try trading for a key.
*For dramatic effect only. The game isn't really that scary. Far from it, actually.