Audio Log #2: “It’s been two days since we crashed landed on this planet and I don’t know how much time we all have to left. Most of the crew died upon landing and the ones left are getting fewer and fewer. Dr. Kangley went out to study the planet and never came back, I hate to do it, but I fear for the worse. I only hope that you can find these and not someone else. You might be our only hope, Robot. We need you to survive and I just want to go home *Audio cuts out*”.
Planet of the Eyes is a 2D puzzle platformer developed and published by the fine folks at Cococucumber. It tells the story of a nameless service robot as it traverses a mysterious planet looking for his shipwrecked crew. Upon landing on the surface, you discover the crew is missing and the space shuttle is in a state of total destruction. You discover an audio log of one of the crew members that explains that he is making an expedition to find other crew members or call for help. You decide to follow his instructions and start the same journey as the mysterious man on the audio tape. This takes you on an epic voyage throughout the planet, encountering brain-teasing puzzles and bizarre aliens with only one goal in mind, to impede you.
The gameplay mechanics of Planet of the Eyes are simplistic, but require a bit of brainstorming at the same time. I see this title as a light-hearted platformer that can be challenging at first, but with a bit of trial and error, you can get through most of the puzzles with ease. Most of the platforming sections are rather straightforward and at no point was I required to make any stupid pixel-perfect jumps. The platforming was extremely enjoyable and varied in such a way to not get boring, whether I was jumping over a simple hole or riding down a railroad car through a pit of lava. One of my favorite platforming sections put you on a long platform going down a waterfall of molten lava. It required you to look ahead at the obstacles to see which way you needed to position yourself on the platform to prevent it from tipping over. Similar to other platformers, the main goal of the game is to just survive and travel environment to environment, solving the occasional puzzle. I did notice that the puzzles were jam-packed at the end of the game, while there were a very sparse in the beginning and middle.
The visual aesthetics and soundtrack are hands down the best part of this title. The beautifully handcrafted terrains had an amazing color contrast that was composed of various pinks, purples, and other colors that are just not seen much in gaming today. They provided a spooky vibe of being isolated on a strange planet where something could be out to get you around every corner. This vibe was amplified during the rare occasion that you would run into another lifeform. These creepy looking aliens were so grotesque that they could send chills down your spine, but the color scheme made them look so amazing. Going along with the visuals, the soundtrack and dialogue are stellar. They pair together so well and they make the game such an immersive experience. I usually don’t feel immersed in side-scrolling titles as the angle gives a “through the looking-glass” kind of feeling. The ambient music intensified the spooky vibe previously mentioned and the overall dialogue was fantastic. I found myself standing still just to listen to the grizzled voice of the man on the other end of the audio logs and that’s what I would recommend. Don’t just carry on with the platforming or the latest puzzle you got to because you could miss something out of this amazing story of a man’s survival throughout a planet he doesn’t know what to do in.
Lately, it seems like I have been on a platforming kick. I have previously reviewed INK and a have a review for another platformer in the works. I really enjoy platformers, but with some, the difficulty curve can get extremely high and thus they become a turn-off and I move on to the endless backlog of games that I have. However, Planet of the Eyes is not one of those titles. The light-hearted nature of this game makes it super enjoyable and adds a bit of difficulty here and there without making any of the puzzles or platforming sections unbearably difficult. I find this a great aspect as this seems to be a nice introductory platformer to new games or a younger audience. The colorful graphics mixed with the lower difficulty make it a great game for kids, while the parents can enjoy the story and marvel in the beauty presented throughout. The only issue I found with this title is its length, this game is incredibly short and I mean incredibly. I was able to beat the game in around an hour and that was with me taking my time listening to the story and admiring the scenery. You could even ignore the story, which I would not recommend, and you might beat the game even quicker. However, the game being short doesn’t take away from the overall experience, it told the story that it wanted to tell, and I was extremely pleased with the story throughout. That doesn’t mean it didn’t keep me wanting more at the end though.
In the end, Planet of the Eyes was an amazing puzzle platformer that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good story and some fun. It is priced at $10 USD, which you might think is a bit much for an hour or two of gameplay, but I don’t believe it to be the case. Do yourself a favor and pick this game up, you won’t regret it.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9.5/10
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