Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Gunplay of Lovely Planet

With boots of speed on your feet, an infinite supply of bullets for your semi-automatic and the ability to jump over twice your own height, you're well equipped to go up against any enemy on your quest. The gameplay, should you choose to play a particular style, doesn't involve camping at cover spots and waiting for enemies to pop out. You'll find yourself trying to balance between jumping around dodging bullets and taking aim for a better shot at your enemies. Bullets made relatively slower can be dodged, enemies paint the world leaving patterns around the player, patterns which the game tries to change a little bit at a time by slowly introducing new enemy types. Moving, shooting and jumping at the right moment are all equally important actions to completing a level similar to games like Contra. Defeat enemies and avoid the onslaught of bullets to get to the next stage - perhaps it's a kind of play not suited for a 3D First Person Shooter game, but Lovely Planet hopes to translate the old formula into a version of its own anyway. It learns from more recent titles like N, Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami - stages remain short and getting hit or falling off the edge of the map instantly resets the game. Jumps and enemies are strategically placed requiring the player to find and execute a set sequence of steps to get to the exit where every minor slip up results in failure.


In short Lovely Planet isn't trying for anything more than just the most simple game of jumping and shooting, there aren't any power ups or elements of character progression of that sort, the player is expected to get familiar with the controls and enemy types as they make their way through the levels. At the same time it also tries to keep things fair, most if not all the levels create challenges that don't necessarily involve a lot of trial and error or luck. Learning to master the controls and being quick is what gets you to the next level, not fluke shots at targets that are a mile away. After players are comfortable with the controls they can also choose to play at a higher difficulty setting that puts a cooldown on the shots or play without wasting a single bullet to earn extra rewards as stars for each level in the game.



I think this frantic gameplay set in the cheerful ambiance that Lovely Planet tries to maintain makes for a unique and interesting first person shooter game. I'm not pushing for a lot of content, at least not right now, there are no bosses and four maybe five worlds where new gameplay elements are introduced. I'd love to hear what you think, are a hundred plus levels expected on a game like this or should I push for quality rather than quantity?