Planet of Lana PC Review

Beauty on a two-dimensional plane.

By JustAnotherJake, Posted 27 May 2023

Games that place in a 2D space are often fast action platforms like classic Mario or Sonic games, but from time to time there are games that like to slow things down a bit so they can tell a story either with literal storytelling methods or with a stand-out style like with the case of Limbo. These games are harder to come by, but when they show up they are almost always a pleasant time. Planet of Lana is one of those few games, but it also shows why these styles of games haven’t been showing up as frequently.

Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

Planet of Lana is a stunning-looking game with a simple yet complex art style that feels like a natural beauty right off the bat. The colors pop and feel cozy to look at, and the shadows simply strengthen those feelings given off. For many, this is the most essential part of the game, and being able to see all the different areas in this lovely style is genuinely incredible. The most exciting part of the game’s experience is seeing every new little thing that there is to be offered.

Unfortunately, for how remarkable the visual stylization is, there really isn’t much variety throughout the adventure. There are going to be a lot of rocky areas with green backgrounds. It isn't only that theming but there are not necessarily that many that are much different. The end game spices things up greatly and still looks fantastic, but it really sucks that the majority of the game is in forests or caves. The very last part of the game is a stark difference in visual elements and it is super refreshing to have.

To make things a bit better there are a good amount of set pieces to change things up. Brightly caves, abandon structures, or even massive pits will be in most of the themed areas, and those don’t get stale in comparison. If anything these elements are what helps the game feel like it is progressing along and moving. Passing set pieces like these is usually a good landmark for progression and shows that things are changing despite technically being in the same locations. 


Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

Those set pieces are what make up most of the puzzles found throughout Planet of Lana and it is these puzzles that make the game more than just a walking simulator. There is no direct combat in Plent of Lana so solving the puzzles in order to move on to the next screen space is all that will really be done. On paper that may sound a bit dull, but in reality, the puzzles often make the world feel even more in-depth as it takes an analysis of the whole nearby area to often solve the puzzle.

Without spoiling story elements, the end game’s puzzles are by far the more in-depth ones. As much of the early sections of Planet of Lana have more environmental puzzles, the ladder half sees a lot more unnatural elements at play and even a bit more action than just figuring out a simple positioning puzzle. This easily helps break the repetitive nature the game was almost building to. It almost feels like a wake-up call in terms of storytelling as well, showing such a different set of scenery drives what the game leads up to in its final moments.

Planet of Lana has one major issue with its overall design, and that is just how straightforward it is in terms of gameplay. To many, this is a great thing as all the overpopulated open-world games leave too much so it is nice to have something linear and limited in choice-making. The real problem is with it not holding many secrets or alternate paths to discover. There are small things to find but nothing that will make gameplay hours change over the time of searching or completing these secrets. Obviously, the secrets that are there are fun to find, and certainly there are ones that went missing while the lands were being explored, but they did feel a bit spread out than what was initially expected.


Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

That is another problem with Planet of Lana, it’s length. It is a short game, very short in fact. But depending on how long the player spends on puzzles the game can go from a 3-hour long game to an almost 6-hour long game. A short experience is not necessarily a bad thing, however going into a game many like to have an estimate of how long it will take. Of course, a game with lots of open-ended quests or collectibles will be extra long but when it is a straight-to-the-end path that has such a time difference it may come off as intimidating.

Rest assured, whether these problems are an actual problem to the player the actual experience is incredibly worth it. As mentioned before, the visual appearance of the game is worth it alone, and while the variety in visuals can take a while to change, the puzzles and gameplay are good enough to distract when the background art isn’t currently wowing the player away. At no point is the art design ever dull, like mentioned before it really just feels like the location is the same just with a few new set pieces.

Planet of Lana is incredibly simple in terms of gameplay. Lots of simple pushing and jumping for the main actions, mixed in with command options found from the little cat companion. None of this becomes overbearing, and that really helps with the whole feel. The only thing that even remotely comes as something new is something like a new puzzle mechanic. Elements like fuzzy patches acting as a pressure plate or a lever that opens and closes boxes are examples of this. The most complex of puzzles develop from the commands from the cat creature, but this is to be expected.


Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

It is worth talking about the enemies of Planet of Lana, even if they aren’t as much of a combat-centered enemy. Their presence is noted immediately with their excellent designs. While they aren’t complex looking or even that different in terms of what they bring to the table in terms of design. It is the carbonation of their visual design mixed with the world's design that makes them brilliant. For the most part, they are round, black, robotic enemies that search along the planet. This design contrasts with the world so perfectly that they simply feel alien.

With the opening moments of Planet of Lana establishing that the people here on the planet have little to no technological development in their wooden structures along the water, setting the enemies as this dark and mechanical threat really sets that these things don’t belong. They leave all sorts of traps and machines in their path as well, showing the player exactly what to avoid and what to interact with. These elements are another thing that makes the ending sections of Plane of Lana so intense without the actual combat-driven intensity.

The story of Planet of Lana is another element of the game that is rather simple all things considered. There is no dialogue aside from the two sisters shouting at each other, and even then it is a one-worded yell. All of the story is shown to the player through the short cutscenes and the environmental details. It allows for a non-intrusive story and a simple one at that. It is a strong break of pace compared to most other games but doesn’t feel all too original as many of the games in the same genre have done the same exact thing before.


Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

Planet of Lana is a game that certainly achieves what it tries to do, but it really isn’t anything out of the ordinary. But then again, similar games usually end up in the same place. It is a side-scrolling adventure but it's not like Mega Man or Castlevania, and it's a puzzle game but it's not like The Legend of Zelda or Tomb Raider. The best way to describe it to an outsider is that it is like Limbo or Inside. It’s unfortunate but it simply isn’t the first game of its kind.

The art of Planet of Lana is really what sets it apart from those other games that it will inevitably get compared to, but it is simply something that has to be experienced as a whole rather than be told about as describing it gets rather straightforward, just as the game truly is. This is not a bad thing, it just needs to be seen and played with rather than told about. It is not a bad thing, but rather just an experience.

In terms of gameplay, it is the cat that makes things feel different from the actual gameplay perspective. It is a whole new element that a lot of the Limbo-type games lack. It isn’t an absolute game changer but it does create something for the player to get attached to. It is the typical, cute-to-be-cute type of character. This is something that a lot of media has been using lately but in this instance, it really just feels like it is a cute creature, and less so something to sell copies of the game to a larger market. Rather it seems like something that is just to make the game feel even more unique, and for the most part, it does help.


Planet of Lana, Review, PC, Screenshot, Mystery, Platformer, NoobFeed

Really that is what Planet of Lana is, an experience. Trying to make it seem like it's an adventure like most modern games would be hard, as that isn’t what it is. Planet of Lana is what breaks that mold of gaming, showing that bigger isn’t always better. If anything it is a reminder of what games should be, different and unique experiences. While the common open-world games and shooter games are by no means bad, it is so refreshing to step onto a foreign world just to experience the beauties it has to offer, and that’s what Planet of Lana is.

The team behind Planet of Lana, Wishfully, should really be proud. The game is truly a fun experience, and it is always nice to see smaller teams pull off something that looks this nice. It uses art to tell a story, and while it isn’t an Earth-breaking type of story, it is fun. If anything the game feels like it was a passionate project instead of something specifically targeted towards an audience. It is a reminder of what video games should be, those unique experiences that hold the player through until the end, instead of the more common triple-A experiences. Planet of Lana will be something to remember going forward, and hopefully, more game development teams will look at this game and change things up a bit going forward.

Jacob Cowsert (@TweetJAJ)
News Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, XBSX, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Thunderful Group, Thunderful Publishing
Developer(s): Wishfully
Genres: 2D Platformer
Themes: Mystery, Horror, Puzzle, Adventure
Release Date: 2023-05-23

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