Planet of Lana – Cloud Game Review

Planet of Lana Screen Capture

No one could have believed in the first half of 2023 that such a beautiful indie game would have landed on Game Pass Ultimate. No one could have dreamed that such a simple game would invoke such strong feelings of pleasure. Few people even considered the possibility that Planet of Lana could be a Game of Year contender. And yet, despite its short play time, gamers with across the globe regarded this game with envious eyes. And slowly, yet surely the award was getting closer.

Planet of Lana title screen

The Game

Planet Of Lana is a simple and beautiful side scrolling adventure game developed by Wishfully Studios and published by Thunderful Publishing for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

I have played the game via Cloud Gaming on my Android Phone (Pixel 6), Xbox Seies S and Laptop. To me it is a perfect game for playing on the move, with some headphones in. It works well with onscreen touch controls as well as using a Gamesir X2 Pro mobile controller or similar. However, a lot of the review applies to the game installed locally.

In Planet of Lana, you control Lana, a young girl, as she explores her planet which has been invaded by hostile alien machines (reminiscent of those found in The War of the Worlds) in order to rescue her sister, Elo, who has been abducted. Throughout her adventure, she is accompanied by a cat-like creature named Mui. (Yes, you can pet Mui).

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There are short cutscenes throughout the game which show Lana’s desperation and sadness from losing her sister. You can hear Lana start to lose hope and slip into sadness. Whilst the language is purely made up for the game, you don’t need to understand it to know her pain. It demonstrates that our bond between humans that are emotional and transcend language.

Lana and Elo running through their village before the aliens arrive

With the help of Mui, Lana must traverse the world and avoid detection. You can’t attack the aliens or any hostile creatures you come across. Instead, you must use stealth, tactics and the environment to get past any threat.

Lana using the environment to avoid getting captured

Together, they use their own skills and abilities to solve the many puzzles in the game. Usually, this means things like pressing buttons at the correct time to activate a platform for the other. However, it can also involve distracting an enemy so that the other can sneak past them. Working out when to ask Mui to stay or go to certain places whilst the enemies walk past is a lot of fun. I often found myself willing Mui to move faster so they didn’t get caught.

Art and Music

The art style chosen by the developers is perfect for the game. The game features colourful and cozy landscapes, stylized flat-shaded characters, and a black foreground that adds a feeling of depth and immersion. Planet of Lana has a hand-painted aesthetic that combines the vibrant and joyful art of Studio Ghibli films with the contrasting styles of modern cinematic platformers like Limbo and Inside. The Games director, Adam Stjarnljus has said the game’s visuals were inspired by a single image that he drew in 2017, which became the game’s key art.

Art from the game

Again, the developers have worked magic with the musical choices in the game. Composed by Takeshi Furukawa, the orchestral and acoustic elements fit perfectly with the world they have created. The music also plays a part in some of the puzzles which require you to listen carefully. Siobhan Wilson’s voice is absolutely beautiful and works really well, especially during the end credits. It is an album worth listening to and saving to your library.

Not all sections have music playing, some just have the ambient sounds of leaves and wind. Some games this could be a problem, But Planet of Lana manages to achieve a level of audio complexity that makes this work feel natural and complete. It also lends itself well when you enter a cinematic or when you approach certain areas.

A minor problem

Overall I don’t have any major problems with the game. However, the controls, specifically for jumping, cloud be better. There is just a spongey-ness to them. There is a perceptible lag between pressing the button and actually jumping. This is present in both the cloud and installed version on my console. However, it isn’t something that breaks the game in any way, and, as I said ,it’s only a minor gripe. But it gets a little frustrating if you run and don’t jump when intended. Fortunately you never go too far back when you die.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Planet of Lana is a must play game for anyone that enjoys relaxing indie games or someone looking for a smaller game to fill a gap between larger games. Between the story, art and music, I have no hesitation in recommending this game to anyone.

Planet Of Lana

FabledAlpaca

Plant of Lana Xbox Cloud Gaming Review
Gameplay
Presentation
Performance
Value
Fun Factor

Summary

Planet of Lana is a very relaxing side-scrolling adventure game. The visual and audio quality is some of the best I’ve seen this year. It’s a perfect addtion to Game Pass Ultimate and Cloud Gaming. It’s a must play game for this year

4.5

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fabled_alpaca

A tabletop gaming nerd who has recently rediscovered video game thanks to Stadia (RiP). He is a huge believer in Cloud Gaming and the accessibility it brings. He Loves playing Dungeons & Dragons and a slew of modern board games as well as creating custom leather goods and photography.

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