The planet may be lovely, but the game unfortunately isn't.
I wanted to love Lovely Planet so much. Really I did. It has a pleasant flat polygon art style, catchy, if not infectious tunes, and a nice premise to it. However, several frustrations all revolving around the "hard for the wrong reasons" difficulty made Lovely Planet decidedly less than lovely when all is said and done.
Lovely Planet has you playing through over 80 levels of first-person shooting action. The objective of each level is to defeat every enemy through shooting them while getting to the goal. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, this is made challenging through a host of things wanting nothing more than to kill you and means for making you fail.
Whether it's pink balls of goo that you innocently brush against, enemies that shoot slow-moving bullets at you, spikes, innocent blue creatures that if you shoot you immediately fail the level, and apples that launch from catapults that if you don't destroy them before they touch the ground, you lose. The latter isn't made totally clear, so it took me a little while to catch on to this nugget of information.
|Don't shoot those blue characters, or you'll find yourself restarting this level.|
In addition to that, there's plenty of platforming to be done in this first-person shooter. Not knowing where your feet are when you have platforms that are quite thin, some even disappearing from out from under your feet before you even know what happened, it becomes very easy to fall into the abyss. The platforming here isn't tight, and what challenge there is comes from falling off levels accidentally because you couldn't grasp where the end of a platform was.
|The visuals look delightful, stylish, and dare I say, lovely.|
On Wii U, you can play Lovely Planet with the Wii U GamePad, using dual analog to aim, though this isn't preferred due to how clunky the controls feel, or you can use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, which offers pointer controls and the ability to adjust the sensitivity of aiming and turning. This was my desired method of playing Lovely Planet, and while I never found the aiming perfect despite tinkering with the sensitivity a mighty amount, it ended up being fun to use regardless.
|A lovely shot. (Have you noticed how much I'm really milking this "lovely" thing?)|
Lovely Planet features a difficulty that feels artificial and worse, unfair. Levels often require rote memorization, perfect platforming when the game doesn't really offer that as a viable option due to the controls, and pinpoint accuracy to stay alive. Be prepared to restart a level a plethora of times. Most players won't have the patience for this. I certainly don't. However, if for some reason you do, then you'll find a ball-busting hard first-person shooter under the disguise of a cute game.
[SPC Says: D+]