Planet of Lana is a Serene and Deadly Adventure

Navigating the opening environment in Planet of Lana feels familiar. An open field leads to a dense forest full of gorgeous trees and foliage. However, the dreamlike reality is cut short when elements of the world begin to be unrecognizable. A strange creature companion walks alongside you with your only goal to move right along the 2D environment. That’s about when you realize how dangerous this world is, and no matter how pretty the environment, these two characters must rely heavily on each other if they wish to survive.

Getting to play through Planet of Lana gave me a much better understanding of its gameplay elements. Those who have played games such as ICO or The Last Guardian will easily pick up the companion-based navigation. As the protagonist, players will instruct this creature to assist with various obstacles. It’s a simple concept, but the difficulty and range of the puzzles become more challenging as your progress.

Further, mechanical and organic enemies require a fair understanding of stealth and the gameplay mechanics to get through without dying. Sure, I died plenty of times, but I didn’t feel like I was being cheated. There’s a clear intent in the actions of the characters, and after I understand the timing, I was able to progress naturally until the game threw another obstacle my way.

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Still, even though this is a puzzle game, there were moments of relaxation as the game takes time to tell the story through the environment. In the background, you can see hints of an ongoing struggle. The cause of this is yet to be seen, but by the end of the demo, I was already attached to the adventure that awaits these two mysterious characters.

Interacting with the environment became natural over time. I was directing my companion to various points and even using it as bait to get through an encounter. I wasn’t able to fully understand the relationship between these characters, but I’m curious to know how it evolves. I found myself in awe of the world and how moments of pure serenity could become violent so quickly.

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Planet of Lana is said to tell a story that stretches across galaxies and centuries. I’m not sure how this will work, but I’m completely on board. I was surprised at how invested I was by the time I finished the demo, but it’s tough to overlook the clever and deadly puzzle designs and gorgeous environment.

Planet of Lana is coming to Xbox One, Series X, and PC via Steam in Spring 2023.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.