‘Lovely Planet Arcade’ Review

Platform PC Genre FPS, Action/Adventure

Developer QUICKTEQUILA Publisher tinybuild

Platform Played On PC

The successor to QUICKTEQUILA’s Lovely PlanetLovely Planet Arcade, released Friday in a shower of bright graphics and deceptively cute levels. The original Lovely Planet was, despite the abundance of color and cheerful music, a brutal test in precision and skill, and Lovely Planet Arcade is no different.

The game is divided into four acts, each of which adds a new mechanic to mix things up. Teleportation, time freezing, and bombs that cannot be allowed to explode make each level of this seemingly simplistic first person shooter into a puzzle that must be explored and executed with careful consideration and precise timing. Early levels ease players into the world by training them to move as quickly and efficiently as possible. Make no mistake however, even the first few levels are unforgiving in practice. A single hit from any projectile means a restart, and frustration can build quickly. Make sure to double check mouse sensitivity before playing as well, since one wrong move can disrupt the flow and throw you off for the whole level.

Repetition is key in Lovely Planet Arcade, and each attempt can be more rewarding than the last. The three star rating system at the end of each level shows players just how close they were to the next ranking up, which can prove to be either wildly annoying or excellent motivation to restart and attempt to shave precious seconds off of play time. A three star rating is an oddly satisfying reward for repeated attempts at perfection. Level design is clever, often incorporating portals, time freezes, and even an enemy that, once killed, transports the player to its location. Sometimes the most immediate threat is not the one presented in the direct line of sight, but the one shooting from somewhere off to the left. In these cases, the player must figure out the proper order to deal with enemies, projectiles, and bombs on a fairly short timer. Players who like to try again until they play a level perfectly, though, have plenty to work for.

As mentioned earlier, the game graphics are simple-you’ll find no complicated shaders here. Green snowmen populate what seems to be random cartoon neighborhoods and mostly just want to destroy you for some reason. As for the music, it fits the tone of the game perfectly. Bouncy tunes accompany each act, interrupted only by the pft, pft, pft of projectiles and the occasional angry shout that indicates the player’s death. The style of the music itself calls to mind some retro games, bringing a bit of a Mario feel to this very-not-Mario title. All together, Lovely Planet Arcade may have one of the most unique atmospheres in a first person shooter game.

The only frustration I really had with the game was the movement. In a game meant for speed running, the jumping and dodging felt clunky and slow. Some levels still have me convinced that the only way to get a three star rating is some kind of sorcery, and believe me, I tried to get there. Though only an issue every once in a while, the slow movement still has me wondering if there was some mechanic I missed, or some setting I failed to adjust properly.

Overall, Lovely Planet Arcade is just a really good time. Not a big fan of traditional shooters, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I found myself having, even after losing a level for the umpteenth time. I keep referring to components of the game as simple, and it is because many of them are, but the music, graphics, and puzzle-style gameplay all come together to make one really satisfying adventure.

The Good

  • Colorful and unique style
  • Puzzles that make the player think
  • Engaging music

The Bad

  • Movement can feel a little off, occasionally too slow

The Score: 8.5