Planet Alpha is a mysterious world in which you find yourself stranded, and alone. You must navigate across it to survive as you encounter various dangers and obstacles. Planet Alpha goes with the tried and tested formula made famous by games such as Limbo and Inside. There’s no explaination of who you are, or the back story of the location you’re in. It works well as it draws you in as you try to interpret what it means to you.
The game is beautiful, with gorgeous rich colours and widely varied locations that you pass through on your adventure. it features low poly lanscapes that are complimented by detailed fauna and flora. In typical fasion you must navigate through the world using objects to climb, such as vines and moveable blocks to reach higher places, and stealth to hide during the most dangerous of situations. A unique addition to Planet Alpha is being able to manipulate the time of day. Doing so changes the world as platforms move to different locations, and plants ‘sleep’ or ‘awaken’ dependent on what time you select. Sounds mundane, but works very well especially during tricky sections that require you to change multiple times to progress through to the next area.
You’ll also have to use the time shifting ability to deal with some enemies, at times bringing you to a halt as you try to work out what it is you actually need to do. This for me is one of the great points of the game, as the pace changes quite a lot, from pondering over a puzzle that needs to be completed to continue on, to fast paced sections where you’ll be sliding down steep slopes and have to time jumps to avoid death. Coupled with the aforementioned varied locations the game constantly feels fresh.
There were one or two areas of the game that felt a little frustrating, one where you have to ‘ride’ a rock, which I fell off of and died, the game put me back to this point but didn’t re-spawn the bit of rock needed for this section, making me have to reload the area, though this didn’t set me back far, it was still a little bit of an annoyance. Another part was spending 15 minutes trying to navigate past a waterfall jumping into it would knock me back but occasionally I would make it through grabbing onto the ledge on the opposite side only to find an impossible jump a little further on. I eventually found that I was supposed to back track a little from the waterfall to find the proper way past. This could be made a little clearer…
During the early stages of the game you can only change the time of day at certain points of the game, later on you are able to use the ability whenever you want making you think about when and where you may need to use it, and not just a pre-set thing that becomes boring and predictable. There’s also artifacts to collect as you play through, four to be exact, while that doesn’t sound like many they’re particularly difficult to find, I only found 2 in my playthrough and doing so requires you to find portals that transport you to a strange dark place that tasks you with navigating moving platforms that not only slide left to right, or up and down, but also rotate, this world also have less gravity. enabling you to jump higher and use the moving platforms to catapult you around.
you’ll then have to find the ‘alter’ that will unlock the artefact and then transport you back to the planet. These areas are yet another example of how the game changes things up as they require precision timing giving a bit more of a parkour feel to it. I’m also sure that finding all four of the artifacts have an affect on the ending of the game, though I’m saying no more than that to avoid spoilers. Visually, as already stated, the game is beautiful. With a wide variety of areas to visit ffrom the orange-red deserts to the lush green forests and more, all accomanied by a well suited sountrack that picks up on the wonder and mystery perfectly.