To say that there’s a glut of puzzle platformers on the market today would be an understatement, but that’s still good news for fans of the genre as there seem to be a worthwhile game releasing every week or two. The latest that should be on their radar is Planet of the Eyes, which originally released on PC in 2015. While it doesn’t have one signature hook to differentiate it from the crowd, it’s a solid title with a lot of heart.
Planet of the Eyes has players controlling a cute little robot that finds himself on a planet filled with deadly creatures and death traps. Everything seems designed to kill the player, which means they’ll have to carefully consider each action if they’re to make it out alive. Simply running ahead at full speed is a sure way to die, as there’s no shortage of different traps just awaiting the player to step into them. These scenes are never overly brutal, but it’s never fun to see a cute robot burst apart.
As the player runs around the planet, they’ll find audio logs left behind by the man that activated the machine. While using recorded audio is starting to feel like a tired storytelling format, it works well enough here and the story is well-written enough to constantly keep my attention. It helps that there aren’t long narrative lore dumps, but just small clips of a few sentences and ideas. There’s a less is more philosophy throughout the entire game, and it works here as the player doesn’t need to learn every small secret of a world. Sometimes things are better off being a mystery.
While I was exploring the titular planet, I often found myself stopping mid-stride. It wasn’t because of an obstacle in my way or a tricky puzzle, but because I wanted to take in the gorgeous sights on my television screen. Planet of the Eyes features some great artwork and getting to take that in was a real treat. Since there are plenty of quiet areas in-between death traps, I was able to just soak in the atmosphere without any worry.
While players won’t be getting into any combat exchanges, there are plenty of puzzles to solve. A lot of these play upon some simple physics-based mechanics such as dragging objects and triggering switches, and while I wouldn’t categorize any of them as dull, I never found myself feeling like I just overcame the odds. Instead, I had simply done the task I easily identified, and got to moving towards my next goal.
The puzzles might not rival The Witness in complexity, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t die. In fact, I died dozens of times during my playthrough. Much like Limbo, there are plenty of opportunities to die within Planet of the Eyes, and one mistake will likely leave your cute robotic pal as a pile of spare parts. Some deaths might feel unfair as the physics can get a bit messy during some of the more intense gameplay moments, but thankfully checkpoints are always nearby. It ends up being a nice mixture of keeping players on their toes while never overly punishing.
One of Planet of the Eyes’ biggest strengths is its length. Lasting around 90 minutes, it can easily be completed within a single gaming session. It offers up a glimpse at an interesting world, tells a small story that leaves plenty to the imagination, and then ends. In an industry where games often dragon on for far too long, this is a refreshingly concise tale that respects the player’s time.
Short and sweet, Planet of the Eyes guarantees an evening’s worth of entertainment. It’s not the most difficult puzzle platformer, but it provides enough of a challenge to stay satisfying as the player explores the mysterious world they’ve entered. Paired with some gorgeous artwork and solid writing, it’s hard not to be won over by the time the credits roll.
Planet of the Eyes review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.