Planet of the Eyes is a physics-based platformer that gives you control of a robot on a strange alien planet. Although the gameplay and visuals are good, the short length (less than two hours) and lack of challenge may be a problem for many platforming fans. Read on to see why you should pack your Walkman for this trip.
The game starts with your crash on a planet’s surface, unsure of your purpose or origin, and the controls are very simple. In an homage to the platformers of yore, you will normally move right to progress with only the ability to jump or grab and pull objects to counter the obstacles in your way. There is a modern nod with a dedicated dance button, but, unlike the real world, dancing does not solve any of your problems.
The physics-based puzzles are good with a couple standout moments. Because it is a hostile alien world, you are often tasked with finding a way through areas with dangerous flora or fauna and even the less exotic, but still day ruining, lava.
There are areas for swimming, climbing, jumping, and even riding different objects through the world, and my favorite was the moving cart. Towards the end of the game, there is a cart that can only move forward when you stand on a switch at the front.
At one point, you are dodging lava from the ceiling by moving across the cart and pushing it forward at the right time. In another, you have to leave the cart to open a way to move forward by climbing up and down and moving from right to left while trying to escape a sinking structure.
The puzzles themselves are normally easy enough for anyone to see the solution, and objects in the world are usually put there to help with the puzzle. Further, if you do die, the game resets the world quickly, and you are not forced to replay the last ten minutes to return to where you died.
This is also a negative for Planet of the Eyes. I liked being able to solve the puzzles to move forward, but there was no real challenge. I also appreciated being put back to where I was before being gored by the plants after an experimental solution went horribly awry. The problem is that this is not a game that will present you with many reasons to return to it.
The visuals look like they took inspiration from old sci-fi paperback novel covers, and the simple shapes and colors look great with plenty of contrast to let you know where to make your next leap. The crisp art style was a fantastic choice, and it nailed that retro look without making a low-res game.
My only problem with the world was the empty spaces I found. There are some living things and inanimate objects scattered everywhere, but there are places in the game that I am only walking forward or sloping down with nothing to be seen. This may be to emphasize the loneliness of the world, but these brief strolls left me a little bored.
The sound was a combination of ambient noise and light musical synths with some electronic sounds. There was an occasional melody, but it was mostly tonal. I will not be humming anything from the game, but it was never distracting.
The story was probably the most surprising element of Planet of the Eyes. While the boxy, cyclopean main character is the essence of stoicism (only having a camera for a face will do that), he will find audio cassette tapes in the world that give the player more information.
He is following someone else who cared about him, and the tapes were left for him to find. This is not a narrative driven game in the least, but the gravely Lance Henriksen-esque voice on those tapes breathes a little life in the main character and provides motivation for why he continues to push forward. There is even a little twist at the end.
Even with the sometimes sparse environments, Planet of the Eyes nails the retro sci-fi look and sound with a succinct story and excellent voice acting. Although it will be too easy and too short for those looking for a real challenge, it will still provide you with some fun puzzles. If you love platformers and need a quick fix, you may want to look into Planet of the Eyes.
Planet of the Eyes PS4 Review
Overall - 6.0/10
Overall, Planet of the Eyes is a decent platformer with a surprisingly enjoyable story. The world is sometimes too sparse, and the lack of challenge and short length will not satisfy hardcore platformer fans. However, if you are looking for a good sci-fi atmosphere and love some physics-based puzzles, you may want to give Planet of the Eyes a try.
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Reviewed using base PS4.