Lifeless Planet: Premiere Edition

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Lifeless Planet: Premiere Edition Game Poster Image
A sci-fi tale of mystery … and walking. Lots of walking.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Some positive themes buried among bleak outlook of game, mainly themes of survival, exploration, continuing on in face of adversity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not much in way of human interaction, and though protagonist is pretty much a blank slate, he does exhibit traits of determination, ingenuity, analytic observation.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, with players spending bulk of their time walking from point to point on planet, interacting with environmental objects. Challenge comes from finding clues to story, solving puzzles to advance plot.

Violence

Protagonist comes across various hazards while trying to survive; some blood shown on-screen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Lifeless Planet: Premiere Edition is console remake of original PC release, complete with remastered graphics, higher-quality presentation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lifeless Planet: Premiere Edition is a downloadable adventure/puzzle game with a sci-fi mystery twist. The game is relatively easy to control, with the challenge coming from solving puzzles which increase in difficulty based on the player's performance. The isolation of the protagonist limits interaction, but the plot still presents the player with themes of survival and overcoming obstacles. Combat isn't a central focus of the game, though there are still moments of violence where some blood does appear.

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What's it about?

If you think you've ever been on a bad road trip, the space-faring protagonist of LIFELESS PLANET has you beat. The astronaut is on part of a mission to explore a distant planet when his life takes a turn for the worse and things go horribly wrong. His ship crash-lands on the planet, and the rest of his crew is missing in action. Making matters worse, the planet, which was supposed to be teaming with life, is apparently a barren wasteland. Stranger still, upon exploring, the astronaut discovers relics that point to a long-deserted Soviet settlement. As the astronaut tries to discover what's happened, he begins to question his own state of mind -- and whether he's truly alone on this otherwise lifeless planet.

Is it any good?

The concept of this adventure title is striking and seems as though it would keep one's attention, but it winds up falling a bit flat over the course of the game. People often wonder what it might be like to be the last living man (or woman) on Earth. The loneliness. The isolation. Now imagine being the last living thing on another planet. Stranded and with no way home. The harshness of the environment not only playing on your body, but on your mind as well. That's the core theme of Lifeless Planet. The game is eerie in its presentation, leaving you to wander through the wasteland seeing only the ruins of something that was here before you. It's an interesting idea with a lot of promise, as you struggle not only to discover what's happened to the planet but whether or not you're simply losing your mind.

While there's a lot of potential in the premise of the game, in execution things fall apart a bit. For starters, the game is pretty linear in its direction. You're constantly pushed in specific directions to continue the story. While the barren environment isn't necessarily screaming to be explored in an open-world sort of way, it still feels as if you're sort of herded where the game wants you to go. This wouldn't be too bad if so much of the game weren't taken up by walking from Point A to Point B. You easily spend more time just walking in a straight line than you do anything else in the game. And due to the nature of the environment, there's not much to distract you from the monotony. It feels like that long walk to a gas station when your car's stuck on the side of the road, only without the payoff of accomplishing anything. By the time you get to where the game wants you to go, most interest in solving the mystery is gone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the risks and rewards of space exploration in Lifeless Planet. With various plans for manned space missions in the future, what are some of the risks the astronauts face, and what are some of the benefits of moving forward with those plans?

  • Talk about issues such as survival and isolation. What are some ways a person can cope with being alone, especially during emergency situations?

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