Loud on Planet X

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Loud on Planet X Game Poster Image
Short, catchy rhythm game introduces players to indie bands.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Encourages interest in, appreciation of indie pop music.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Band members don't speak, interact with one another, express any reaction to their music acting as a physical assault on incoming waves of aliens. They just play their songs, bop their heads.

Ease of Play

Kids simply click speaker lanes in time with beat to fire blasts of energy. Three difficulty options ensure players of all skill, experience levels can play comfortably, without frustration.

Violence

Players blast squishy, geometric aliens with energy released from speakers. Aliens' eyes disappear one by one as they're hit, indicating damage dealt. They disappear entirely once defeated.

Sex
Language

Includes songs by a band called F--ked Up (with letters censored).

Consumerism

In-game links lead to websites of each musical artist.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Loud on Planet X is a downloadable rhythm game where pop bands defend themselves from alien hordes by playing music. Violence is limited to blasts of energy that cause smooshy, geometric aliens to disappear without any trace of blood or gore. All the artists featured in the game are real, and links within the game send players to their websites. Song lyrics are pretty clean, but one of the bands is called F--ked Up (with censored letters). There's not much to the story or the action beyond feeling the rhythm, but it may help players develop an interest in indie pop music and expose them to artists they won't necessarily see on TV or hear on the radio.

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What's it about?

LOUD ON PLANET X begins with a band playing to a crowd in a famous Toronto nightclub before being teleported to the game's titular world to use music to do battle with hordes of alien enemies. That's about all the story there is, which places the focus squarely on the game's rhythm-based action. Bands stand on stage on the left side of the screen with a quartet of speakers lined up in front of them along four lanes that extend to the right side of the screen. Aliens run toward the stage along these lanes as players click the speakers to release blasts of energy to destroy them. The catch is that each click needs to be in time with the music; otherwise the attack will fizzle and fail. Lose the rhythm, and the aliens will reach and quickly wreck the band's speakers. The level ends as soon as an alien gets past a ruined speaker. The entire game consists of about two dozen songs, plus a final boss battle.

Is it any good?

This rhythm-action title feels like it ends almost before it begins, but it's plenty of fun during the two hours it lasts. Players will get a feel for its rhythmic action before the first song is over, but as the game progresses, they'll learn there's more to it than quick reflexes and a good sense of musical timing. Since you can only launch attacks in time with the music, songs with slower rhythms mean you can launch fewer attacks, so nearly every shot has to count. And since some aliens require as many as five hits to destroy, players will sometimes need to hit them only a couple of times to stun them in place, then switch focus to aliens getting close to speakers in other lanes. It can get pretty hectic. A small selection of randomly generated rechargeable abilities -- such as a smoke machine and a strobe light -- provide players additional options when things start to get tricky.

But while the rhythmic action is fun, the real star of the game is its playlist. A few of the tracks may be familiar to some players, such as Tegan and Sarah's "Closer" and Metric's "Breathing Underwater," but the majority will represent new discoveries for most kids. And while these may be indie acts, that doesn't mean their music isn't catchy. Players are sure to walk away from the game with songs such as Purity Ring's "Bodyache" and Austra's "Lose It" stuck in their heads. It'd be nice if Loud on Planet X had a bit more meat around the bone to keep players coming back, but it's relatively inexpensive and will introduce kids to great music.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Most players, young and old, can probably finish this game in a single two-hour sitting, but is it better to play and complete a game this short all at once, or would you appreciate it more if you broke it into a few sessions?

  • Discuss alternative and indie pop music. It can be difficult to learn about lesser-known acts, but there's a thrill that comes with discovering a band on your own rather than through radio or TV, so what music do you like that your friends and family may not be familiar with?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love music

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