Planet of Lana Review
Image Source: Wishfully

Planet of Lana Review – A Puzzle Platformer Straight Out of a Movie

Planet of Lana is the cat's meow.

Planet of Lana on PC

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Hand-drawn animations have relatively become a thing of the past to incorporate more realistic features into the modern gaming world. Yet, several developers try to keep this art style alive, adding a more personal touch to their storylines. Planet of Lana is a perfect example of this feat, as it brings hand-painted scenes to life in an immersive sci-fi world. 

It’s been a while since a platformer captured my attention, but Planet of Lana immediately caught my eye with its picturesque scenery. In a way, it felt like I was controlling a character in an ever-changing painting featuring its own sets of challenges that enticed me to want to play more. The epic adventure also furthers the movie-like feel of the entire narrative, taking you on an enthralling journey from start to finish.

At the story’s beginning, you’ll be introduced to one of the three main concepts: nature, with the two others being machines and humans. You’ll see how Lana, the main protagonist, and those around her use the environment to establish a small settlement where everyone works together to survive. But, just as she meets up with her sibling in the wilderness, her sister gets taken away by a fearsome mechanic beast, alongside the villagers. 

Lana manages to escape the machine’s clutches, leaving the young girl alone in a massive world full of deadly enemies. Fortunately, she encounters a cat-like creature, Mui, to help her with her quest to save humanity. As far as companions go in video games, Planet of Lana has one of the best I’ve seen, considering the animal’s wide range of abilities. 

Lana, Mui, and the machine in Planet of Lana
Image Source: Wishfully

Players can direct the cat to interact with items, go to certain areas, and even manipulate other critters to move. Oh, and you can pet Mui anytime you want, as an adorable bonus. Nevertheless, future players should use the recommended controller gameplay to make it easier to control.

Together, Lana and Mui make for an excellent team, which comes in handy for the numerous puzzles. While these challenges can sometimes be tedious in other games, Planet of Lana’s puzzles somehow always feel different from the last. Whenever I felt confident in my solving skills, I was perplexed by the next riddle, but never enough to make me want to close out the game in frustration. 

For example, several puzzles showcase a series of musical notes for you to rearrange in the correct order, using ancient hieroglyphics as a coding system. Another conundrum players will come across is the challenge of water, where Mui, in true cat nature, will refuse to go across this type of environment. Therefore, not only will you have to find a way to make it to point A to B with Lana, but you’ll also need to ensure that your companion can safely travel alongside you. 

If you are a cozy gamer, Planet of Lana will be right up your alley, given that there isn’t necessarily any combat. Aside from the platformer and puzzle side, it is a stealth game, allowing you to hide in tall blades of grass whenever a machine is nearby. The best approach I found is to wait and follow the enemy’s pattern, then devise a plan to avoid their detection. 

Although Planet of Lana is primarily a relaxing game, you can expect a few horror-like elements, especially when the musical score has a blood-curdling eerie sound. But then, it becomes even more terrifying when the machines chase you at a tremendous speed, fastening the pace of the cinematic soundtrack. 

When things cool down, the piano’s peaceful melody will put you at ease to go along with the various biomes you’ll explore. I appreciated the different landscapes of each level, from a sea of darkness in caves to the sandy storms of the deserts to the greenery of forests; it makes you feel as if you are traversing a whole planet. Even more so, these locations introduce new challenges to complete through their terrain, in which you must transcend your previous strategies. 

Exploring the lands of Planet of Lana
Image Source: Wishfully via Twinfinite

While traveling to these many destinations, players will continue progressing through the mysterious storyline to discover the connection between nature, machines, and humans. It can also sometimes be heartbreaking to watch Lana go through the adventure alone at such a young age, primarily when she shouts out for her sister in multiple scenes.

Apart from the sorrowful moments, you can still see a sense of naivety from Lana as she continues to find joy in the little things. Specifically, when she laughs with Mui and learns to have fun throughout her expeditions, despite her lonely circumstances. There are a few subtle occurrences I admired as well, like when Lana starts whispering during sneaky missions or Mui meowing in sadness whenever I fell to my death. 

Even if there aren’t many words exchanged in the game, it somehow says so much through the character interactions and mesmerizing environment. By the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the man versus machine ideology, with a satisfying conclusion that will make it all worth it. 

So, if you’ve been looking for another platformer like Limbo, I highly recommend picking up this gem and getting lost in its enchanting world for a few hours. Alternatively, those who love the new Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom may enjoy its puzzle and exploration gameplay, which are incredibly similar in comparison. 

Studio Ghibli fans can also relish in the artwork and storyline of Planet of Lana, given that Wishfully co-founder took inspiration from the critically-acclaimed Spirited Away, amongst other films. At its core, it truly does feel like you are in a fascinating movie, only this time, you are the main character. 

Planet of Lana
It's been a while since a platformer captured my attention, but Planet of Lana immediately caught my eye with its picturesque scenery. In a way, it felt like I was controlling a character in an ever-changing painting featuring its own sets of challenges that enticed me to want to play more. The epic adventure also furthers the movie-like feel of the entire narrative, taking you on an enthralling journey from start to finish.
Pros
  • Beautiful scenary
  • Gripping storyline
  • Entertaining puzzles
  • Excellent team-based mechanics with a helpful companion
Cons
  • Occassional bugs here and there
  • No hint system for puzzle beginners
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S.

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Author
Kristina Ebanez
Kristina is a Staff Writer and has been with Twinfinite for more than a year. She typically covers Minecraft, The Sims 4, Disney Dreamlight Valley, anime, Call of Duty, and newly released games. She loves the Metal Gear Solid series (Snake Eater especially), Rockstar's Bully, the Horizon franchise, What Remains of Edith Finch, and many more. Her dog is also an avid video game watcher, primarily when there's a horse or a cat. She has a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and grew up gaming on the islands.