Planet of Lana is a cinematic puzzle platformer by Wishfully, in which you save the planet from invading robots.
You play as Lana and quickly acquire a small cat-like companion, Mui. Puzzles are the biggest part of the game. If you’ve played any cinematic puzzle games before, you’ll be familiar with the kind of puzzles featured here, including box pushing, separate paths for you and Mui, and baiting dangerous robots away from the path you need to take. There’s nothing super original here gameplay-wise and it’s all relatively easy, but it’s well executed for what it is.
There’s also a traversal aspect to the game. You can run and jump, and you’ll often run while looking at beautiful vistas and listening to the sweeping score. The art mixes 3D and 2D elements seamlessly, and the whole game just looks nice. In some places, it felt like the score was a bit too epic for what was happening on screen, but the music and painterly visuals add a crucial emotional dimension to the game.
The story is told through animation and voice acting in an invented language, leaving it mostly wordless. This leaves the story simple and archetypal, with no real depth outside of context clues and the emotional visuals and music. Technically speaking, there seems to be a sci-fi backstory as to why the robots are invading, but it’s not meaningful to the experience. The story isn’t bad per se; it’s just simple and vibes-based.
The story begins when your sister and your entire village are kidnapped by robots, but you spend the most time with Mui, who is in some ways the core of the story. Both Lana and Mui have unique abilities, and you’ll often need to separate the two to solve puzzles, which makes for some of the most interesting puzzles in the game. You can pat Mui, and the two seem to grow a connection, but a heavy part of the emotional lifting is done by the fact Mui is cute.
Planet of Lana is around three and a half hours long, which avoids outstaying its welcome but is also notably short. It’s about the length of a long movie, but with much less compressed storytelling because you spend a lot of that time doing puzzles.
A couple of puzzles involve walking offscreen to find puzzle elements, which led to my getting stuck, assuming the game wouldn’t ask me to walk backwards to find clues. Other than that, the puzzles and the platforming both provide a smooth experience to deliver the story, which did manage to connect with me a little bit, even if it lacked a strong emotional punch.
If you’ve enjoyed other cinematic puzzle platformers, you’ll probably like this one, but there isn’t anything particularly new to recommend it other than its beautiful visuals. If you haven’t liked other games in this subgenre, this won’t change your mind.
Planet of Lana releases May 23 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and PC and is also available on Xbox Game Pass.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Planet of Lana.