Game-related ramblings.

Month: April 2015

Space Waddle: Lifeless Planet

As always, you can click on images to view larger versions.

After spending some time with games without stories, I needed something to ease my way back into story-heavy games. I ended up selecting another title from my backlog, one that is much more like what I thought In Ruins would be: a game about wandering through a beautiful landscape, with a story that is mostly told rather than played. The game, of course, is Lifeless Planet by Stage 2 Studios. I didn’t use a hyperlink there because the game’s homepage actually contains spoilers for the game, which is unfortunate. So be warned before you click on the following link to the game’s page.

Lifeless Planet is a game about an little astronaut who lumbers around the gorgeous vistas of the titular planet with a pleasing low-gravity space waddle. As he explores, of course, spoilers happen. I will endeavor not to spoil anything about the game’s story here, because the surprises it offers are a huge part of the game’s appeal, but I will discuss how that story is told, along with all the other things the game does well.

Games Without Stories

As always, you can click on images to see larger versions.

After finishing The Witcher 2, with its epic and dark tale full of twists, betrayals, and monsters — human and otherwise — I decided I needed a break from games with strong stories. I love story-focused games, as any longtime reader will know, but such games require something of an investment every time I play. I need to remind myself of everything that’s happened so far, and let myself get absorbed by the events unfolding before me. This makes it hard to play such games in short spurts. Normally, when I only have a little time to play, I favor roguelikes or other games with shorter play sessions, but even these involve stories, although they are written in large part by the player. The time investment may be smaller, but the investment in the unfolding story is not.

So I decided to seek out games without any stories. I’ve played some games like this before, but tired of them before I was finished. I think that’s because I tried to play them the way I play story-heavy games: all at once, to the exclusion of most other games, until I’ve finished. This time, I thought I’d tackle a few of these games simultaneously, returning to them occasionally when I’m in the mood, alongside whatever else I decide to play. I’ve written about three of them here.

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