Immortal Planet is an action-rpg reminescent of the Souls series. A measured, methodical approach will reap rewards of victory, while reckless button mashing guarantees failure. Discover the secrets of a world of immortals trapped in an existence void of meaning and freedom. Explore the ruins of a once great world, fight epic battles and escape the endless cycle of imortality.
Souls-like game progression and mechanics
Rich combat system
Many weapon, perk, ability combinations for lots of replay-ability.
4-10 hours first play-through.
July 27, 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Rating: Not rated as of this review
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then FromSoftware must feel very honored. The popularity and infamy of their Souls‘ series has spawned a host of games that seek to emulate and capitalize on that winning formula. Immortal Planet is no exception, combining many of the elements that set the Souls series apart.
However, imitation has its drawbacks, and comparisons between derived game and original are inevitable. The expectations to match or transcend the original game often sink many otherwise decent games. Immortal Planet suffers from some design flaws however teedoubleuGAMES has done justice to paying homage to their source of inspiration while simultaneously creating a game able to stand on its own.
Violence: Almost every weapon strike sprays the ground with red and blue blood. The main character dies by turning into ice and falling apart. The stylized art direction prevents the game from looking gory or visceral.
Spiritual Content: The narrative in Immortal Planet is minimalist, however the little it features contains deep theological and philosophical implications. The game’s protagonist is a member of a race of immortals. Immortality presents this race with a deep existential crisis: what good is an immortal life devoid of meaning? Each of the game’s areas are home to a group of immortals who have adopted a distinct way to live out their immortality. Among these, some rebelled against the status quo, while others started a cult to worship the icy, barren planet they live on.
Discussions concerning meaning and purpose often focus on the temporal, however the story of Immortal Planet forces one to think about what these things mean in light of everlasting life. Is endless existence a toil that eliminates all meaning and joy from living? Many fictional works wrestle with this theme. The games Planetscape Torment and Lost Odyssey both contain protagonists who are immortal and struggle with finding purpose. In the movie Troy (2004), Achilles says to his captive, “Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed.” In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, the immortal Elves envy the “Gift” of men, which is their mortality. If correct, this view reduces meaning to supply and demand economics; the scarcer the resource, the more valuable it is. Thus, the beauty of life is that it ends quickly.
The Christian narrative culminates with everlasting life and blissful existence for those who are with God. However, will that state be void of meaning like Immortal Planet‘s inhabitants? Scripture provides little in the way of detail about the next life, but what it does say implies the opposite of a bleak existence. Perhaps, if one lived forever in a broken and sinful world despair would inevitably ensue. However, Rev. 21 implies that the beauty and meaning of that life will be found in the relational reality brought about by God making His dwelling with men. It seems that the greatest part of everlasting life is not immortality in itself, but getting to share it with the source of life itself.
Language: No vulgar word usage.
Alcohol/Drug Use: The player can inject their character with immortal blood for healing and other substances for other enhancements to the gameplay experience. However, some of these substances have negative side effects.
Positive Content: The game’s story invites dialogue about many great theological and philosophical questions i.e. questions of immortality, free will, and personal identity.
Developer teedoubleuGames has a winner on its hands with Immortal Planet. The game successfully draws inspiration from the Souls games, while simultaneously incorporating elements to distinguish itself from other imitators. The result is an action-packed adventure full of epic battles in a planet full of secrets to discover. The game has some missteps but the overall experience is still enjoyable.
Immortal Planet implements several game mechanics from the Souls games: methodical combat, character progression, loss of all unspent experience upon death and the opportunity to recover that experience after respawning. The combat is fast and visceral, leaving very little room for mistakes. However, the game is not merely a by-the-numbers copy of the Souls formula. The developer enriches the game experience by introducing new mechanisms and enhancing some old ones.
The game augments stamina management by implementing a visible stamina bar for enemies. Performing a dash into an enemy with sufficiently low stamina stuns them for a time. This mechanic has a degree of risk however, as dashing into an enemy with full stamina will stun the player’s character instead. The risk is worth it as tougher enemies can be lured to the edges of platforms and knocked off for a quick kill.
The combat in Immortal Planet offers some unique twists. The player’s choice of weapon in the beginning changes the play mechanics quite a bit. Weapons vary in range and damage output. Each weapon has a unique alternate mode that increases its range and damage at the cost of additional stamina consumption. Some weapons have an additional special effect or attack when “Awakened mode” is activated. Choosing the right weapon mode in each circumstance is the difference between victory or a long trek back to collect your dropped XP. Alongside their weapon, the player has abilities and items available to them that add to the tactical element of the combat.
As fun as it is, the combat does have some flaws. The enemy encounters are frustratingly hard until learning the AI patterns, then the fights become much too easy. While button-mashing will never work, the cracks in the AI allow for bolder and less methodical play styles. Enemies in the Souls games demand respect—Immortal Planet‘s enemies are frightening at first but that fear fades rather rapidly. Boss fights in Demon’s Souls are epic battles with larger-than-life adversaries. Immortal Planet‘s boss fights are fun, but ultimately fail to inspire the same dread and awe as those in its source material.
The game features intuitive level design which eliminates unnecessary backtracking. The design of each area revolves around a singular save hub. As the player progresses, new paths open up allowing them to bypass previously explored sections. Inevitably, the player will die many times but the design allows for a quick return to the place of death. Subtle clues in each area aid the player’s progress and prevent aimless wandering.
Immortal Planet has a meager narrative conveyed through encounters with the few inhabitants that haven’t lost their minds. The story feels like a jigsaw puzzle which promises a beautiful landscape upon completion but in the end it is missing some pieces. The game ends without solid answers to the deep questions posited throughout. A bit more narrative would have rounded out the game experience and made a good game feel great.
Review copy generously provided by teedoubleuGAMES.
+ Unique gameplay elements
+ Challenging Souls-like game mechanics
+ Lots of replay value, due to different weapons, perks and play styles
- Enemy AI has flaws and attack patterns are easily discerned
- The lack of a full story takes away from the game experience