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First play: Surviving Lifeless Planet Premier Edition for Xbox One

While it lacks some of the polish you'd find on a AAA title from a big publisher, Lifeless Planet is a simple yet engaging experience that draws you into its ever developing plot the further into the world you explore.

"While seeking life on a distant planet, an astronaut discovers an abandoned Russian town. He suspects his mission is a hoax until a mysterious young woman saves him from a strange and deadly phenomenon... Lifeless Planet is a third-person action-adventure that features an old-school sci-fi story and spectacular environments in the spirit of classic action-adventures. After a hard landing on the planet, the astronaut discovers the planet that was reported to be rich with life is instead a barren wasteland. When he goes searching for his crew, he makes a more startling discovery: evidence that humans have already been to this planet years ago!"

Without giving away too much of the story (since the story is what'll draw you right in), you begin having crash landed on a seemingly desolate, lifeless, inhospitable world. You were supposed to be landed on a planet teeming with life, but instead you find yourself alone, low on Oxygen and supplies, in a bleak, desert like wilderness. As you begin to explore it doesn't take long to realize that the planet hasn't always been lifeless when you stumble into a town. More so, a town previously inhabited by settlers from the Soviet Union.

As you continue to explore you will discover you're not alone on the planet, drawn to a mysterious woman who leaves green footprints for you to follow her. Except she doesn't want you to follow her, but later on, your life depends on it. Following her eerie green footsteps as closely as you can keeps you safe from some pretty nasty things going on beneath the surface.

Lifeless Planet

The game world is expansive, but the game play is still pretty linear. There's a ton of space for you to explore, but ultimately you're directed to complete certain tasks, in certain places at certain times. Filling up your Oxygen supply, for example. This is one of the first things you need to do, with a replenishment lasting 8 hours. But you only ever begin to run out when you're in the vicinity of another tank to do it all over again. It's not totally straight forward as you still need to find them, but there are some visual clues to help you on your way.

It's a great pick-up-and-play experience with extremely straight forward controls. You can run. You can jump. And you can jump with a little bit of jetpack boost. At first that's pretty much it. As time progresses you pick up new tools, like a robot arm, and enhanced jetpack abilities, but it's very, very simple. There's nothing on the screen, either. Just your little Astronaut and the environment. Nothing distracting, nothing unnecessary.

But the story is possibly the single most exciting part of Lifeless Planet. It's been wonderfully written to the point where each little part of the world you're exploring opens it up a little bit more while raising another series of questions. What is the "Green Fire?" Who is this woman? And what were the Russians doing out here in the first place? And where is here?

Lifeless Planet

For an indie title, Lifeless Planet is very nicely done. I mentioned it lacks some of the polish you'd find from a big developer, and that's true. The graphics can get a little glitchy with items sort of disappearing into the ground and the frame rate can struggle in places. But, given that this is an ID@Xbox title, it generally looks fantastic. An immersive, well designed world.

So, is it worth spending $20 on? Only you can decide that but so far I'm not at all disappointed with the price or the experience. In a world of flashy, online multiplayer focused titles from big publishers, this is a refreshing alternative. A thoughtful, well designed single player game with a truly immersive story. And it shows once again how strong the ID@Xbox stable is becoming.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

17 Comments
  • But why does it have such a low metacritic score? That's the one thing keeping me from buying....
  • No idea. All I know is I'm not quitting until I finish the story. Not everyone likes the same things.
  • Yeah pretty much. From what I've gathered people are expecting something different as opposed to a straight story game with some simple puzzle mechanics. For $20 however....idk.
  • Metacritic is statistically meaningless. I wouldn't let it influence your buying decisions. You're better off reading select reviews from vetted sites and watching Twitch streams to see if it gels with you.
  • Coip is right. You're much better off following his advice.
  • This has been on Steam for months
  • It's center stage now. Like it or not, console brings games to media attention. Lack of curation on Steam is a problem. Too "open". Too much garbage, good stuff gets lost.
  • How long does it take to play the game through? I like story driven games but don't have a lot of time for gaming these days.
  • It doesn't take long, you can complete the game in a couple of hours. The game does have a unique atmosphere to it, which makes up for the somewhat short story
  • I'm excited about this one. You guys might have mentioned its discounted to $15.99 with XBG st least this week.
  • Am I the only one who looks at the shot of the little astronaut in vast expanse, and thinks it is my type of game? I like what I see, but really fancy trying it out. I'd have been happier if it had a demo, but it intrigues me. Shame Paul hasn't streamed this yet, I'm a cautious buyer.
  • Just a question if someone could answer. Does ID@Xbox games have achievements also?
  • Yup. This one even gives you one for dying.
  • All games on Xbox One have 1000 gamerscore at launch. The lower prices of the ID@Xbox games are therefore a great bargain for people wanting to rack up gamerscore points.
  • Throwing this one on the backlog!
  • I love it.  The storyline is almost a throwback to stories from the old Twilight Zone and Hitchcock days. This is my kind of imaginative immersive game. The story is more the game than the game itself. Perfect.
  • Personally I think this is the most boring game yet. Sand and more sand hills you cant climb and well nothing found a blue dot that apparently is rife on earth. Should have stayed there. Refund.