Point N Click adventure Planet RIX-13 suffers from two major problems that are baked into the very fabric and design of the game itself. The first is that the game is over before its really got it hooks into you. The second is that your progress is often made by having to make mistakes first about things you probably shouldn’t even know about.
You crash land on an alien planet. You move towards your spaceship and immediately die. Oh. You move the other way and find a new area or two and get to wander around searching for clues until you die somewhere else. Oh. It is through this trial and error format of death and respawn that you funnel down your already limited choice to target the right area. Planet RIX-13 gives you a giant map but in reality you’ll be using about ten areas throughout the games hour of play. Once you work out where you’ve died, you’ll be hunting around CPU terminals and picking up objects to see what gives you the information or equipment to proceed.
That kind of trial and error gameplay is not ideal but when the story is engaging or the world around you offers the incentive to continue, a game can make that work. Planet RIX-13 offers neither of those with a bare bones story and green and brown graphics that offer little in charm. I found myself quite unengaged and going through the motions.
Then occasionally, the game throws you a curveball that surprises you. There are two endings to get. There is a signal tracker mini-game that was genuinely interesting. Rooting through terminal entries to find clues was satisfying. There is a timed puzzle where water fills up a room and you need to get the solution before you drown. It is lenient but it changed things up and I wished there was more diversity in the puzzles like this. Instead, it plays silly buggers by making you gently shuffle (sneak) through a swap to avoid a monster but never tells you this.
I sound like I’ve moaned my way through this review and to be honest, I have. I felt like with a few tweaks and a bit of refocusing, there is a decent game in Planet RIX-13 somewhere. Maybe it was lost in the constant walking down the same five corridors over and over again. For a game that has a runtime of two hours maximum, about 25% of it will be spent walking down the same long corridors over and over. It felt like game padding and left me cold. This was just one adventure I was never on board with.
Review copy provided by publisher.
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