Immediately appealing to the eye, Planet of Lana instantly draws you into its world. A fairly varied mix of platforming, puzzling and stealth has you guiding Lana across her beautiful planet in search of her older sister Ilo, who was abducted by an alien drone soon after the planet was invaded.
Along the way you rescue an extremely agile if stumpy cat-type thing named Mui, who becomes a loyal friend and companion. Mui helps you, sometimes in a passive way (knocking ropes down for you) and other times in a sort-of single player co-op mode as you get him to stay on a pressure switch to allow Lana to progress, or maybe sometimes vice-versa. Later a new mechanic is added whereby you can command Mui to a certain spot to perform a task, hypnotise certain creatures and even transport him to places unreachable to Lana. Unless you have a heart of stone and a brain of poop, you'll form one heck of an attachment to Mui.
Solving the diverse puzzles requires skill and timing, and there are a few surprises. The various invading alien robots and drones, as well as some dangerous native animals (including a one-eyed boar-like creature that charges at you if it sees you) need to be avoided, and their behaviour patterns learned, or they need to be controlled. As well as Mui's hypnosis trick, Lana learns how to hack and control some of the drones and use them to advance her and Mui's progress.The game has a few easy quick-time events. These can be turned off in the options, but they do add to the drama.
Planet of Lana has quite a few "empty" screens that are completely free of enemies or obstacles, and have you simply running to the right, but this is just worldbuilding and helps give the game a more epic feel, especially when the camera zooms out so far that Lana is barely a speck on the screen.
Planet of Lana owes much to 80s/90s 2D classics like Prince of Persia, Another World (Out of this World in the US) and Flashback, but lovers of genre leaders like Limbo and Inside, or even more recent games like Somerville and My Friend Pedro will love Planet of Lana–despite or maybe because of its lack of guns and explosions.
To accompany all the ambient sounds and deep rumbling of the alien ships and machinery, there is some great incidental music and a gorgeous emotional ballad sung by Siobhan Wilson.
Completion time is around 3-4 hours, and finding all of the shrines in the game isn't easy–a chapter select makes replaying sections a pleasure. I'd love to find fault with Planet of Lana, but really can't. Its graphics are extremely basic by today's standards, yet are rarely less than beautiful or atmospheric to behold. At a price of only £16.99 (and it's on GamePass), there's no reason to miss out on what will be one of the most memorable games of the year.