“It’s like Dark Souls but” is one of the biggest clichés spamming the modern era of games critique. Games like the outstanding NieR: Automata are compared to the hardcore giant for introducing similar retrieval upon-death mechanics whereas the recent Crash Bandicoot remaster was hilariously compared to Souls for being just a wee bit difficult. It’s a comparison that makes sense in a lot of ways, in most cases that aren’t Crash, but one that ultimately decreases the focus on the new title by granting paragraphs of content to a six-year-old already successful game.
Immortal Planet is on a different level to other games in the genre and it’s quite a difficult title to talk about without bringing up its spiritual predecessor since it is quite obviously just a watered-down Souls game at its core. Designed from the ground up as an isometric love letter to FromSoftware’s masterpiece, Immortal Planet wears its inspiration on its sleeve. From bonfires (cryopods) to estus flasks (Immortal Blood), Immortal Planet is a Souls game through and through with a few key differences sprinkled through the cracks.
While the game’s aforementioned bonfire system and basic plot threads are remarkably similar—it is advertised as a series love letter after all—Immortal Planet’s combat system is much more unique than many may give it credit for. Still focused on mimicking Souls’ basic feel of combat, Immortal Planet relies heavily on stamina and health conversation, as well as a substantial reliance on speed and mobility.
Unforgiving and tense, Immortal Planet is the essential 2D Souls-like game.
Instead of backstabs and death-from-above moves (due to its switch to a flat isometric view) the game instead incorporates a handy little dash move which, while also replacing your roll, can be used to stun enemies if their stamina is low. This is one of Immortal Planet’s signature moves and getting through places like The Prison or The Archives will be near-impossible until you gain a decent understanding of the game’s stamina system. The dash-stun can be a sort of double-edged sword ,however; while you can use it a second time against an enemy to knock them off the environment after stunning them, performing a stun on an enemy with too much stamina can end with you hilariously stunning yourself.
The rest of the game’s combat system is entirely Souls driven. Light and heavy attacks, blocks and well-timed parries, spells and items to use; Immortal Planet is one of the most accurate Souls-like games to release so far. Veterans or even acquaintances of the Soulsborne genre should be immediately familiar with the game’s various mechanical changes following its brief-but-sweet tutorial, allowing any player to immediately jump in and start dying over and over again.
Oh, and die you will. With Immortal Planet’s decreased scale compared to that of other Soulslike games, the game’s difficulty has been increased tenfold. Damage and stamina values are very much increased throughout the entirety of Immortal Planet’s five-or-so hour journey. While the amplified values definitely help the game keep a steady line of difficulty, moving back through previous areas will reveal that levelling up your character by spending your Experiences (souls) does very little to increase your chances at all.
Very much like Souls, Immortal Planet’s biggest strength lays within its feeling of discovery. With a flatter plain of view and the lack of height to the environments, discovery never feels as satisfying as unearthing hidden pathways in Souls, but it does feel rewarding enough to keep you engaged throughout the journey. Items and spells from stamina overdrives to lightning bolts can be found throughout the game world with weapon types and variants hidden away requiring a lot of patience and learning of the environment to discover. While not all of these weapons are interesting in the long run, with the majority being basic variants on the weapon types, discovering improved forms of your favourite spear or sword can very much help in the long run against the game’s tougher bosses.
Those who have played any game in the Soulsborne genre know just how important boss fights are to the game’s overall experience. From Ornstein and Smoug to the Lord of Cinder, Soulsborne bosses provide players with grandeur scale, incredible difficulty (if you suck like me) and incredible music; the bosses in Souls reach a level that Immortal Planet disappointingly never manages. While always on the good side, bosses feel too similar to one another across the game with similar movesets and movement patterns; none of the bosses feel unique enough to keep you enthralled.
Immortal Planet is one of the better and more faithful games in the ever-expanding Souls-like genre. The game does a fantastic job of translating the Souls series into an isometric experience, but ultimately falls short of providing a top-tier experience worthy of its spiritual predecessor.
Unforgiving and tense, Immortal Planet is the essential 2D Souls-like game. While its boss design falters slightly through repetition, the game manages to create a worthwhile experience that emulates its spiritual successor in an isometric form while still introducing enough new mechanics to set itself out from the crowd.
- Available On: PC
- Published By: teedoubleuGAMES
- Developed By: teedoubleuGAMES
- Genre: Action RPG
- US Release Date:
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Unforgiving and tense, Immortal Planet is the essential 2D Souls-like game."