Planet Explorers is an open world, sandbox adventure, RPG. What this means is that it's basically Minecraft. IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! Set on the planet Maria in the year 2287, you are the survivor of a crashed spacecraft, supposed to be landing on Maria to colonise it as a new planet for humanity!
To start any of the modes you first need to create your own character, the creator being a choice of presets that you can then change slightly with sliders. In the story mode you’re then thrust into the world of Planet Explorer, standing beside the crashed wreck of your escape ship with your fellow survivor, Gerdy. Gerdy is an important part of Planet Explorer’s story mode. She’s the person who gives you your missions, which are basically fetch quests and tutorials to give you a feel of what you actually do in the game.
The game itself has you go out into the world, collect resources from flowers, trees, creatures, digging, mining etc and using those resources to craft things, in the same vein as Minecraft and No Man’s Sky. What sets Planet Explorer aside from the big boys of the genre is how complicated and nuanced the crafting can be. You can just create things from recipes you get in the game or you can use the game’s more complicated method where you can use your materials to create whatever sword, gun or vehicle you want. You can add on to parts that you find in the world or you can create what you want from scratch. It’s a powerful enough crafting system that people have been creating all manner of impressive things like automatic rifles, Apache helicopters and even the catbus from My Neighbour Totoro. Your imagination, and ability, is the limit. As you can imagine, a tool that lets you build such complicated things will take a while for people to get used to. Those of you that are already whizzes with the software Solidworks might be able to conjure up awesome creations with ease, but for the rest of us we’ll need a fair few hours to get accustomed to it. Very impressive for such a small scale game.
Unfortunately for Planet Explorers there's not really much else beyond it’s impressive crafting system. Like Minecraft and No Man’s Sky there isn’t anything beyond crafting then using your new items to get more items to craft more stuff, the cycle never ending. While you can create a fighter jet, there’s not much point to actually doing it, except perhaps internet cred! Along with the lack of things to do the camera system is also a bit problematic. To move the camera you first need to hold down the right mouse button and then move the camera. This can be very fiddly, needlessly annoying and induce motion sickness. This meant I was only able to play in small bursts. While not bad enough to make me actually spew, it still made me feel pretty horrible and forced me to stop playing.
Planet Explorers does have other modes, but they’re basically just variants of the story mode, without the story. You start off on the planet, you explore, get materials, build weapons and encampments, you get more resources to build bigger and better things. Or so I assume as I wasn’t able to play the multiplayer due to lack of anybody else playing. So I assume you do the same thing and can kill each other? Or you work together to fight hordes of creatures? Despite giving it as long as I could and checking often I was never able to find out anything about this mode.
It must be said that the game looks really good for a game made by a small studio and the soundtrack is way better than it has any right in being. Pathea Games have obviously put a lot of time, thought and love into this game and it really does show. If this had been from a Triple A developer there would have been a lot of buzz around this game.
Planet Explorers (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Verdict: A game that is lovingly made, with a very interesting crafting system. Unfortunately, due to a lack of goals, purpose or anyone one else playing it has very low playability.