If anything, Planet Rix-13 will appeal to the achievements hunters, but few else. I’ll admit, before this one hit my lap, I hadn’t even heard of it, and, following an hour of play, I came to understand why. Planet Rix-13 serves itself as a 2D adventure that sees players taking on the role of space explorer that’s since made an emergency landing on a seemingly desolate planet. It becomes immediately clear that your not the planet’s first visitor, and in order to get back home, you’ll need to explore your surroundings and grasp some understanding.
Touching up on the game’s depth, or sheer lack thereof, Planet Rix-13 is far too easy to digest. You’ll begin the game alongside your damaged, fiery space ship. Here, you’ll get a firm idea as to how the game is to be played. The controls consist of little more than a button for interaction, a button for inventory browsing, a button for reading journal entries, and finally, movement via the left stick. That’s the bulk of play. Leaning on this foundation, you’ll move from one area to the next as you seek out helpful items needed to progress.
Each of the game’s few areas take little more than a few seconds to fully explore, with the aforementioned items dotted around each location. The game does pretty well at keeping you on your toes for its short hour-long running length, but any sense of true difficulty is oftentimes lost amidst the game’s linearity. Whilst it took me roughly an hour to complete, the game can indeed be nuked in half that time if you know where you’re going and what you’re expected to obtain. Furthermore, you can earn most achievements on one single run.
I daresay that Planet Rix-13 would have been a much better game if some more effort was spared for diversity. Though, as it stands, the game is far too simplistic in its approach. The main crux of play has you aimlessly wandering from one area to the next, picking up items, and backtracking to use said item in an area that you’ve already charted. Once that’s complete, you’ll typically get another item that you can use elsewhere. Rinse and repeat until the game is complete. That, ladies and gentlemen, pretty much sums up the game.
It doesn’t help matters that the game pretty much forces you to specific locations during its opening minutes, almost holding your hand as you plod through its meager adventure. Much of the help and guidance that you will pull from the game can be farmed from the computer stations that are situated at most of the areas within. These, however, are individually broken until you fix the server that they’re ultimately plugged into. The workaround? You’ll simply need to find server replacements and slot them into place.
These replacements are far from what you would consider to be hidden, often sitting in plain sight within each new area that you visit. What this creates is a layer of unnecessary backtracking, cheaply injecting more length into an otherwise poorly constructed experience. I can say the same about the previously alluded to items, and indeed, the few attempts the game makes at generating a puzzle. What’s the point in playing when every piece that you need is not just sitting in your natural path, but the only path you’ll take?
Exactly. That’s a thought that struck me several times throughout play. There’s not many areas to visit, either. Your world map will chart areas, with new areas introduced when you scan files. What doesn’t help matters is that most of these areas look identical to one another, relaying a clinical facility theme save the occasional area that attempts to stand out, such as a cave or an underground sewer. Once again, these areas take less than a few seconds to fully explore. You’ll visit, obtain something, piss off, and use that item elsewhere.
That’s really all there is to Planet Rix-13. It’s just cheap. Hell, even death comes cheaply. In fact, most of the game’s achievements are specific to dying in set ways. Whether you die by drowning, explosive blast, or poison gas, you’ll be credited for it. Mercifully, the game’s checkpoint system is generous, always positioning your respawn at the last area that you visited. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll obtain journal entries. These all serve to introduce some form of a back story, as well as offering up an occasional puzzle hint.
I’m not sure who the developer’s target audience is, but even for me, someone who is pretty shocking at puzzles, I found these to be far too easy. Early on, you’ll stumble upon a safe that requires a four-pin combination. However, a few minutes later, you’ll read a clip-note that states that a previous inhabitant set the pin to his birthday. Then, a few minutes later, you’ll get another clip-note that states what that birthday is. There’s just a complete lack of difficulty and depth here, and if anything, that only hurts the experience the most.
Eventually you’ll start to discover mystical crystals before stumbling upon an alter that requires four of them. I wont spoil the surprise (the game does a good enough job of that) but once you nab all four crystals, you’re done. Game over. Finito. The end. Planet Rix-13 comes to an abrupt halt, with no sense of pay-off given for your time. The ending is as cheap as everything else within. The games visual and audio design is equally as such; relaying generic audio cues and a presentation that a ten year old could likely recreate in MS Paint.
Planet Rix-13 consists of little more than constant fetch questing, with the majority of its necessities nonsensically strewn in plain view throughout its hour-long run. The problem that this generates, amidst its poorly structured story and its feeble puzzle work, is that it all feels far too guided. Despite its cheap cost, and unless you’re only looking to bulk up your Gamerscore, this game isn’t worth your time nor your attention.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.