Immortal Planet by TeedoubleuGames is another challenging foray into the Souls-Like formula. The twist this time is that the game is viewed from an isometric perspective. The game is all about the word “punish,” but is having infinite lives enough to get around some frustrating design?
The story of Immortal Planet takes place on a planet ruled by an immortal race of warriors. After being awaken for thousands of years, the majority of them have gone insane. You play as the last warrior to wake up to find their race lost.
Immortal Planet definitely leans into the souls-like genre. The environment and enemy placements are all hard-coded. Each area has different enemy types and a big boss to defeat. Killing enemies will drop resources that are used to level up; getting killed will drop them to the ground.
The level design is well done. Each area is designed to be circular, in the sense that it’s about unlocking shortcuts that take you back to the start rather than just pushing forward. The combat system is all about pacing and punishes.
Combat in Immortal Planet is obviously a major part of the design. While your character is slow, you are able to dash along with blocking and attacking.
Stamina drain is the name of the game; for both you and your enemies. Every character in the game (including bosses) has a stamina meter that drains while attacking. Running out of stamina prevents you from attacking, but there’s a twist. If you dash into an enemy with less than 1/4 of stamina, you will stun them and be allowed to attack them without impunity. However, if an enemy runs into you or you dash at the wrong time, you will be stunned.
All the enemies in the game are tuned very high in terms of damage, and it’s easy to be quickly killed. Despite having a great sense of pace, the combat system of Immortal Planet takes me to my main problems with the game.
Immortal Planet was designed by the creator of the high-speed game Ronin, and you can see the influences in terms of flow and pacing. The problem is that when we’re talking about games at this level of challenge and player skill, any little issues can upset the game.
First is that the game definitely falls on the “obscuring” side when it comes to advanced options and features. I made it all the way to the final boss without realizing there was a shop or what one stat did.
Then there were some inconsistencies or just uneven difficulty spikes depending on the enemies. Several late game bosses had skills that wouldn’t drain their stamina; effectively removing the ability to punish them. Two bosses proved so difficult, that the safest way I found to beat them was to exploit their AI behavior rather than fighting them.
Due to the isometric perspective, I had trouble sometimes seeing the animation tells for when enemies were attacking. There were also cases of enemies who could immediately go into their next attack without any delay from the previous.
Immortal Planet is a frustrating game to play due to little issues undermining the experience. When you’re designing a game around such a high skill curve, you need to be really careful in terms of balance.
Even though the game isn’t bad, it doesn’t feel like all the elements are coming together to create an experience that’s rewarding to the player. For more on Immortal Planet, you can check out my run of it on the Game-Wisdom YouTube channel.