This Planet Wants You To Improve It, but It Won't Like Anything You Do

Will 'This Little Planet' ever be perfect? It's a hard ask.

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Dec 18 2017, 4:39pm

All images courtesy Lucas Lima

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In the dark, barren, low-poly void of infinite space, there is a nameless planet and its creator. The creator seeks perfection and is plagued by self-doubt and indecision, as is the case with many artists. But hey, since you’re here, do you think you could help out? Together, This Little Planet could become something really special—it could become truly perfect.

Developed by Lucas Lima, This Little Planet is a stylish, moody word on the pursuit of artistic and self perfection, and in a broader sense, the concept of control over our physical lives. The player solves basic perspective puzzles to change the topography of the creator’s small planetoid, with each successive change building a slow disappointment in the planet’s owner. Eventually, the creator finds an alternative solution to their problem, and the player is left to decide whether they want to continue being a part of the exercise.

Like the puzzles, the game’s message is a matter of perspective. If the player is viewed as a unique entity from the creator, then This Little Planet is a cautionary tale about giving someone what they want, rather than what they need. If the creator is speaking to themselves and the planet represents their body, it’s a commentary on self-acceptance. Interpret the planet as an abstraction of our physical experience as living beings, and it’s a game about the futility of exerting control beyond our means.

It’s well nuanced for being as short as it is—there are certainly other interpretations, both uplifting and damning, that I’m not touching on—though it can also be heavy handed in ensuring the player gets it. Still, This Little Planet is subtle and surprising, with a charming aesthetic that occasionally swings into an antediluvian flavor not entirely unlike Myst, however briefly.

This Little Planet is available free on Windows via itch.io.

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