Lovely Planet Arcade is a fast, challenging deconstruction of old school FPS design that can be frustrating, but makes up for it with heaps of charm.
A deceptively difficult shooter, Lovely Planet Arcade mixes adorable graphics with addictive action and a great soundtrack.
Was it what you guessed it would be? Fans of puzzle games and first-person shooters alike will probably find a lot to love in Lovely Planet Arcade, but much of the game is spent feeling stupid for something you wouldn't have known anyway. While the simple graphics are charming, and the music leaves a lot to be desired, Lovely Planet Arcade will either feel like a challenging mentor, or a schoolyard bully, depending on how you as a gamer play.
Verdict: A sequel only by sight, Lovely Planet Arcade is too frustrating to be enjoyable despite its pedigree.
In some ways, Lovely Planet Arcade is more of a puzzle game than an action shooter, in the strictest sense
All in all, Lovely Planet Arcade succeeds at what it sets out to do: creating a tight, compact and solid package of puzzle-solving and first-person shooting. Every part of the game comes together just right. It may not be particularly ambitious, but that's because it doesn't need to be. It certainly manages to delight, surprise and tickle more than games with exponentially larger budgets and sizes. That's really all anyone can ask for from an arcade.
The highlight of Lovely Planet Arcade is the fast paced combat combined with the puzzles of the levels. It gives the game a surprising challenge to it and makes it really satisfying to combine your reflexes and intellect to blast through a stage as fast as you can.
I'm glad that the developer of Lovely Planet Arcade chose to make significant changes for the sequel, but I'm not convinced that these changes were successful. Arcade doesn't scratch the same itches that the first game did, nor does the new gameplay come together in a satisfying way. It's certainly not a bad game, but it lacks the joyous free-form nature of the original game. I'd strongly recommend that newcomers to the series start with Lovely Planet, and only move onto Arcade if searching for a different type of challenge in the same style.
Lovely Planet Arcade is a game that proves it can be a first-person shooter worth playing without ever having to resort to showing you gore or anything grotesque, and still be enjoyable.