Achievement/Trophy unlock ratios can be mildly fascinating. When researching our annual round-up of terrible games, for instance, we discovered most gamers gave up on the hellish adventure Agony before even reaching the second level. As for fellow 2018 flop Extinction, it seems that the majority could only stomach its inane repetition for a couple of hours, tops.
Now here’s a game that’ll leave nobody behind. Planet RIX-13 is not only an incredibly straightforward affair, to the point that it’s hard to imagine anybody becoming stuck for more than a couple of minutes, but it also takes just an hour to complete.
Don’t jump the gun here. While short and a little lacking on challenge, this pixel art adventure – a modern take on the point ‘n click genre – is also hard to fault without resorting to nit-picking. That’s to say, it’s a short experience that’s executed in a manner most confident. We should also note that it’s launching at a low price point of around £4, depending on format, which excuses its brevity.
You play as a space traveller who has crash landed just outside of an off-world science facility. After escaping the wreckage of their craft and patching themselves up, it soon becomes apparent something has gone awry. Not only is the facility in need of repair, but the scientists have suffered a cruel fate, seemingly at the hands of something unworldly.
It’s up to you to finish their work, discover what happened, and escape the facility.
The first port of call is getting the facility up and running by collecting server parts, repairing the power generator, and recalibrating the radars. Or to be more exact: item scavenging and some light puzzle solving. There are also a few instances where vital information, is cryptically hidden within e-mails and similar documents, accessed via computer terminals.
One science lab has a 3D printer which must be backtracked to a few times after finding blueprints. Worry not, as backtracking isn’t unpleasurable – the gameworld comprises of a dozen locations no bigger than a handful of screens each.
The game’s interface is pleasingly simplistic – objects that can be interacted with have a green outline when stood in front of them, while the inventory is automatically managed. This isn’t one of those adventure games that forces you to try everything in your inventory until finally stumbling on the correct solution. In fact, there’s a great deal of logic on display – each and every item’s use is immediately obvious, making progression a breeze.
While the pixel art visuals are rather chunky and basic, they’re also bold, clean and well-defined, making it almost impossible to overlook an object you may require later down the line. The few puzzles are all quite basic too, but still enjoyable to solve. And while the developers weren’t brave enough to include combat, it is still possible to die by entering certain areas without the appropriate equipment. Somewhat amusingly, most of the achievements are linked to dying in different ways.
Without wanting to spoil anything, the game’s second half is more surreal than the first, leading to a couple of memorable moments. The story as a whole is rather forgettable, however. To reiterate: this is a simple game in more ways than one. You’ve doubtlessly picked up on this theme already.
Planet RIX-13 is from ground-breaking, but it still proves to be a competently put together experience that’s compelling enough to see through to the end. The developers had to a story to tell, and they’ve successfully managed to achieve their vision, albeit in a very straightforward manner.
If you ever find yourself with an hour to kill, it’s worth considering.