Mankind is at or near the top of our own food chain, but what if we were much closer to the bottom with only our wits and a furry little companion to rely on for our survival? That will be precisely the challenge ahead of us when indie Swedish developer Wishfully Studios launches their beautiful side-scrolling adventure Planet of Lana in 2022.
The eponymous protagonist lives in a world where "humans, animals, and machines live side by side" but certainly not in harmony. Everywhere you'll find "fierce wildlife" and other "obvious terrors of cold-hearted machines and giant monsters" to contend with. Even the planet itself is full of vast but "unpredictable eco-systems" that pose an ever-present danger. Against this jeopardous backdrop, young Lana must set out on foot in search of her little sister, who has been "captured by a newly-arrived group of intelligent machines." Determined to "out-think an entire planet," Lana's only hope is to team up with her "tiny, canine-like friend Mui" in order to overcome all the perils in their path.
Described as a "cinematic" adventure whose "core mechanics revolve around puzzle solving and platforming," Planet of Lana shares much in common with the likes of LIMBO and INSIDE (including "lots of dying") but promises to be more story-driven than most of its side-scrolling contemporaries. The colourful presentation belies its grim premise, taking players through a variety of lovely hand-drawn environments including "deserts, taigas, mountains, and seas." Don't let its beauty fool you, however, as this is a "ruthless and hazardous place" for a small defenseless child.
Fortunately Lana has her "intelligent, unwavering companion" Mui at her side after discovering the poor creature similarly left all alone. The two have their own "traits, abilities, and sizes" that must be used both individually and cooperatively to succeed. Players do not switch control between Lana and Mui directly; instead Mui will act with complete autonomy until given a command to follow. Along the way, the pair will come to "grow dependent on each other" emotionally as well as physically.
As good as all that sounds, unfortunately we'll have to wait until 2022 until we see Planet of Lana released. The game is currently under development for PC and next gen consoles, though no particular platforms have yet been confirmed. To follow its progress, visit the developer's website for ongoing details.