STAFF REVIEW of Planet of the Eyes (Xbox One)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
by Chad Goodmurphy

Planet of the Eyes Box art Narrative-driven, LIMBO-style puzzle/platformers have become popular ever since PlayDead unleashed the challenging, black and white-hued tale of a boy who finds himself on the edge of Hell. We recently reviewed Black the Fall, which took a similar form, and now there’s Planet of the Eyes, which has just migrated over from Steam.

Developed by Toronto-based Cococucumber, Planet of the Eyes is a short but memorable game that was crafted with help from the Ontario government. Their efforts, support, and aid paid off too, as the title ended up as a finalist for “Best Indie Game” at the Canadian Video Game Awards. That’s an honour that not only hangs prominently everywhere this thing is sold, but one that is also well deserved, even if there are factors that keep the interplanetary experience from being exceptionally great.

This brief one-and-half hour-long tale begins after a crash landing, during which a human piloted craft has found itself marooned on an alien planet. That is, the titular Planet of the Eyes, which forms the environment in which this entire excursion takes place. However, while such a name promises something epic, perhaps in the over-exaggerated style of 1950s science fiction, it doesn’t deliver as much as it could’ve in that department. The planet is home to quite a few eyes, many of which have tentacles for bodies, but they're not focused upon enough given the name.


At the centre of this alien excursion is an unnamed, sentient robot, whose creator speaks to him through discarded audiotapes. Our hero, who never speaks or utters any sort of distinguishable form of dialogue, awakens outside the large shuttle craft and is propelled from left to right as ‘he’ explores his new surroundings. What results is a LIMBO-esque puzzle platformer, which combines both physics and environmental hazards to create the majority of its thinking man’s challenges. After all, fictional alien planets are never portrayed as hospitable environments, and this one is no different, what with its falling lava, robot-eating fauna and pinpointing laser beams.

Don’t go into Planet of the Eyes expecting something super challenging, or even obtuse, because you won’t find it here. Instead, what results from the aforementioned premise is a game that makes you think but is hardly ever punishing, or even all that challenging. Instead, the experience that exists is quite serene, explorative and fantastical as opposed to being downright difficult or frustration inducing. Its short length aids this too, because the game never overstays its welcome or becomes boring. Then again, the other side of the argument is that an hour-and-a-half is perhaps too short for such a title.

It’s good to take your time here, because there are hidden secrets and caverns to explore, as well some water-filled depths to swim. Beware of the monsters – electric eels, large fish, dangerous plants, giant spiders and robot eating beetles – that exist throughout though, because they care little about ending one’s metallic life. This exploration certainly has its rewards, because achievement seekers will find that almost all of the game’s Gamerscore rewards are based around going off the beaten path.


Outside of being able to walk and jump (decently, but not with the same grace and execution as Mario or Luigi), this unnamed grey robot can not only swim, but also grab onto things and use vines to swing. This allows him to get across dangerous crevasses; which is something that is also accomplished by using the world’s physics to your advantage. Through this, falling platforms, sliding trees and self-propelled carts become friends and allies, and act as the only way forward despite their occasional attempts to kill you.

Visually, Planet of the Eyes is a treat, albeit a basic one. Despite using a Flash-style engine to create its characters, environments, and everything that exists within them, Cococucumber’s flagship effort stands out due to its use of colour. The music and sound effects are also very fitting, while the only voice of any sort comes from the robot’s AI creator who fleshes out the storyline with his plot and relationship driven dialogue.


At the end of the day, Planet of the Eyes’ value depends on the type of gamer you are. If you’re someone with limited spending ability, or someone who values substance, then this may not be the title for you since it’s very short and doesn’t have a lot of replay value. However, if you’re someone who likes to have different experiences within the realm of gaming, or someone who simply likes to support solid and ambitious indie titles, then this is something to definitely look into. After all, there’s a good game here, even if it’s over rather quickly.

***This review is based on a copy of the game that we were provided with***




Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.6 / 10
Visuals: 7.2 / 10
Sound: 7.1 / 10

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