planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~
Gameplay 9
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Planetarian is set 30 years after a devastating war pretty much ended the world and follows the story of an unnamed man entering the ruins of a dangerous city looking for things to scavenge. Instead of supplies, he finds a friendly robot waiting with unwavering optimism for customers to return to the planetarium where she works. The story is rather bleak, but like other titles by Key, it is very moving and quite memorable.

Gameplay: Planetarium is a kinetic novel so there are no choices or branching paths, but although short and linear the story is very good.

Graphics: The visuals show their age with static backgrounds and limited sprites, but the overall art style is still good.

Sound: The game features full voice acting for both its primary characters and is accompanied by a melancholic soundtrack that is quite haunting

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~

Developer: VisualArts/Key | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2004 | Genre: Kinetic Novel | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

The Space Colonization Program was supposed to be one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments, but thirty years after its failure humanity is nearly extinct. While the wars that wiped out almost everyone are over the deadly Rain left in their wake continues falling. Planetarian opens with an unnamed “Junker” arriving at the dangerous ruins of what is called a “Sarcophagus City.” Like other Junkers, he makes a living scavenging from the ruins of civilization, but the pickings are slim and danger is always present in the form of automated war machines. After sneaking into the city, the Junker discovers what he believes to be a military installation, but in reality, it is a department store with a pre-War planetarium on the roof. It is here that he meets Hoshino Yumemi, a robot who has been waiting for the past 30 years for a customer to cross the doorstep and attend a show.

Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet is a kinetic novel from Key, the game studio known for titles such as Clannad, Air, and Kanon. It was originally released in 2004, but it took a fair amount of time for it to reach Western shores with an official translation. Planetarian is a much shorter experience than other Key titles, but unsurprisingly still packs an emotional punch. The story is told from the perspective of the unnamed Junker who is quickly christened “Mr. Customer” by the friendly gynoid watching over the planetarium. The Junker is dismayed by the relentlessly optimistic robot who seemingly cannot grasp what has happened to the world outside the planetarium. Despite spending the past 30 years on her own, she remains convinced that her co-workers and customers will return. Unfortunately, the Junker knows that things are unlikely to ever return to normal in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Planetarian is split up into sixteen short chapters that chronicle the interaction between the Junker and Yumemi. Although initially annoyed by the constant talking of the robot, the Junker stays at the planetarium far longer than what is necessary or safe for him. Yumemi is eager to narrate the show for him, but unfortunately, the projector is broken and the Junker takes it upon himself to fix it. Since it is a kinetic novel, there are no choices to be made or different paths and the story leads to a single, tragic ending. Players who watch it on auto-play using the default settings will be looking at the credits in just under five hours, but those who prefer reading at a faster pace will complete it even sooner.

Since it is such a short experience there isn’t much more we can say about the story without spoilers, but players who are familiar with Key’s other titles should know what to expect. The writing for Planetarian is really good and despite only featuring the Junker and Yumemi there are plenty of memorable scenes. The visuals definitely show their age and Planetarian can’t hope to compete with modern titles that feature things like LIVE2D. Nevertheless, the static backgrounds and limited sprites adequately convey the message of the game. The soundtrack is as melancholic as one would expect considering the bleak nature of the game and both the Junker as well as Yumemi are fully voiced. The voice acting is in Japanese only, but there’s no mistaking the emotion involved. The controls are limited to pressing a button to advance the dialog, but as mentioned earlier, this can be set to auto for players who want to experience the game more like a movie.

Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet is a great title, but it is short and something that most players will only want to experience once. Completing the game rewards players with a CG gallery and a music player, but there are no alternative routes or endings to explore. The story is rather bleak and while there are lighthearted moments and brief shimmers of hope, it’s not a title for people who like happy endings. It should also be noted that this version of the game is no longer available on Steam and has been replaced by Planetarian HD, which is the same title, but with slightly higher-resolution visuals.

System Requirements

  • OS: Vista or higher
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 128 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 800×600
  • Storage: 500 MB available space

Related posts

The Last Door – Collector’s Edition

The Last Door - Collector's Edition

Despite the fact that you can play most of the chapters for free online I still recommend this collector's edition of the game. The story is superb and the low resolution visuals are not as big a hindrance as you might think. The audio steals the show however with great sound effects and some outstanding tunes. Hopefully the wait until season two won't be too long as the adventures of Jeremiah Devitt is still far from over. Gameplay: Some nice puzzles, but nothing that is too obscure or frustrating. Graphics: Very low res, but once your eyes adjust you will barely notice. Sound: The audio really carries this game with bags of atmosphere from the great tunes and spooky sound effects.

Knightmare Tower

Knightmare Tower

Despite the fact that you can play the Flash version of the game for free, this version is still worth every penny of the very reasonable asking price. The gameplay is polished to a fine sheen and will keep you busy until you have conquered the tower and unlocked every single item. The only problem is that afterwards you will be left wanting more. Gameplay: Very accessible and very, very addictive. Graphics: Colorful and humorous. Sound: An excellent soundtrack by Hyperduck Soundworks.

DESYNC

DESYNC

Assault your eyes, ears and self-confidence with this ultra-challenging first person shooter by The Foregone Syndicate. Desync is an all-out action fest that doesn’t believe in hand holding or pulling punches. This can make it an extremely frustrating game, but also very satisfying when you master the skills required to stand a chance. The visuals are stylish, but blinding while the music is outstanding. If you prefer playing your shooters on the easiest setting or easily frustrated, then this is probably not the game for you, but if you want to really put your skills to the test then this is the game to get. Gameplay: Fast, frantic and very unforgiving. Graphics: The Tron-style visuals are stylish, but a little headache inducing after a while. Sound: Sound effects lack a little punch, but the music is excellent.

METAL SLUG 3

METAL SLUG 3

I have to confess that I am a huge fan of the Metal Slug series and number three is one of my all time favorites. It has been fourteen years since the game was originally released in arcades, but it has lost none of its charm or playability. It once again hooked me right from the start and prompted quite a few playthroughs even though I am very familiar with the levels. Veteran players are in for a nostalgic blast from the past while newcomers have a chance to see why this game is so highly regarded by fans of the genre. Gameplay: An action packed run and gun title with awesome vehicle and huge bosses. Graphics: The 2D visuals looked excellent way back in 2000 and still hold up great to this day. Sound: As chaotic as you would expect from an arcade title.

Type:Rider

Type:Rider

The unique concept of Type:Rider immediately caught my attention and thankfully the gameplay was up to scratch as well. It takes a while to get used to the controls as controlling two dots can be challenging, but the excellent levels and stylish visuals will suck you in. While not a very long game there is some replay value and who knows, you might just learn something about typography as well along the way. Gameplay: Once you get used to the controls the game is a blast. Graphics: Stylish visuals and a great art direction. Sound: Matches the gameplay and visuals perfectly.

Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

With its quirky sense of humor, interesting cast of characters and plucky protagonist, it is hard not to be charmed by Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet. While the puzzles are somewhat easy, the game had us smiling all the time and even has a few laugh out loud moments. It has obviously been influenced by the Monkey Island series, but without being a carbon copy. If you are a fan of the genre, then The Fowl Fleet should definitely be on your wishlist. Gameplay: Easy enough for newcomers, but even experienced players will enjoy the quirky setting and characters. Graphics: The blend of 3D characters and 2D backgrounds work well and the overall art style is very good. Sound: The soundtrack is nice, but the voice acting steals the show thanks to some great performances.

Leave a comment

twelve + nineteen =