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The Planet Crafter Review

The Planet Crafter Review

The Planet Crafter is yet another open-world survival game developed by Miju Games. Released on Early Access on the 25th of March 2022, it has now reached version 1.0. So, after not knowing this game exists, let’s see how long it will take to turn this ball of dirt into a second, pre-civilisation Earth.

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You are a convict, given the near-impossible task of terraforming a planet into a viable location for colonies to settle down on in exchange for wiping out your criminal record. Don’t think you’re getting much help on this mission. Outside of multiplayer, you’re alone, only starting off with supplies to last a few days, a spacesuit with an oxygen supply that barely lasts two minutes, and a gun that can collect materials. However, with enough time and upgrades, you might be able to completely transform the ball of dirt into somewhere worth living. However, you might not have a happy ending if you just toil away on bringing life. A basic story that is mostly told through emails, but it’s a nice motivator and there are endings to pursue.

Not much of a tutorial though. There is a very short cutscene of you landing (read: violently crashing) onto the planet, given a list of stuff to craft to start you off before you’re on your own. While I didn’t find it too difficult to get on my feet, it is pretty annoying how restricted you are at the start. I expected a small inventory, but you also have equipment slots to help you on your mission… like being able to construct and deconstruct buildings, have a flashlight, or just get access to a compass. With only four slots at the start, there was a lot of inventory management and going back and forth but as the game went on, everything became easier to do. That jetpack is especially a speed increase. But you’ll need to do your job before you can unlock anything.

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As you add oxygen, pressure, and heat to the planet, you slowly terraform the barren wasteland into somewhere actually survivable without needing your oxygen tank and eventually introduce creatures into the ecosystem. I don’t know how a couple of plants and heat generators can turn the sky blue and create clouds with only a few hours of work, but some things must be expedited for the sake of time. Seriously, depending on who you ask, in real life, it could take 50 years to 100 million years to terraform Mars. This very much simplifies and speeds up the progress, especially when you craft more equipment that hastens the process of bringing life. It’s actually pretty cool seeing how the planet slowly transforms. One minute there’s nothing but sand, the next there are giant waterfalls. It’s satisfying to see your work pay off like that.

Speaking of which, as you improve the planet’s conditions, you unlock more stuff to craft that will help you terraform the planet faster. Bigger inventories, better and different crafting stations, even rockets that you can send to space to massively boost productivity… and also send meteors down to collect the materials in them. Yeah, I may have triggered two meteor showers in a row when firing off my rockets. Read the descriptions, people!

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However, to achieve all this, you’re going to need raw materials and not gonna find everything by hanging around your initial landing zone. You can’t even grow food from the seeds you start with. You are thoroughly encouraged to explore, even if you can’t last more than two minutes outside. There’s plenty of ore to collect, chests to loot, and crashed ships to search through for raw materials or just simple basic needs like food, water, or oxygen. You'll frequently be out hunting down new areas to exploit, especially those crashed ships as they’ll often have microchips that, once decoded, can add more functions to your gun and suit.

It actually feels kind of scary exploring these lifeless areas, especially ships as they are pitch black inside. When I’m going through dark interiors or the abandoned bases of previous planet crafters, I was preparing for something to jump out at me even though, you know, there was literally nothing alive when I landed. There is definitely an atmosphere here that makes exploration exciting, discovering new things and trying to figure out the stories this planet had before you arrived.

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Now, onto technical performance. I ran the game on High graphics settings capped at 60 FPS, and it performed perfectly with no lag spikes. It’s actually kind of incredible that the game does all this smoothly while also slowly transforming the world, adding water and greenery all over the land. I did notice some iffy texture here or there, but it’s fine. Ah, but I did notice some exploits: Using the jetpack, I could just abuse collision detection and fly up to places I shouldn’t get to. Oh, although it is exciting to see the terraformation, towards the midpoint, you’re gonna be waiting for numbers to go up, which can take aggravating amounts of time even if you have a fleet of machines working at max capacity.

Other than that, there wasn’t much I can say I actively disliked. Maybe annoyed by all the material collection and the back and forth, but that can lead to some amusing stories. For example: after reading an in-game email, I realised that my efforts would cause the planet to form bodies of water such as lakes and oceans, and my base (which I built near the landing site) was at the bottom of a gulch. Yeah, I had to relocate to higher ground. I admit, the funniest part of the experience was seeing a lake forming right near my base as I was transporting all my stuff. By the time I fully moved into my new base, the old one was completely underwater. That email was timed a little too perfectly.

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Planet Crafter is definitely a time sink you can easily get lost in. It’s a very peaceful game all about the environment and how you handcraft it into something great. Sure, at times, I felt scared, but in all reality, there was nothing to worry about. This is a game you take at your leisure and chip away at until there’s nothing left to do. I thoroughly recommend Planet Crafter to anyone who wants a nice experience. Hey, if you have a friend or a significant other, definitely start a new game together. Do not sleep on this game.

9.00/10 9

The Planet Crafter (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Planet Crafter is a very peaceful, satisfying game worth dumping your hours into. It’s a game you play to relax after a hard day’s work, and what better way to show it than by turning a lifeless rock into somewhere you can call home?

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

An Australian-born guy whose trying to show everyone why games are awesome.

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Eric Franklin
Eric Franklin - 03:15am, 16th April 2024

I want to know will is game be on playstation? I want to test it of be on playstation. I know you have tester. I like to watch it. I get into it. I like that game. I want to play it.

Acelister - 08:00am, 16th April 2024

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it has been announced for PlayStation.