The Earth needs a proper cleanup, and as a space cleaner it is up to you to perform it. Full of dirt, waste and wicked creatures made from garbage our world of the future is a hostile place. Cleaning it up to once more bring forth the green growth of life is a noble cause. It is also an interesting premise for a game. Often games with a pacifist model work well with me. One of my favourite Nintendo DS games of all time is Chibi-Robo Park Patrol. Sadly Planet Work is a shallow, and short experience not able to develop into a full fledged clean em’up.
In Planet Work you control the Space Cleaner. He is a cute green haired humanoid wielding a massive vacuum cleaner. The controls are simple touch based playable with one hand. Simply touch the screen in the direction you want to walk, and the Space Cleaner follows. As he walks he vacuums in front, and cleans up any obstacle in his path. A meter at the top of the screen fills up, and a tap with a second finger unleashes super vacuum power. This is perfect for cleaning larger islands, and vacuuming critters. For the most part the controls work quite well, but at the same time they feel disconnected from the character. To successfully clean you have to constantly move. Sure there is the possibility to stand still as well using a second finger, but that slows everything down.
Each level has a timer, and when the timer reaches zero the game is over. This is the only limitation to the game. If you get attacked by bosses or garbage critters you simply fall on your butt, and loose some time. Levels are fairly straightforward to clean up, and if I fail by taking a slower path it is simple to restart the level. I have never failed any level twice. Depending on your speed through the levels you attain one to three stars. Pieces of artwork are unlocked the more stars you gain. These artwork are the same still images that tell the story in Planet Work. Nothing new, or exciting to replay levels for.
There are leaderboards for each level through Game Center. As there aren’t that many people playing these aren’t that exciting. Furthermore there are no achievements to be found. Seeing as the unlocked game only has about 20 levels divided into five different settings. You can easily beat the entire game in under 40 minutes, and that is without breaking a sweat.
Capcom usually stands for great presentation, but Planet Work is not a pretty game in my opinion. It flows smoothly, but the graphics are jagged and low resolution. Little variation in garbage, and a camera hovering quite closely make for an almost claustrophobic experience. This is generally what makes the game challenging due to having little view of the level ahead. Considering the lack of details, and clarity I think it is weird that the game only runs on iPhone 3GS and faster.
The music is your standard adventure game techno music. Nothing memorable, and quite frankly boring. The sound effects are ok, but nothing spectacular. I would have liked some cool one-liners or something making the Space Cleaner more interesting as a character.
Planet Work is not what I expected from a large developer/publisher like Capcom. It is an IAP unlockable game giving you the five first levels for free. As such it is definitely worth downloading to try for 10 minutes or so. Paying to unlock on the other hand isn’t worth considering in my opinion. The unlocked levels don’t add any challenge, but just another 30 minutes of the same easy vacuuming. Poor presentation, lack of achievements, and an overall rushed impression makes it hard to recommend paying for Planet Work.
Planet Work free with IAP to unlock the full game $0.99
Seller: Capcom Co., Ltd