If you’re having trouble following a walkthrough (video or otherwise), here are some basic gameplay tips and specific trouble spots a lot of people hit.
Essentially from two feet flat on the ground (again, more on this below), when you jump, you have three parts to the jump: going up, the top, and going down. If you fire your jetpack going up, you will get a small boost, if you fire it at the top, you will get a medium boost and if you fire it on the way down, you won’t see any boost at all. When you have the “enhanced” jetpack fuel you can do this multiple times – each boost you get will be smaller than the first, but you can chain together seven boosts in a single jump. But you’ll notice that jumping/jetpacking from a standstill doesn’t help you much. You have very little control and don’t get very high.
However, if you’re moving forward and jumping, not only is your horizontal leap extended by the jetpack boosts, but your vertical leap is too. You can get higher when you’re running forward and jumping than when you’re just standing in a single spot and jumping. In almost every situation you can think of, you are going to want to back up and get a running start rather than just try to brute-force vertically jump your way up.
This is especially important when climbing extremely steep surfaces. You may be used to Far Cry or Morrowind hills where, when they get too steep, you just hammer ‘jump’ and blast yourself up to the top. Doesn’t work in Lifeless Planet. When you’re sliding slightly backwards on a steep hill, and jump, your fling yourself away from the slope – and each jetpack boost takes you further away! (Thankfully there is no place I found where you can do a wall jump intentionally in this fashion – speedrunners might be interested in this though…) Instead, you should look for a ledge where you can back up from the steep slope a little bit, move towards it, then jump and jetpack at the top of the arc just as before. (Or look for another way up – there’s usually some rocks/cliffs to use and if you’re scrambling up a super-steep hill it’s probably because you took a wrong turn somewhere.)
Concussed Astronaut Turning Radius
First, he can never turn faster than 45 degrees per step. He can turn slower, but never faster. Example: Put him in a flat plain (like the one he finds himself in after crashing) and move forward. Then move the mouse or the camera stick on your controller left or right. You will see he slowly turns left or right to always be walking forward no matter which way the camera points. Now tap left or right on the keyboard or movement stick. You will see him stutter-step 45 degrees in that direction before turning forward again.
Another way to look at it: Stop moving, but move the camera to face our hero’s helmet. The camera is now pointing behind him. Tap ‘forward’. Does he move forward relative to the camera? No, he moves either left or right 135 degrees from the direction you just pushed, one step. Tap ‘forward’ again. He takes another step and turns to face 90 degrees away from that direction. Tap ‘forward’ again. He has taken 3 steps and not one of them has been in the direction you’re indicating – now he is 45 degrees off-center. Tap ‘forward’ again. He will now, at long last, go in the direction the camera is facing.
This means if you’re on a small platform and need to turn him around you have to be sure which direction he will turn. If he’s right at the edge, you can’t just point the camera behind him and press ‘forward’, hoping he will do a quick 180 and step away from the edge. Instead you need to back him up a little from the edge and slowly turn him, 45 degrees at a time, like a truck trying to maneuver into a tight driveway, forward and back.
Can’t See A Thing!
Specific Level Tips – Research Complex
Once you’ve made it through the research complex, through the fan and into the mining tunnels, it’s easy to get turned around. There is a triangle formed by a pipe which cuts through the corner of a tunnel. The way forward is near the cave-in. As you face the cave-in (as if you were the mysterious green path), back up and look up the cave wall to your left. You should see some green glow up there. If you can’t see it, try getting elevation in and around the area with the cave-in and searching further.
Specific Level Tips – The Chasm
So, from the jetpack booster, walk towards the overhang and turn left. You will see a rock platform below you across the chasm. This part of the jump is pretty easy because even if you don’t get hardly any extra height at all you’ll probably make it across. Explore around over on this side of the map if you want, but you can’t go far. Return to the rock platform where you landed and look back across at the path you took to climb to the building with the jetpack booster. To the far right of this path you will see a large rock platform with a path continuing to the right after the platform. That’s where you need to go. From where you landed, you can make it pretty easily if and only if you boost at the TOP of your jump arc. If you just boost a bunch of times thinking you can get distance without height, you will die a thousand times here and curse all those walkthrough people who seem to be able to do it flawlessly. I know I did.
Alternately, if you want to practice the jetpack boost in a ‘safer’ environment, retrace the steps you took when getting to the jetpack booster. You will go down on a switchback, further down the chasm, and then begin to ascend again on another switchback. On the first switchback you will see a big boulder to your right as you ascend. Turn around (so you’re facing down the path again) and climb up on that boulder. You are facing the big rock platform that you need to get on top of – on the other side of it is the rest of the path. Again, you can easily make this jump if and only if you boost at the TOP of your jump arc. If you just boost a bunch of times you will run into the rock wall and fail (though safely given the path will be beneath you).
Remember, to go farther with the jetpack boost you also must go higher, and to go higher you must have room to go farther.
Specific Level Tips – The Badlands
Specific Level Tips – Nightfall
Specific Level Tips – Dead Forest
Here’s a spoiler:
From where you found the power stones, slowly retrace your steps. Very close to where the green path goes into the impenetrable woods you will see a path that is blocked by a hostile plant. Put the power stone on the plant, wait for it to be consumed, then go through and continue to follow the green path.
The platform plants are the prime example of what I was talking about above with respect to your jump being unlike a lot of other platformer jumps. They’re probably the second smallest precision jump you’ll have to make in the game. The frustration of them is that if you mis-click your jump you can’t fix it in midair. For example, if you boost twice when you should have only boosted once, there’s no third boost you can make to reset your course – it will only carry you further over the platform. Similarly, if you boosted once, but see that you’re about to fall short, boosting a second time really doesn’t do anything because you’re probably already on your way down. The only tip I have is to, when you are standing on a cliff about to make a dangerous jump to the platform plants, make a good estimate, tilting your camera up and down to make sure you have a good idea of the distance before you jump. You can very easily make all these jumps (and plenty of them are quite easy to overshoot) but as always, if you need a boost, boost at the top of the jump, not on your way down.
Specific Level Tips – The Cliffs
Also, when you’re jumping in the wind, virtually none of the jumps you need to make need the jetpack.
Specific Level Tips – Hot Springs
- Observe the direction of the steam.
- Jump into the steam while heading in that same direction. Do not use your jetpack. Try to enter the steam on your way UP. In other words, jump close to the steam, not far away.
Unfortunately even this only works about 80 percent of the time.
Specific Level Tips – The Inferno
Also, when you’re climbing out of the map with your new friend, you’re looking for cliffs and rocks that form switchbacks. If you see a boulder that is jutting out of the wall but you can’t see any way past it, look around where you’re standing to see if there’s something above you that you can climb up on.
Finally, once you’ve gotten to the top, there’s an artifact building and sealed gateway of a type you’ve seen before. In order to get to the center of the artifact and power it up you will need to get to a wooden walkway that’s half-falling apart. To do that, you’ll have to go behind the artifact building and power on a device back there. When you do, there are several stones that will begin floating. This is the most precision jumping you’ll have to do in the game. It’s complicated by the fact that you can actually move these floating stones around, sometimes getting them trapped underneath each other. Here’s my tips:
- The pointy rock next to the floating stones doesn’t move and can be used to get to the middle-height floating stones pretty easily. Remember, to get height you also need distance in your jumps, so starting a little farther away helps.
- The floating stones move when you run into them on your way back down. They do move from time to time when you intentionally push them but it’s rare that it’s in the exact direction you want them to go. However, they can’t float off their little 3×3 green-stone pad, so if there’s a stone you want to move, think about where it can go on the edges of that pad and jump next to it so that it’s forced to that spot and no farther.
- The metal bars on the wooden walkway are not real and you can pass right through them if you jump too far. My final jump was only a single jump, no boost, for exactly this reason.
- There’s more power stones at the top of the walkway so don’t worry about bringing one from behind the artifact (although you can if you want, it works.)
Specific Level Tips – The Ancients
Second, you need to make a golden circle.
Third, when you’re in an area with a communications error, your last jump should be to a platform with crooked roots hanging out of the bottom, and the person you’ve been looking for on it. It’s a very long jump, just remember the rule that in order to go farther you also have to go higher, so boost at the absolute top of each jump.
Specific Level Tips – The Abyss
Specific Level Tips – The Green Land
Questions for Critical Consideration – Spoilers!
- Does the subplot about the astronaut’s wife add to or detract from the experience? In what way?
- Would you be more or less interested in Aelita if her changes came about as a result of a “natural” process on the planet rather than experimentation?
- Why do you think Aelita decides to help the astronaut?
- If the gender presentation of Aelita and the astronaut were reversed – in other words, if it was a woman astronaut arriving and a male survivor remaining on the planet – how would that affect the arc of their relationship? would you change the plot of the game in any way? if so, how?
- did the explanation of the “safe” green pathways work for you? why or why not?
- were there musical cues that particularly helped or hindered the emotional impact of the piece? which ones?
- the levels in this game are extremely large compared to the speed at which the player can traverse them – were there times when the scale of the game levels or other visual elements were emotionally effective on you? when?
- What really happened to the portal-creators, in your opinion? Why is Aelita responsive to their technologies?
- Given that Aelita melded with one “monster” in the Green Land, who is the second “monster” you see at the end off to the left? Are there more?
- Does the astronaut’s last monologue about his decision to keep his wife alive on life support make thematic sense with the rest of the game? Why or why not?
Written by “Cactus Jack” Gamer