Seed Of Life Review (PC): Lighten Up

In a dying world, only one person can bring Lumia back to its former glory. Come on, Cora: it's a Seed of Life review - get to it.

While Seed of Life is already out and this review wasn’t at the forefront (some people actually play the game before sharing their thoughts!), I wanted to provide coverage while it’s still fresh and push you in the direction of buying for yourself, waiting for a sale or scratching off your birthday list – depending on the outcome of the gameplay. Upon starting the game, I realise why the game wasn’t at the top of my list. Cora.

The voice actor sounded indifferent to what was happening on screen and brought back recent memories of Bloodbond: Into The Shroud. She sounded as spaced out as Laverne in Day of the Tentacle, but the latter is likeable. It felt like she was reading this from afar and didn’t know the context of the game nor understood inner monologue. It made the opening narrative feel very distant, then she stopped. Then she started again, and it became a nuisance.

Seed Of Life Release Date
Source: Steam

Seed of Life is a third-person game, and exploration is encouraged. On paper. After all, you’re on an alien planet once full of life, and your objective is to find a way to restore that. Cora had a close relationship with her grandfather – who has disappeared, and in his absence, she recalls what he taught her about the planet and how to interact with the alien technology. She then sets out to find him and save the world.

Seed Of Life Review

It’s refreshing to play a protagonist who isn’t blowing up the landscape but admiring it instead. Cora is a naturist (not one of them, the other type), and she’ll frequently comment on her surroundings, drawing your eye if you weren’t paying attention to the visual nuances. Lumia is a nice looking place if a little pedestrian for an alien planet. But early on, it’s almost like Madlight doesn’t want you to stick it out as there are plenty of invisible walls and mechanics that stop you from getting anywhere; darkness, dodgy water, door canvassers – there’s always something stopping you from going from A to B.

There’s a bit of shake happening quite often, too – no doubt it’s to do with the planet’s stability, but it’s often clunky and can affect your ability to perform simple functions like walk up a flight of stairs or along an edge. On that note, the camera can be a bit all over the place, resulting in unnecessary deaths. 

This is all very frustrating as Seed of Life is a beautiful game with an interesting environment to discover, but the dynamic elements are too frustrating to enjoy the experience. Every step of the way is some hostility of some sort, whether that be ‘the darkness’, poisoned water, or the aliens that patrol with their little bow-chika-wow-wow jingle. The game is more puzzle orientated than action, but it feels like Dark Souls in the sense that I died so frequently. Almost always, the environmental hazards and purple walls blocking the way.

Seed of Life Review - Plants, no zombies
Plants, no zombies. Source: Steam

Go Explore, But Stick To The Path

While there’s a focus on exploration, you’ll have to jump through many hoops before reaching the next area, solving a puzzle, and then moving on. Lumia isn’t completely alien – sure, there’s the tech scattered about and unknown plants. Still, it doesn’t promote a vibrant palette like Omno or the ambiguous chimaeras in Arboria (preview coming later). Yes, the planet looks nice, and the lighting effects, especially when running around tapping lanterns, are great, but as for the gameplay, it’s a little too rigid and somewhat harsh. A friend (not me – honest), even tried the story mode, and it was just as frustrating.

Abilities will liven up Seed of Life as you’re introduced to the magical element of the game, which is the Lumium you collect. Once the story eventually picks up, you’re assisted by an alien who gives you pointers and what-not, and you can soon equip capsules to modify Cora’s repertoire. A smartwatch-like dial can be toggled on her back, indicating her health points and the amount of Lumium she has. 

Perhaps more helpful is the objective maker indicating the direction you should be heading, but how you get there is the issue. Invisible walls, being pushed to one side during a bout of the shakes, plus the awkward platforming sections that feel like jumping in first-person, I felt a bit let down with my new found skills.

Again, With Emotion

But what got me again was the voice acting. It bothered me that much that I ended up muting the game at the sacrifice of being caught out by some of the enemies off-screen as I couldn’t hear them. But jumping to the menu, it was possible to mute the voice track completely, which I did. Yes, subtitles show on screen (which you can’t remove anyway), so it’s possible to play without the narration (she talks A LOT), but there’s no way to adjust the speed or pause on text – once it’s been displayed, that’s it.

Seed of Life Review - Plant them
Plant them and they will come. Source: Steam

As the indie hits of the Nintendo Switch have proven, visuals aren’t everything. No matter how pretty Cora’s world can be, it can’t disguise the clunkiness of navigating it, nor the annoying voice talent. Fundamentally, it was the action/platforming element that did it for me, but this is just one man’s opinion. Check it out for yourself on Steam, etc.

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