LifeisXbox’s The Prince of Landis review | When developers attempt to blend different genres into one game, I am always extra careful with games. Often, the game turns out to be a disaster, and the choice to pick two genres over one was a big mistake. So, when The Prince of Landis crossed my path, I proceeded with mixed feelings. Developed by Lorestrome and published by Ratalaika Games, The Prince of Landis takes a shot at combing the character-driven story and dialog of a visual novel with the exploration and puzzle-solving of an adventure game. They tried to present a horror adventure with catastrophic consequences, set in the ’90s. Let’s see if they succeeded!
This is a short review, our usual the good, mixed and the bad was difficult because of the nature of this game. Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
In the 1990s, young Evan lives a difficult life in Landis, Oregon. Between having a dad that is always drunk and being bullied at school by an older boy, Evan has a very bleak and hard life. His life is forever changed one day when a strange visitor, an alien-like creature, lands in Landis and asks for Evan’s help. In return, the stranger helps Evan to stand up to his bullies, or at least, that’s what Evan is hoping for.
The game starts with you choosing one out of two options. The Prince of Landis welcomes you with a warning about culturally appropriate language. Words as ‘faggot’ and cursing with the word ‘gay’ try to show the world in the 1990s. Back to the two options: you can either play this game culturally appropriate or if you feel like you will be offended by this, there is also a cleaner version. I have to admit that I really appreciate the developers giving players a choice here. I opted for the option that embraced the time’s spirit, and I was in fact greeted with a lot of foul language use.
As mentioned, The Prince of Landis tries to combine the visual novel genre with exploration and puzzle-solving from adventure games. And they very much succeeded at doing so, I must admit. I was a bit skeptical but combining the two genres worked perfectly here. You really get sucked into the, albeit short, story that revolves around Evan but exploring the town of Landis and looking for the next item on your to-do list was quite fun. Basically, you’ll be running around gathering things for the strange visitor. As he needs to prepare his ship as well as eat, you will be on the hunt for many items. Gathering everything is not that hard, and if you’re any good at logical thinking, you’ll be finished with this game in about an hour, I think. It took me about an hour and a half to finish the game and get all but one achievement. Getting the achievements isn’t that difficult either, but if you’re not curious, you will most likely have to play the game twice to get all achievements. I found the game to be a bit on the short side and would have preferred it to be a tad longer.
At first, the town you’re walking around in seems big, but I assure you that this notion will quickly change. There is a lot of walking involved in The Prince of Landis. Not surprising as this game involves exploration and puzzle-solving, but I do feel like the walking around sometimes got tedious. Going back and forth all the time was fun at times, but could also be a little annoying. I kept seeing the same places. And worse of all, I wasn’t accompanied by any soundtrack whatsoever. There were only the sound effects, but these were rather quiet sometimes. Still, the sound effects were in place so I was happy with them. The only soundtrack-like music in the game, however, is presented to you when you’re talking to The Guest, and then it’s just immediately really intense music. And there is one store in town that has some funky tunes when you walk in, but that’s about it.
Compared to the sound of the game, the art style did a lot better. It’s a 2D game set in the ’90s and the game got an old-school feeling to it that I could definitely admire. You can clearly see the developers’ love for the sci-fi- theme shine through, and once you can feel this, you immediately respect it even more. There is quite some detail in the art style, especially in Evan’s house, and looking around at everything was rather satisfying. The Guest looked exactly what you’d expect him to look like with his alien face and wiggling tail, and the cutscenes with dialogue were absolutely beautifully hand-drawn.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂