Publisher: Secret Mode
Developer: Moon Lagoon
ESRB: Not Rated
I’m trying to find a way to write about Loddlenaut that doesn’t sound like a back-handed compliment, and I’ve got to say: it’s a lot harder than you’d think.
That’s not because it’s a bad game, or because I disliked it. Far from it, in fact: I think it’s a fun game, and I really enjoyed everything about it.
It’s just that all the best descriptors sound – at least to my ears – like I’m trying to damn the game with faint praise: Loddlenaut is incredibly pleasant. It’s unobtrusive. It doesn’t really demand anything of players. It’s about as wholesome and nice as you could imagine.
See? While those are hardly bad things, I doubt they make anyone want to rush out and pick the game up. But you should – because it’s pleasant, and nice, and undemanding, and wholesome.
The gist of the game is that you’re cleaning up a polluted ocean planet. You go around to various underwater sites that are full of trash, you gather the trash, you return to your undersea base to recycle the trash, and then you go back and do it some more.
It’s a pretty simple loop that doesn’t vary too much during the course of the game’s fairly short playtime – but at the same time, it doesn’t really need to. There’s something delightfully calming about simply gathering trash, and occasionally befriending local undersea creatures called “loddles.” You can use the recycled garbage to upgrade your gadgets and craft the odd loddle toy, but Loddlenaut mostly makes those things seem like a suggestion.
(I mean, you’ll need to do a bit of upgrading, since you can’t gather some items unless you’ve improved your gadgets. But as far as the loddles go, they’re kind of window-dressing here. Cute, adorable window-dressing that you can name and feed and play with and resettle, but window-dressing nonetheless.)
In other words, if you go into Loddlenaut expecting anything in the way of stakes or drama or a challenge, you’ll probably be underwhelmed. But if you just want a relaxing, chill game that you can escape into for a couple of hours, it’s hard to think of a nicer, more pleasant way to pass the time.
Secret Mode provided us with a Loddlenaut PC code for review purposes.