Planet of Lana

Takeshi Furukawa

" Takeshi Furukawa' score, disregarding negative criticism, is altogether quite inspiring. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Planet of Lana (2023) is the debut of Swedish independent videogame developer Wishfully studios. The game is best described as a game visually related to impressionism, combined with typical Japanese and sci-fi references. While at heart it is a rather uncomplicated cinematic puzzle game, as the player advances, a simplified story is told in an indirect manner, involving the relationship between Lana and an amiable creature called Mui. In the end, the remarkable graphics and 'storytelling', as well as the wonderful score by Japanese-American composer Takeshi Furukawa, are what make this game rather memorable.

In 2018, the composer became involved in the making of the game, which saw the light of day five years later. For the music, he used the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, including a variety of soloists (piano, harp, mandolin, dulcimer, guitar, French horn, trumpet and harp), the vocals of Siobhan Wilson (with whom he created a song as well) and minimal electronic support.

There are several themes, including Mui's theme, reflecting Lana' relationship with the creature in trying to save her world. Furukawa' music is sparse and innocent, but not without a heartfelt quality (arguably a bit too sentimental) and is carried over to different instruments throughout the score. Another interesting theme is the mysterious, mystical one representing the past (Cave Mural), which was written for the strings section, brass and a wordless, indigenous Coulais-ish chant by Siobhan Wilson. Besides the aforementioned themes, there's a lot of music that serves the beauty of the world created, with soft performances by piano-driven and heartfelt other soloists, while also crafting the danger of what threatens the protagonist's world with expectedly more darkly engaging musical accents.

In introducing Lana' village, the cue Tailo Village is exemplary of rousing expressionism by the driving force of the orchestra, with an interlude. While it is pleasant, the rolling harp, and especially the overdose of repeatedly used fluttering woodwinds, make it resentfully burlesque.

Regardless of the overall standalone quality of the music, at times there is also a cinematic and sentimental feel conflicting with the minimal qualities of the game (at heart it is a plain puzzle game), which does make sense as the composer is accommodating the indirect manner of storytelling of the game, approached from a traditional musical point of view. At times, it's a bit too innocuous. Also, the composer's influences are very obvious, including the style of Thomas Newman, which was also evident previously in The Last Guardian.

Takeshi Furukawa' score, disregarding negative criticism, is altogether quite inspiring. The score was released digitally by Sony Classical.

01 Progeny 1:18
02 Tailo Village 3:40
03 Elo & Lana 2:06
04 Invasion 5:57
05 Nightfall 1:45
06 Peculiar Encounter 2:13
07 Meet Mui 1:19
08 Scout Bot 2:55
09 Cave Mural 2:58
10 Horizons (feat.Siobhan Wilson) 4:00
11 Shipwreck 2:13
12 Planetarium 3:52
13 Entering The Desert 2:49
14 Rakuen 3:01
15 Desert Chase 3:59
16 Mothership 2:13
17 Shutdown (feat.Siobhan Wilson) 4:00
18 End Credits (feat.Siobhan Wilson) 4:03

Disc length 54:21

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 3.38/5)

Released by

Sony Classical (download only release 2023)