If ever there was a day where you’d quite like to turn off the earth’s gravitational pull and float gently off to somewhere, anywhere, else, it’s a Monday. Well, unfortunately gravity is not conveniently controlled by a switch and space does not tend to be overly accommodating to those who just happen to float into it, which is why I was pretty glad to find Planet.
Its official title is “Polygonal Planet Project” and its creator Oskar Stålberg describes it as a “study in tilesets” but what Planet essentially does is allow you to create a planet to call your own. On clicking into the game you’re presented with a planet, similar in appearance to Earth. From there you can select a tile size and whether you want to begin placing grass, a forest, a town, or ice, and apply it anywhere on the planet’s surface you please with a left click. Placing your own terrain over one that’s already there will result in layers being created, making the topography fairly lumpy, perfect if you want to create some mountains or a high rise town. If you’d like a completely fresh start, or even just a planet made purely of water, right clicking will sink the land to sea level.
The varying sizes of tiles allows you change the look of your planet with a satisfying amount of detail, and you really can do whatever you like with it. Want to create a town sitting on the edge of an icy mountain? Go for it. Tired of the January cold? Demolish the ice and replace it with a grassy plain. Not really feeling the fact that there’s other people in the world? Clear out those pesky towns!
Being a purely aesthetic exercise, it’s not like Sim City in your browser; your decisions won’t have any simulated effect on populations or the overall appearance of the planet as time passes, all you can do is create and destroy. It is, however, oddly therapeutic to be able to mould your own little world and then watch it slowly but prettily turn in space. For a moment I was able to imagine myself in the castle I had placed in the middle of the ocean, and sometimes that moment of calm is all you need. It’s definitely a tab you’ll want to leave open for the sake of procrastination.