Tag Archive: Puzzle-Platformer


Review – Lucidity

Lucidity title

Systems – PC, Xbox 360 (Xbox 360 Version Reviewed).

Publisher – LucasArts

Developer – LucasArts

Genre – Puzzle/Platformer

Lucidity is a beautiful new IP from LucasArts developed in-house for the PC and 360, this is their attempt to try something new that isn’t stupid and generic like Fracture. With LucasArts now attempting to return to its roots of great story-telling they try to bust back onto the scene with this game. But unfortunately, Lucidity is not the game to do that.

The greatest thing about Lucidity is its overwhelming sense of style. The game looks gorgeous, using an art style that reminds me strongly of Paper Mario which is a very good thing. Cutscenes look especially fantastic and really show off how good this game looks. There is also a wide variety of songs in the game all of which are deeply moving and emotional especially the title track.

The story is also deep and moving, a little girl Sofi is staying up late with her grandmother Nana reading fantastic tales in her book. After she drifts to sleep she wakes up to find her grandmother missing, after jumping out of bed, Sofi sets off to find out what happened to her Nana.

Lucidity

The story gets revealed to you through Sofi’s own journal diaries during loading screens to missions, and postcards written by Nana you gain after completing a level. Also at the end of each of the 3 acts you’ll get an amazing cutscene, all of these elements combined form a compelling narrative and a really touching tale of loss.

With this riding for it, it’s a great shame then Lucidity falls completely on its face when it comes to the actual game.

You could describe Lucidity as a Puzzle/Platformer, but I feel it’s more accurate to call it an On-Rails’s Platformer. You don’t have any direct control over Sofi, instead the game will give you certain tools to effect her path with including stairs for her to walk up or slingshots to propel her over great distances. The main problem with this is that you can’t choose what item to use, instead it’s up to the computer to what you get. And the computer doesn’t generate the right items for you to use ever really.

This reduces the game’s challenge level to little more than luck. Instead of you choosing how you want to progress through the level, the computer throws stuff at you to try and figure out, but levels are usually designed in such a way that you’ll need a specific item to move forward.

And when you’re just spamming items to get the right one, Sofi is getting killed by an enemy which starts the entire game over from the beginning of the level. Now I don’t have a problem with that in platformers, but restarting from the beginning of the level in Lucidity is a special case. Because it’s almost impossible to replicate what you did if you got a good run through the level until the very end due to the games random nature.

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Also the atmosphere of the game falls victim as the gameplay devolves into a twitch-style affair as you’re panicking the entire time, and having to constantly use items until you get the one you need. This destroys the atmosphere as you’re usually too busy to trying to keep Sofi alive and spamming until you get the right items for her instead of experiencing its rich atmosphere.

The game is also short, taking me only 3 hours to beat. And while there’s a lot of collectible firefly’s to capture to open up new levels, the completely random factor of the game makes it nigh impossible to collect everything in the levels, as you’ll have to rely on the computer to give you items that could be the wrong thing for where you need to go.

Lucidity even fails to keep things interesting throughout, instead you’ll be given all the items in the game by the end of Act 1, and from then on nothing new really happens. You’ll just be doing the same things you did in Act 1 for the rest of the other 2 acts.

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I’m not saying Lucidity is a complete failure, but it’s close. If it wasn’t for the games amazing art-style and soundtrack I would’ve hated this game completely, instead Lucidity is a complete disappointment. The game’s completely random nature only serves to frustrate you, and makes collecting things hard after the game ends, which is bad since platformers rely on collecting for players to replay it.

I’ll be interested to see if Lucidity will get a sequel that’ll fix these issues, but for now the game is a mess. I really wanted to like the game, but unfortunately all dreams don’t always end well.


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Review – Dark

dark title

Systems – PC, Xbox 360 Indie’s (Reviewed).

Developer – Andrew Russell

Price – 80 (1.00) Microsoft Points

Genre – Puzzle/Platformer

Xbox Live Indie games have always been in a weird place for me. I’ve always viewed the Indie section as some sort of place for all the crazy weird, innovate stuff that plays with how and why we play games. Instead it’s filled up with shit like Flash game ports, screen savers, and massage ‘things’. I hate it. Xbox Indie games have been throwing away its potential for such a long time, no game on there has really lived up to the Indie mentality I expected after seeing the crazy shit on the PC indie scene.

Until Dark came out.

Dark is a puzzle-platformer where you play as…something that looks diamond-shaped. The game seems to begin with you leaving your house, and while on a casual stroll the ground beneath you crumbles away and you fall into a deep hole… I think.

It may sound weird that I really don’t know what’s going on, mainly because the only thing the game takes time to explain is the controls. From then on events happen in real-time that you have no context from the world you’re playing in. It may sound silly, but it works with the atmosphere it presents, which is amazing.

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The game is very dark, you feel alone, and you feel confused as you wander around this mysterious world in darkness. The beautiful music builds up into something alien and dark that frightens you. You move away looking for a way out and come across a light source showcasing the games amazing lighting engine, its very bright, but at the same time creepy. Everything makes shadows, even your character which makes it very hard to even know what your character’s true shape is which adds even more mystery. Sometimes you’ll find what looks like other people in the tunnels, but all they do is watch you pass by, creepy indeed.

The game focuses on logic puzzles and exploration. Most the time you’ll be wandering the darkness with no guide, or objectives. It’s up to you to press on and figure out what is happening around you. So there may be people who dislike this game because of the lack of direction, but I thrived on it.

Puzzles come in the shape of things in the enviroment you’ll have to move around and mess with, or objects to be manipulated. The only real downside to this game is that it has some wonky physics that don’t work in the way they should at all.

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Dark is what I’ve been waiting for to come out to Xbox Live Indie’s for a while, a unique and interesting experience that nobody I’ve seen so far has replicated on Xbox Live Indie’s yet. For a dollar you experience a deep, rich atmosphere, engrossing soundtrack, and amazing levels for you to explore. And unfortunately while the game also only lasts for about 20-40 minutes, it only costs a dollar so it balances out pretty well.

Everyone with Xbox Live connected needs to at least experience this game, you won’t regret it.