If I had to pick one game genre that’s my favourite in the world, it would likely be point and click puzzle games. Sometimes they’re silly and dramatic, but quite often they’re cathartic, beautiful, and immersive. When I saw an email about Luna show up in my inbox, I immediately expected it would be something special, and the demo certainly didn’t let me down.
Luna – The Shadow Dust is the first game from the small four-person team at Lantern Studios – whose story, with members spread around the globe – is just as compelling as their game. It’s gearing up to be an absolutely lovely debut. I’m a sucker for games that double as atmospheric experiences. I love them. There’s nothing more incredible to me than sitting down and getting pulled into a beautiful world that I just never want to leave. Featuring hand-drawn animation and an incredible soundtrack composed in-house, the demo was incredibly immersive – like playable art. It was lovely to listen to and look at from the first moment, and only got better along the way. Perceptive players will notice inspirations from classics such as Studio Ghibli films and games such as Machinarium, but Luna always feels like it’s something all its own.
You play as a boy, seeking to rebalance the world and find his lost memories. What happened? Can order be restored? Along the way, he’ll find a small, mysterious friend, who will tag along.
Each puzzle in the game is a standalone stage, allowing players to continue moving forward without worry about backtracking. Of course, each stage is a new challenge, and you’ll have to pay attention to your environment like in any true point and click adventure. Some of the puzzles in the demo were quite clever – I was really fond of the apple one – and while I occasionally found myself stuck, I never found it frustrating. I think it will be a welcome challenge for many players, without ever becoming impossible.
Dual character control leaves the player working with two characters and two unique sets of attributes. Need to be small to fit through a window? Or maybe big to push an item? Switching seamlessly between the two allows you to solve puzzles from different perspectives and see the world in a whole new way.
The world of Luna (if it can be called that) is incredibly magical. Every scene is stunning, but how you interact with them is magical as well. You’ll have a chance to soar through the sky and explore stunning buildings. Explore a room filled with curious artifacts, including a tiny dragon skeleton. Lead a symphony of small creatures. The possibilities are endless here.
One of my favourite aspects of Luna is the lack of in-game dialogue. There’s something special, I think, about making a game which doesn’t require words. There are no distracting conversations and – more importantly – there is no language barrier. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can pick up Luna and understand. Anyone can experience it. Anyone can enjoy the game without needing to know English, Chinese, or any other specific language. It’s a rare and underappreciated aspect in point and click games. And of course, in some games, it wouldn’t fit. In Luna, it absolutely does – the “silence” adds to the experience, allowing you to simply take in your world and enjoy every moment.
Luna is absolutely one of my top 5 anticipated games in the tail end of 2019, and I think it will be a fantastic fit for fans of atmospheric puzzle games. If you’ve played and enjoyed games like My Brother Rabbit, this will be a perfect choice for you. Even better, you can try out the Luna demo on steam! Take a look – I hope you’ll enjoy it.