Game Review: Lucidity
Developer: Lucas Arts
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, XBLA
Players: 1 Player
MSRP: 800 MSP ($10)
ESRB Rating: Rated E
Right from the start, Lucidity draws you in with it’s pitch-perfect art style and design. It’s charm is entirely in it’s presentation, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful and touching release this year. However, several minor issues stop it just short from being a modern classic.
Lucidity opens with a young girl drifting to sleep while reading as her doting Nana sits beside her. The scene transitions into the girl’s dream, and you’re off and running… literally. The game takes place across her dream scape on a 2d plane, with the girl moving from left to right in classic platforming fashion.
The twist is this isn’t a platformer at all- it’s a puzzle game. The girl walks forward independent of the player, and it’s their job to guide her safely to the end of the level through placement of a hand full of items taken from her story book. The items range from rectangle blocks to slingshots, and the timing and placement of these items can mean the difference between the girl breezing through the level, or falling to her death.
Lucidity really shines in the art department. It feels like playing through a child’s storybook- soft colors, construction paper set pieces, and crayon-drawn story pages before the start of each level. The game does an excellent job of forming a bond between you and the girl- you really feel responsible for her safety as she goes along from level to level. It’s a heart-warming tale that can be a bit too saccharine for it’s own good at times, but ultimately leaves you with a smile on your face when the credits start rolling.
But it’s not all sunshine and puppies with this title. First off, I’m sure it plays better on the PC. As always, the transition from mouse to controller is a rocky one, and while the controls are serviceable, there are several moments where you’ll find the thumb stick unable to move as quickly as you’d be able to move a mouse. Second, there needs to be either a wider variety of objects, or more varied level designs that allow for creativity with the tools you’re given. After a few levels, you’ve seen all there is to see, and you’ll find yourself using the same techniques over and over again.
Lastly, there needs to be a better solution to what you can do with unwanted pieces. So many times, I found the girl stuck at a wall with only seconds left, and there I was littering the screen with unwanted pieces, frantically dropping them and waiting for just the right item. You’re allowed to “hold” one item, and move on to the next, but that really wasn’t enough. Especially during the final levels.
Final say: all in all, Lucidity is worth a look. It’s a game that encourages on-the-fly thinking, and despite it’s flaws, delivers a solid experience. If you can handle improvisation, it’s a fun challenge with a sweet, touching payoff in the end. Even if the game doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, at least check out the demo for the amazing visuals.
Images taken from starwars.com and xbox.com