Luna: The Shadow Dust Review – A Beautiful Painting, A Flawed Video Game

Title: Luna: The Shadow Dust Developer: Lantern Studio Publisher: Coconut Island Games & Application Systems Heidelberg Genre: Point-and-Click Puzzle Adventure Available On: PC and Mac Official Site: https://www.lantern-studio.com/ Release Date: February 13, 2020 Version Tested: PC I love indie games, and I adore studios that aspire to create art, […]

The game begins with a nameless boy being dropped to the ground gently by a ball of light. The background is sparse and vague, and, once you have control of the boy, your task is to walk right. After a certain amount of time, you encounter a door, and that door becomes a tower. Without knowing your goal as the player, you are tasked with climbing this old, ancient citadel.

That is the core concept of Luna: The Shadow Dust, and the foundation for progression, although there is one segment in the plot that proves to be an exception. You travel from room to room, ascending the tower by solving puzzles. We are treated to a couple of short cutscenes throughout, all of which has no dialogue, with one that introduces us to another nameless character. This character isn’t a human though – it actually is the cutest, most adorable little creature. This animal can help you in many ways, but he also is given personality through expert animation and huge, emotive eyes.

The end is what really brings the entire plot down, though. Not only is the end predictable in one key, but everything else is nonsensical. Cutscenes up to this point have been very short, maybe two minutes long at most. But the game ends with about 10 minutes of cutscenes. And these cutscenes explain the beginning, middle, and end of the game. Basically, the entire plot’s arc is portrayed in a lengthy cutscene at the game’s conclusion, and that left a terrible taste in my mouth. I had no real idea what my objective was for the entirety of , and by the time I did, the game was over. The mystery (what am I doing here, who am I, etc.) wasn’t engaging enough to support such an ending. In fact, no game should ever attempt this kind of plot structure.

is simple in terms of gameplay. It’s a point-and-click puzzle adventure with only two buttons for the controls: space to switch between the playable characters and the left click to interact with every object in the game. Switching between the boy and the creature can lead to some interesting solutions to certain puzzles. The puzzles were, for the most part, quite good. They started rather easy, but they soon grew to be challenging. They were engaging, working my mind in some interesting ways.

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