A Beautiful Journey Lit By The Light Of Candles
Released by the developers of Lantern Studios on February 13th, Luna The Shadow Dust is a breathtaking puzzler set amongst the shadows and candle lights. You take on the role of a young boy and his companion, climbing a mysterious tower that contains what is threatening the balance of the world. To rise to each floor, you must use what’s in front of you to solve the puzzles that block your path. You switch between the young hero and his little companion pressing levers and playing with the shadows of the candles.
On your way, you learn more and more about what is causing the unbalance you witness, and as you confront it, you regain memories that were once lost. These memories seem to propel the hero towards his goal even as the puzzles get harder, and the dark secrets of the tower begin to threaten him. There’s no dialogue or complicated controls in this game. Still, you will barely notice just how simple the mechanics are as the art pulls you in, and the symphonic soundtrack guides your journey wholeheartedly.
Point And Click Clean And Simple
As stated, there isn’t much to the controls. For a puzzler, this is common, as it’s what you do with what you’ve got that matters. There is little direction on what to do for each level, but the puzzle mechanics are intuitive in that they are situational or need-based for the characters. Most of the puzzles in Luna centre around push and pull mechanics. However, while playing, you manipulate these simple actions in very imaginative ways. For example, you may need to pull a lever to place light just right so your companion can walk on the head of your shadow; or you may need to push a box for your short friend to continue to follow you up the tower. Also, switching between these two friends is pretty seamless. However, the closer they are together, the more likely it is for you to click on the wrong person bringing on a frustrating pattern of repetitive misclicks.
The art in Luna is the centrepiece and also a driving force of your choices. Don’t be afraid to click around or hover your mouse over the beautiful pieces on each level. Without being curious about everything you lay your eyes on, you will get stuck pretty fast. It’s because of how the environment and the heroes play off each other. Paintings actually come alive and watch out, so do the shadows… My advice, click everything, but that’s just the nature of puzzlers like these. Let your little friend play in the shadows and crawl into suspicious places. Solving these puzzles can be very satisfying at times, and once you start to get it, the full solution comes to you quickly.
Art That Comes Alive And Touches Your Heart.
The art in this game is a real gem! Some of the best I’ve seen in a while, mainly because you can tell the art IS the game. Everything in the game is hand-drawn, which is impressive in itself. You can really tell how much work was put into Luna as you go through the game. Since it’s a side scroller, you view a flat backdrop for most of the game. You can find murals always-on display in each level. They give hints, and sometimes you have to interact with them directly to solve the puzzle. While the cut scenes were mesmerizing on their own, it was these murals that left me impressed every time. A lot of the art looks like it’s from Europes’ medieval period. The hand-painted masterpieces, accompanied by the glow of a candle’s flame, set a significant tone for the entire game.
The game even switches it up a bit on some floors giving players unexpected ways to maneuver the heroes through the art. You’ll also come to understand just how otherworldly your environment is. You will come across books written in strange runes and displays of strange creatures and items. The art in Luna is probably my favourite thing about the game, and I would believe the proudest part the developers wanted to display. They even comprised an art book for fans who enjoy everything they saw on their journey.
Music That Guides Your Journey
An orchestra is what kept coming to mind while playing Luna. From the wind pieces to the brass section, Luna sounds like a full ensemble is playing throughout your entire journey up the mysterious tower. The music changes were clear indicators of victory over a puzzle or incoming danger from within the tower. For a game with no dialogue, it was important for the music to fill the void. In Luna, it did just that and more. For example, the music that played during the cutscenes guided the story very well, amplifying the emotions of the protagonists and the evolving situation. You really can get swept up by the music in this game.
A Story To Get Lost In
Luna is a piece of artwork. The music is beautiful, and the gameplay is simple and thought-provoking. However, I did become a bit confused about the direction the story was going. Later on, you learn you were in the midst of a daunting situation and the story was cut down here and there. All the while, your young hero is also regaining his memories. These flashbacks, while informative, sometimes left me with more questions than answers.
I feel that due to the mysterious tone, Luna kept. Unfortunately, I still think confusion is inevitable for the player when it comes to following along with the story, and this could be due to the absence of dialogue. Not to say that a video game has to have a dialogue to be a good game, but in Lunas’ case, there is a lot to comprehend in such an imaginative world. Getting lost along the way is easy because there is so much to take in and process.
Verdict: A Breathtaking Puzzler
As you may already be able to tell, I cannot stop talking about the art in Luna the shadow Dust. If puzzles aren’t your thing, I believe the artwork can reel you in. You’ll be motivated by what you see to keep going just to see how far the developers and artists pushed the artwork in this game, how they intertwined it and put it in motion. While the puzzles may become cumbersome at times, and the overall story can confuse you, Luna is, first and foremost, a work of art.
This game is a gem for those who love indie games that are much more than their mechanics and creative controls. I recommend it for art enthusiasts. If you don’t replay it for anything else, maybe finding the hidden feature may intrigue you. All in all, Luna The shadow Dust is an enjoyable experience lit by the moon and candle lights.
You’ll find this game priced at 19.99$ on Steam, GOG, and other online stores. While the prices may be steep for how long the game is, the work you see put into it may make up for it. If you really a fan of what Lantern Studio has done here, you can also pick up the deluxe copy for 26$, which includes a fantastic art book and the beautiful soundtrack from the game.
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- THE GOOD
- Breathtaking Art
- Beautiful Soundtrack
- Satisfying Puzzles
- Great environment interactions
- THE BAD
- Story a bit confusing
- Character Toggle can be annoying
- Having such little direction can become cumbersome
Come for the challenge stay for the art! Solving the puzzles will leave you satisfied and intrigued. The music and art will make for a euphoric experience as you climb your way to the top of that tower. A nice indie game gem indeed!