A Waking Dream
System’s: PC, Xbox 360 (Xbox 360 Version Reviewed).
Publisher – LucasArts
Developer – LucasArts
Genre – Puzzle/Platformer
Pros: *Jaw-Dropping Art style *Beautiful soundtrack. * A deep, emotional story.
Cons: *You have no direct control over Sofi. *Game relies more on luck than skill. *Almost impossible to collect all the items in the level. *Super twitchy gameplay destroys the atmosphere. *It’s very short, and runs out of new tricks after the first act.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Score: 4 – Below Average (These games had potential to be something greater, but they squandered it. Instead the game has major flaws and bad design decisions that hold it back from becoming something greater.)