By StarFoxA 9 Comments
Bundles: Groupees Build a Bundle 5, Groupees Be Mine 3, and Groupees Retro Bundle
Lume is a game that has, if nothing else, a good promise. I'm going to say up front that it doesn't deliver on this promise. It's not that the game is bad, it's that it could be a good game. If it were longer than 20 minutes. I'm okay with short experiences, as long as that experience is satisfying, and Lume fails to deliver that satisfying experience. The game ends abruptly, telling you that maybe one day there will be a continuation of "part 1" of the Lume story. This is a game billed as a complete package, and only upon its completion do you realize that it's only "part 1."
Now, if not for that major blemish, the game is pretty adorable. The art style is fantastic, however it is hindered by a technical issue... the game runs in a centered 800x600 box in an Adobe Flash wrapper with visible compression. That's pretty lame. I really wish I could have enjoyed the game's fantastic art style at a higher resolution, and hopefully future games from State of Play will offer that.
The puzzles are really smartly designed, I'll give Lume that (although there are literally something like five puzzles before the game is over). They really require you to think in a logical sense, and it can be gratifying to overcome some of the game's scant challenges.
One last annoyance about Lume is its... "soundtrack," which is a looped guitar track. A track which gets pretty grating after hearing its 45 second loop on repeat for 30 minutes.
Lume is a game that could have been good, and I really wanted it to be good, but it failed to back up its art style with a satisfying experience. Thankfully, I got this game in a bundle, so I can't really complain, but I would definitely not recommend buying this at Steam's asking price of $6.99.
Now this is a game which should only be played for historical curiosity, because it has definitely not benefited from 10 years of age. It was a subpar shooter when it was released, and time has not been kind to it. I wasn't expecting much from this game, because I really just wanted to see why this game caused so much controversy upon release, and I was still underwhelmed by the game.
The game is crass for the sake of being crass, which can be alright, but in this case it's just straight up dumb stuff. There's really not much to say beyond that. There's no intelligent comedy to be found in this game, it's just poop jokes, drug jokes, sex jokes, and religion jokes. It's not even that offensive, just really, really stupid.
The gameplay is what you would expect from an early 2000s first-person shooter. It's buggy, it's boring, and repetitive. The combat scenarios never diverge from "shoot these guys" and the comedic moments aren't enough to force you to slog through the dull gameplay. In fact, I take back my previous statement about historical curiosity. This isn't a game that should be played at all. Just look it up on Wikipedia if you're curious about its content.
Okay, this is the game I actually wanted to talk about. Anodyne is a fantastic game. Essentially, Anodyne is a top-down action game obviously inspired by the likes of A Link to the Past. However, it differs in some really unique ways that make the game's world an absolute joy to explore. The game stars a young boy named... Young who takes up his broom and decides to save his world from the evil threat known as "Briar."
Anodyne is atmospheric. The game's soundtrack complements its dreamlike landscape, creating an aesthetic reminiscent of some of EarthBound's more bizarre scenes, and the bizarre plot plays off of this style very well. The game doesn't have much in terms of a coherent plot to move things along, but what it does offer is intriguing enough to make the game interesting.
As a Zelda-like, the gameplay is pretty much as expected. Dungeons, overworld, puzzles, bosses, items. And the gameplay here is solid. Puzzles are challenging, particularly some early jumping puzzles which were definitely my one gripe with the game. However, that evens out as the game progresses, and each dungeon is a joy to explore each nook and cranny. Combat is rewarding, with some especially satisfying sound effects upon hitting an enemy, and bosses provide a decent challenge at the end of each dungeon.
Anodyne is a very non-linear game. It does an extremely good job at encouraging and fostering exploration, however, with its "card" system. There are dozens of cards scattered around the game's overworld and dungeons, which help to unlock future areas, more health for Young, and eventually the path to the final boss. I thought that even the limited instruction served to benefit the game, as it helped to further encourage that sense of wonder and awe in the opening parts of the game.
The game world is big enough in scale to explore completely in around five or six hours, which I found to be an extremely satisfying length for this game. It doesn't overstay its welcome, and offers a fairly unique and solid experience that I think any fan of A Link to the Past would find interesting. This game is certainly worth a look for anyone invested enough in games to read this blog.
Of note is the fact that this game is still available in a bundle, which can be found right here.