Giant Bomb Review

44 Comments

Lucidity Review

3
  • XBGS

With an excellent visual style and middling gameplay, Lucidity tries hard to be more than average.

There's a comfort and warmth to the presentation of Lucidity. Initially, it's like being snuggled up in a warm blanket with a soothing cup of hot cocoa. After a few hours though, it's like being trapped in an uncomfortably warm blanket and ready to vomit if you have to drink one more damn drop of cocoa. Add some not-so-engaging gameplay, and you've got the equivalent of a safe, uneventful stay with your dear old grandparents.

 Life with Nana was freaking awesome.
 Life with Nana was freaking awesome.
The game revolves around Sofi, a little girl who adventures through dreamscape after dreamscape in a journey to make sense of the world now that her grandmother, Nana, is no longer around. It's never made explicitly clear what happened to Nana, but I like to assume that rather than pass away she got sick of Sofi's innocent charm and ditched her to join a rough-and-tumble biker gang.

At the top of each level you'll see one of Sofi's drawings, detailing her longing for life with her grandmother, and at the end you'll get a postcard from Nana reminding Sofi how great and strong she is. At first it's really cute, especially when combined with the excellent visuals. By the end though, you want nothing more than Sofi's parents to have a long talk with her about loss, before those therapy bills begin to pile up.

The gameplay comes in the form of helping Sofi through the story's three acts as she ambles her way towards the end of each level. To accomplish this task, you'll place different items in her path as she casually walks from the start of the area to its finish. Sofi will move at a regular pace from left to right, though the items you use to help her are presented to you randomly. You'll get things like steps, planks, bombs, and fans to place on the screen, and Sofi will constantly be climbing, bouncing, and floating based upon their placement.

 You'll choose how best to cross this gap.
 You'll choose how best to cross this gap.
Each item has a particular use, though since the order in which they are given to you is random, you'll be combining them in different ways to ensure Sofi's safety. This adds a frantic element to a game that otherwise enjoys a very metered pace. You're able to queue, or hold, one item in reserve, but with no ability to discard an inappropriate item you may find yourself filling the screen with useless staircases until you get that bomb you need to blast through an impasse. This can get frustrating in the back half of the game where getting caught against a wall for too long will mean Sofi's demise and a restart of the level. Sofi will also restart a level if she is hit or takes damage more than once, though you can reset your hit counter by collecting any of the many fireflies that are strewn about.

There isn't much variety to the types of items that you'll eventually have at your disposal, but learning how Sofi interacts with each is key to successfully navigating the game. Knowing that a fan will lift you up and one space to the right is essential to placing the next fan ahead of time. You have no direct control over the camera, so you won't be able to plan too far in advance, something that seems to be less of an intentional gameplay constraint and more of a frustration. The ability to speed up Sofi's pace for certain sections, instead of waiting on her deliberate plodding, would have also been a welcome addition. With the limited amount of control in the player's hands, you may find yourself more relieved at reaching the end of a level than satisfied.

The game really shines through its art.
The game really shines through its art.
The game isn't very long, and you'll find yourself making through the three acts in a few hours. To unlock bonus levels, and to add a little more replay to the game, you can try and collect the many fireflies populating each area. For every 100 bugs you collect, you'll open up another level. Collecting them can definitely be a chore, especially considering the random nature in which items are presented to you, but it does give you a reason to replay levels multiple times.

With its absolutely exquisite art design, yet middling gameplay, Lucidity presents a package that initially captivates but wears thin quickly. I often found myself enjoying watching Sofi's actions more than I did participating in them. Add to that a story that seems a little too "fuzzy mittens" for its own good, and you have an experience that is hardly worth writing Nana about.
Vinny Caravella on Google+