Following on from their earlier release this year with a HD remake of the original Monkey Island, LucasArts latest for Xbox Live Arcade is something brand new and quite different.
Lucidity follows the tale of Sofi, a little girl who’s searching for her missing grandmother through a bizarre set of dreamscapes. This journey takes her on a side scrolling adventure as she tries to avoid the various unfriendly inhabitants who populate these settings and traverse the different obstacles in her way. Unlike conventional platformers, Lucidity doesn’t allow the player any direct control over Sofi. Instead the player is given set shapes and pieces to help her around the level.
These include basic blocks that can be used to span gaps, or steps to reach platforms that would otherwise be out of reach. There are also more elaborate actions such as springs which vault her up and over short distances, fans which push her directly upwards and catapults which allow her to be flung forward over larger gaps.
The game automatically selects which piece is coming next and for the most part it does a good job of providing you with the right one to ensure that you don’t get frustrated. While the player can’t discard shapes, they can hold one piece back in storage for later use and further into the game this becomes essential if the player is to grab the multitude of firefly’s in a level. These protect Sofi if she is injured, so keeping a healthy supply is a requisite.
All this turns the game from a simple platformer into a hybrid mix of platform come puzzler (a platzer or even a puzformer, if you will).The gamble behind Lucidity’s approach pays off to a certain extent, with the pace being much slower and relaxing as a result. That said, the game isn’t so laid back that you can coast through it and not pay attention – certain sections will require some forward planning, quick reactions and keeping a careful eye on what pieces are coming next. The fact that the player has no more control of the camera than they do of Sofi adds another reason to pay attention.
The games overall storybook feel is helped in no small part by the beautiful visuals and cerebral music, with its gentle guitar strings and laid back piano cords. Lucidity actually feels like a modern take on a traditional fairytale, with the animation of Sophi, the creatures and even little effects like the sunlight filtering through the trees in the background, all contributing to its charm. The only thing that hampers this style is the HUD, used to indicate the shapes at your disposal. While it might only be a very small annoyance, its bright yellow design feels oddly out of place compared to the rest of the games carefully arranged visuals.
Lucidity’s charm carries it a long way, but it’s fair to say that if you aren’t hooked on it straight away then you’ll probably find it too slow paced to hold your interest. However, if you’re after something different from the slew of identical looking puzzles games on the download services, then Lucidity could be just what you’re looking for.