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Lucidity Impressions

Posted by: Chuck at 9/30/2009 12:54 PM
Lucidity is the new Xbox Live Arcade and PC game from Lucasarts that marks the first game in Lucasart's new direction of new games. This means you shouldn't expect to see any whips or storm troopers. The last time Lucasarts tried to come up with a new IP we got Fracture, a game that while decent, didn't exactly set the world on fire. With Lucidity, Lucasarts is lowering the bar a bit as title will not have a retail presence. That's not to say the quality isn't there but Lucasarts is clearly trying to go in a different direction with Lucidity.

Lucidity takes place in a dream like world where you have to help a little girl named Sofi cross various dreamlike levels. The gameplay is best described as a mix of Lemmings and Tetris. The Lemmings part comes from your inability to directly control of Sofi, she just moves from left to right without a care in the world. Its your responsibility to place objects in the environment that keep her from harm. This includes dark pits and a menagerie of bizarre creatures that inhabit the dreamscape of Lucidity.

The Tetris portion of the game is that the objects are given to you in random order. This creates a nice dynamic of having to determine if the piece you are using is going to help get her across the next challenge or if you need to burn it and get the next one. You can set one aside in a holding pattern for later use but you still have to be fast on your feet as Sofi is unrelenting in her pace across the screen. So far I've been able to use a set of stairs, a board that can be used to walk over pits, a trampoline that catapults her over things, a slingshot that helps her jump over areas, and a fan that blows her straight up. As the levels get harder you'll have to use the pieces in conjunction to cross some areas. For example to get over a large pit you have to use a slingshot to get her most of the way across the pit and then quickly put a board under her feet so she can make it across the rest of the pit.

The gameplay is a bit stressful for such a mellow world and I learned to play the game in small doses. Any time my mental image of Sofi went from "cute little girl" to that "little witch who's trying to drive me nuts" I turned the game off to cool off. The game is a bit unforgiving in but thankfully reloads quickly so you don't have too long to dwell on your screw ups. The placement of the objects can be a bit wonky at times and there are some odd hitches in the animation from time to time but for the most part the mechanic works well. It does take some getting used to as the gameplay is fairly unique and takes quite a bit of getting used to.

Adding to the challenge of the game is the fireflies scattered around the levels. You won't be able to get all of them in one pass though as the game will force you to take different routes through the level to collect all of the fireflies. It wasn't readily apparent to me what collecting all of the fireflies gained you but the game does tell you how many you have collected overall and how many are left in each level.

Lucasarts has created an amazing world with Lucidity. The game feels like you're playing an old Disney cartoon and there's a certain warmth to the game that I haven't seen in a lot of other titles. You can tell that a lot of care and attention to detail was put into the world of Lucidity as the environment feels well crafted. The audio is likewise amazing as the world comes alive with the in game audio. I was also really surprised at the quality of the soundtrack as I left the game on the title screen just to listen to the somewhat haunting theme a few times.

Lucidity does feel like something completely different and while it's not as abstract as games like fl0w and Flower it does bring something new to the table. At $10/800 point it's worth the money just to check out the amazing art style and listen to the soundtrack with the game play serving as an added bonus.