by Sean Martin
previewed on PC
Ever since Hollow Knight I’ve had a thing for hand-drawn indies — I love being able to just sit back and soak in the characters and environment. What can I say, I like beautiful things. So when I first spotted Luna: The Shadow Dust, the new point-and-click adventure by Lantern Studio, I could tell we were going to be friends. I headed on over to Steam and downloaded the demo, and I greatly recommend you do the same. But first, here’s why. Luna is hand animated, and you can really tell — the game has a lovely rustic feeling, with beautifully rendered environments and characters. It really did feel like I was watching an animated film.
But that’s not to imply that there’s no player action. Luna is a point-and-click adventure, presenting you with a variety of puzzles to solve and environments to explore. I woke beneath the stars, a boy alone in the desert. A spirit in the form of a shadow appeared and soon I found myself climbing a mysterious tower.
A BOY AND HIS CAT (AT LEAST I THINK IT WAS A CAT)
The whole of Luna has an appealing simplicity — no invasive UI, no HUD, simply a point and click with which you move your character and allow him to interact with the world. The only mechanic that really introduced itself, was when our protagonist happened upon a cat while traversing the tower (I say a cat, but it also could have potentially been some other kind of desert critter.) Whatever it was, this cute chub became a playable character, and with a click you could change between it and the boy, which added a bit more depth to the puzzles. The puzzles took me a little while to figure out, but on the whole I have to say they were fair and balanced. I see a good deal of potential in the duo of the boy and the cat in terms of puzzle design.
LIGHT AND SHADOW
The idea of light and shadow seems to be a fairly loose theme for the game — it’s in the title, but also the puzzles seem to often factor around it. The true nature of the world, which many players will be trying to puzzle out, is obviously based in light and shadow — one of the first things you see is a shadow crow projected against a rock, not a part of the material universe, but nonetheless connected. There is also an amazing section later with the cat, which I won’t spoil, but it adds another almost cosmic layer to the mystery.
Luna: The Shadow Dust is a great little game, simple, wholesome, beautiful, and I’m excited to explore the world and its mysteries further when release rolls around sometime this summer. I’d greatly recommend you head over to Steam, download the demo and experience it yourself.