Luna: The Shadow Dust is a beautiful looking game, it reminded me of the Snowman (an old book since turned into an animated short). Luna has many of the same qualities – a beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic and great music. If you’re a fan of point and click adventures then this might be for you.
In Luna: The Shadow Dust you play as a small boy who falls into a mysterious dreamlike world. In this world stands a tall tower and it’s your job to get to the top and solve the mysteries along the way. As you progress through the tower there are puzzles to solve which are weaved into the beautiful artwork of the game.
There’s a variety of puzzles in the game which range from fairly simple to downright devilish. These puzzles can be a lot of fun, for example when you enter the kitchen early on in the game and have to produce various meals for the rat to eat, only to use the subsequent effects to help you get out of the room. There’s a magic in Luna: The Shadow Dust that should be shared. It’s beautiful from a visual and audio point of view, and the puzzles are inventive and the mystery in the game pulls you along and motivates you to find out more.
The UI in the game is really stripped back. There’s no inventory or complicated combinations of items which you see in other point and click adventure games. I did appreciate this ambition to keep things simple, however, finding that balance of just the right amount to keep the game flowing and not giving the audience enough is a tough balance to maintain.
The artwork in the game is something to behold. Illustrator Beidi Guo is really talented and you can see the love and skill put into the game. Her artwork makes this world come to life with delicate touches producing a game world I want to fall in love with. The music compliments the game perfectly reinforcing the mysterious world and filling in where the UI is lacking, giving you that positive of negative reinforcement when needed. Both work together really well.
There’s an inconsistency behind the puzzles which comes through in the final product which is my only real negative point for the game. I’m a huge fan of puzzlers like this, but I found myself going from one easy puzzle to getting absolutely stumped on the next one. This may be just me, but that was the only point of frustration I found with Luna: The Shadow Dust.
One challenge in the game is that it doesn’t have any dialogue, meaning communicating comes entirely through the visual and audio queues. This is a big challenge to set yourself and players and sometimes it falls a little short, either with not enough information or lack of clarity. This simple approach does work in moments in the game providing you with pure moments of enjoyment. Running through a room and understanding the puzzle mechanic relating the doors, pictures of the moon to which door was a real “aha” moment for me, I felt great.
Overall I’d recommend Luna: The Shadow Dust. I really enjoyed the art, music and world that had been created around me. If you like point and clicks, give this one a shot.
Developer: Lantern Studio
Release: 13th February 2020
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