Lucidity is a 2D Platformer / Puzzle game developed and produced by LucasArts; the same team that revamped the classic point-and-click The Secret of Monkey Island adventure game. It features hand-drawn illustrations, a captivating musical score, and a unique puzzle/platformer hybrid genre akin to Yoshi’s Touch and Go on Nintendo DS. Lucidity is available on Xbox Live Marketplace as an Arcade (XBLA) game, or on PC through Valve’s Steam client, and other download services.
2D Platfomer Side-Scrolling Gameplay in Lucidity
Lucidity puts the player in an outside perspective from the main character – a little girl named Sofi. Instead of directly controlling Sofi, the player must guide her through her dreams to collect fireflies, avoid obstacles and frightful enemies, and reach the mailbox at the end of the level which contains a postcard of her next location, with a sentence or two from her Nanny.
The player guides Sofi by placing objects in front of her. Springs, fans, and stairs help her climb to higher areas, while slingshots and horizontal platforms help her safely travel across wide chasms. As the player progresses through each Act, more and more items are added to the lineup to create greater complexity.
The gameplay can range from a casual stroll through the woods, to a nightmarish maze requiring quick reactions and on-the-fly thinking.
Lucidity doesn’t bring anything new to this genre, and some aspects of the design lead to frustration. The objects available to the player cycle randomly similar to Tetris, and one object can be stored for later use.
Being one spring away from reaching a higher platform, only to receive nothing but slingshots catapulting Sofi into the deadly pit below results in a hair-pulling level of irritation. Also, the player cannot scroll the screen, which stays locked in place and only moves with Sofi, meaning that sometimes it’s simply impossible to plan ahead, resulting in unnecessary deaths and level restarts.
Despite some frustrating flaws, Lucidity works well as a decent 2D puzzle platformer. And saving Sofi from the numerous hazards and frightful creatures which await her in each level results in an oddly endearing and heartwarming gameplay experience.
Great 2D Graphics on XBLA – Eerie, Imaginative, Artistic
To more than make up for Lucidity’s lack of imagination in the gameplay department, the 2D graphics – particularly the detailed, artistic backgrounds in each level – takes the breath away.
The environments range from cornfields and woods to what appears to be a mix between a scarecrow and a grandfather clock, and many more, typically with a dark, somber feel to them. The backgrounds and environments coincide with Sofi and her Nana’s memories. Before each level, Sofi’s memories are captured with a diary-like paragraph and a small doodle on a scrap sheet of paper. At the end of each level, Sofi looks at a postcard her Nana sent her with a picture of the next level and short passage of encouraging words.
The writing for Sofi feels genuine, but Nana’s writing comes off as a bit trite and cliche, and even at times outlandishly vague. But while Nana’s words fall a bit flat, the picture on each postcard serves as a nice little transition between levels.
In addition to the great 2D graphics in-game, Lucidity delivers some truly fluid animations with a visual style similar to Tim Burton. Unfortunately though, there just aren’t enough of them to truly add to the experience.
Audio and Music – Enchanting Piano Solos
To complement the art style, Lucidity has a musical score and audio effects which add even more to the atmosphere and feeling of the game.
The music sounds soothing yet eerie, and the audio effects sound simultaneously realistic and otherworldly, ranging from background sounds like hooting owls and whizzing insects, to the sounds of the game’s enemies such as croaking frogs and buzzing hornets. The audio adds greatly to the theme of the game, as all the sound effects actually sound enhanced by a child’s overactive imagination.
Lucidity Review 7.5/10 – Conclusion
To those gamers out there who feel that Gameplay is God, Lucidity will do little more than frustrate and disappoint, with a difficulty that varies greatly with random item cycles, and too much focus on replaying the same levels over and over again to obtain fireflies and unlock new levels.
However, for gamers who are a little more forgiving, who can appreciate a small, artistic video game that impresses on all other aspects but the gameplay, Lucidity will lull and hypnotize them into a wonderful new world. Even though it won’t be appreciated by everyone, there needs to be more artistic games like Lucidity.