REVIEW: Luna: The Shadow Dust Updates the Old Adventure Game Genre – CBR – Comic Book Resources

By tying gameplay mechanics to its visual aesthetic, Luna: The Shadow Dust modernizes the puzzle adventure genre for a cohesive, compelling game.

New gameplay mechanics are a dime a dozen, and unique art style is often expected from indie games. What's rarer is the combination that uses an original aesthetic to drive gameplay and narrative. Luna: The Shadow Dust reinvents the modern puzzle adventure with dual character gameplay, beautiful hand-drawn art and a lilting score, but also by tying its mechanics so tightly to its visual theme, making one cohesive -- and beautiful -- game.

Kickstarted in 2016 and released in February of 2020,Luna: The Shadow Dust is the first game from indie developer Lantern Studio. It follows a young boy in his quest to restore balance to his world, requiring him to climb the levels of an immense tower and restore light and order to each one. The short, animated puzzle adventure draws players in with its style and mechanics for a haunting, compelling play.

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As the name might suggest,Luna draws a lot of its aesthetic from the use of shadows. As the player climbs the tower, each floor invites a new way to think about interacting with light. Sometimes this is superficial -- as parts of the puzzle are solved, different sections of a window light up, or aspects of the environment trigger interactable mechanics as they begin to glow. Other times the interaction with light is more meaningful. Playable characters turn from flesh to shadow as they jump onto shadows cast by objects in the environment to access new vertical levels.

The emphasis on light and shadow becomes not only a leitmotif throughout the game, establishing a vivid art style that links each floor together, but also a core mechanic that setsLuna apart as a puzzle game. Retraining standard puzzle-solving techniques to incorporate shadows as usable items and looking for light cues for interactive objects makesLuna a compelling challenge even for well-established puzzle-lovers and sets players on even footing as they approach the game.

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Other mechanics are less novel but still as fun. Players control both a boy namedri as well as his animal companion Layh, and both characters must be able to exit each level in order to proceed.ri is able to push buttons and turn cranks, but Layh can crawl into tight spaces. The characters can work together in the same room, having Layh jump off a shadow cast byri in order to reach higher parts of the screen, or in different rooms altogether. In one level,ri and Layh must occupy different seasons in order to access all the components necessary to solve the puzzle.

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REVIEW: Luna: The Shadow Dust Updates the Old Adventure Game Genre - CBR - Comic Book Resources

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