Lacuna | PS4 Review
Lacuna, developed by DigiTales Interactive and published by Assemble Entertainment, is a point-and-click sci-fi 2D detective game. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 4 version.
The Steam storefront features the ‘Save the World’ edition with the developers donating 10% of the revenue to Go Give One, which is a WHO initiative that provides COVID-19 vaccines all over the world, but with priority to those countries that cannot afford them.
The story takes place on the planet Ghara. Ghara holds many similarities to Earth and is just one of a few planets within that solar system that is habitable for humans. Initially, you take on the role of Mira who has just arrived on the planet with her parents. Not long after they arrive, chaos breaks out and everyone is sent to an emergency shelter. This section acts as a tutorial for you to learn the controls and experience early on the dialogue and setting of the game. Despite it appearing just to be a simple introduction, the choices you make here have a profound impact on the story that's to come. Once you’ve completed this prologue, you’ll spawn in as Neil Conrad who is your main character. Neil Conrad is a detective that works for the CDI who investigate major crimes. As you take on your role, Neil is given his next assignment which is to solve the murder of the Foreign Minister.
The narrative throughout Lacuna is excellent and the plot features so many twists and turns with the various decisions that you make that I really quickly felt deeply engaged in the planet of Lacuna. Whilst the plot initially appears to focus on a wide scale issue; very quickly there's a shift in the narrative where you begin to learn the effects of such things in a more personal level and you begin to see the personal effects and impact that your choices have on their lives and as such it affects the direction of the story. Even just a seemingly mundane conversation or helping an old man rather than remaining focused on the case at hand can have massive implications for the storyline. On my Twitch stream it has become a bit of a running joke about my poor decision making skills and Lacuna really was no different for me and to add to the pressure of these decisions there are also some dialogue sections that are actually timed so you need to think quickly and make the right decision. Equally, the game autosaves on every decision so if you mess up you can’t simply reload to the last checkpoint and re-do the choice so you're stuck with your decisions whether they be good or bad for the duration of the game.
Lacuna is exceptionally deep and absolutely took me by surprise. I really expected it to be quite linear with little padding and context provided apart from the main story but you can spend a truly remarkable amount of time building up Neil's back story and creating his personality. I felt really immersed in the game which is something I really didn’t expect. Typically these sorts of point and click games don’t provide a massive amount of excess content aside from the story itself, but Lacuna totally broke out of that box and provided a really interesting experience that felt incredibly immersive throughout. My detective skills were absolutely horrific but the same can’t be said for Neil and Horace who went on to live truly enriched lives despite the whole world falling apart around them.
Lacuna really had its own unique style. Despite it being a 2D point-and-click it is packed with style. For me the soundtrack was exceptional throughout. The tense moments had a suitable building musically but still remained consistent with the jazz soundtrack throughout. I actually ended up with the soundtrack ingrained in my head for a while after playing Lacuna. That coupled with the general aesthetic of Ghara, it quickly became so much more than a 2D pixel art point-and-click and really became its own stylised experience.
Overall, Lacuna was incredibly immersive and provided a wonderful story. It will berate you for your poor choices and it won’t hold your hand and will really make you suffer the consequences of your failings. There is a lot of replayability due to the wide range of dialogue options and choices that you can make that will all have different outcomes. Typically, these sorts of games don’t really grip me but Lacuna really changed the genre and proved to me that good storytelling is the key.
Lj’s Rating: 4 out of 5.
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