The world’s gone dark, but you can’t remember why. Now a tower stands before you, imposing yet inviting from the light behind its front door. Perhaps it would be good to come inside, find shelter…and more importantly, answers. This is Luna: The Shadow Dust.
- Visual Spectacle: Luna the Shadow Dust is a wonder of not just visual arts, with astonishing hand-drawn environments and characters but also of visual storytelling. There is no dialogue, not single word spoken or written and yet it manages to convey its narrative and the sheer depth of the characters’ emotional journey. And it’s not just cutscenes, even the gameplay sections contribute to the storytelling. If there was ever a game that exemplified “Show, don’t tell,” it’s definitely Luna: The Shadow Dust.
- It’s all Logic: Every room in the tower in Luna: The Shadow Dust holds a puzzle and every single one of them is entertaining as hell, and while only a handful are delightfully complex (it’s fairly well-known at this point that I love complex multi-part puzzles), none of them is trivial or feel tacked on. Best of all, they’re all logic or observation based, meaning the hints are all around you, you just have to pay attention.
- Never had a friend like me: You begin the game controlling a single character but soon enough you find a curious little beast who becomes your inseparable companion in solving puzzles, exploring the tower and in the story itself and I have to praise Luna: The Shadow dust for getting me to care about the little thing and the relationship with the main character well before there was ever a cutscene that showed any tenderness between them. Switching between them freely, to solve puzzles by collaborating, is a genius way to get you to care about both characters.
- Deep Hidden World: Luna deserves more than one playthrough, which is unusually for me to even consider with adventure games or any that are puzzle-heavy. After all, if you already know the solutions what’s the point of playing it again. Well, in Luna: The Shadow Dust’s case, there is a great deep lore about the world and the game’s events that I frankly just got the gist of when playing through it. I’m jumping back in to carefully pay attention to the all the visual cues and clues about the world and the narrative that starts well before the beginning of the adventure.
- Shortround: Luna: The Shadows Dust is not a very long game, I personally finished it in one sitting, with only the last handful of puzzles making me struggle a bit (I see you, clocktower puzzle!). I would have liked to see much more complexity near the end, some real brain-zingers, and perhaps a few more puzzles. But there is a point, about midway through the game where I couldn’t help but feel things were rushing towards the end a bit, as if the pace changed. It doesn’t ruin the story, and perhaps contributes to the tension, but I would have liked a bit more to play with.