In the current climate, video games tend to fall into one of the two main categories. First includes interactive entertainment, which is mainly driven by engaging gameplay elements and user engagement. And the second, revolves around interactive experiences, which are all about the narrative experience, – as the name suggests – rather than the gameplay itself. However, at times, certain developers tend to go beyond the call of duty and try to fuse the two together. But as we all know, this is impossible to do outside of the AAA environment and without AAA budget.
Ktulhu Studio, is a minor-leagues indie developer, who as you might have already guessed, has tried to fuse interactive entertainment with the interactive experience. And it has done so through its recently released half game, half comic book title, Metropolis: Lux Obscura. And while the fusion of the two is not always problematic, it unfortunately is when it comes to the aforementioned title, as all the gameplay elements of Metropolis: Lux Obscura have been thrown into the mix, seemingly just for the fun of it.
Metropolis is presented to the player as a mature, narrative driven game, which is set to provide the player with an 18+ experience. However, the adult themes of the title are not centred around human existence or philosophy, but plain-and-simple nudity and violence. And there is nothing wrong with that, because not every title has to have a deep and thoughtful meaning. But Metropolis has been seemingly crafted just for the sake of publishing an adult title. And if not for the title’s limited gameplay elements, it would have probably never have made it onto the PlayStation 4.
Gameplay wise, Metropolis mostly plays out like a digital comic book. And the only difference between Metropolis, and let’s say Overwatch’s comics, is the fact that Metropolis is played automatically, and features voice acting. So, if one were to be honest, one would have to state that overwhelming majority of the Metropolis, is nothing more than a video slide show. And one that’s incredibly underwhelming due to the titles rather simplistic and limited narrative.
Metropolis, is mostly composed of short narrative driven clips. However, those only make up about 70% of the title, as the other 30 is occupied by Candy Crush like, match 3 mini games. Mini games, which as mentioned before, have been stuffed into the title just to turn it from a simple video, and into a video game. And while those occur rather infrequently, they ultimately do more harm than good to the overall enjoyment of the title, as they are all incredibly crude, dull, and at times infuriating.
In-game, each and every match three encounter has to be won by the player, in order for him/her to progress further. However, all encounters are based on luck, and considering the fact that some puzzles force one to complete two, or even three in a row, before proceeding, then it is safe to say that most will not be pleased with them – to say the least. In addition to the RNG factor which all the aforementioned encounters contain, they all also feature, or rather lack a number of basic features such as a restart option. And whenever you fail to win a game of match three, you are forced to go back to the main menu, reload a save, and restart the encounter from the very beginning. And if it involved three different stages, and you fell on the very last one, then bad luck, because you’ll have to go through all three of them again, and again, until you succeed.
All in-game match three encounters are incredibly unpleasant, and yes, as you go through the game, you’ll unlock numerous upgrades, which make them easier. However, those are incredibly insignificant, and cannot be carried into a new game plus, as such doesn’t exist. And lack of such basic feature in a game which contains multiple endings, is simply laughable. But that being said, most probably wouldn’t bother going back to Metropolis, even if it had an option for one to keep all the upgrades from one playthrough and into another. And that’s simply because Metropolis is an incredibly unpleasant experience, and rather disappointing experience.
At the beginning, Metropolis: Lux Obscura offers player the moon and stars, but it fails to deliver even slightest amount of pleasure and satisfaction, even after the credits roll. And while the developer behind the title has boasted about how nonlinear the title at hand is, then it has to be said that most will be content with discovering just one ‘line’. As all the additional endings, missions, and encounters, are simply not worth one’s effort.
Ultimately, Metropolis: Lux Obscura fails at both fronts. It tells a rather uninteresting and dull story, while providing one with gameplay elements which are simply crude, and depressing. And while I admire the developer’s push for much more mature, adult even games to be published across all store fronts, then I have to underline that developer’s vision could have been achieved with a little more taste. As ultimately, despite of what the studio may think, caricature-like naked women, and cell-shaded pool of bloods do very little for the progression of adult centric games in modern market.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.