Lux-Pain is set in historical Kisaragi City, a town plagued by mysteries from small mishaps to murders – with no logical explanation as to why these events occur. It seems “Silent”, a worm born through hate and sadness, has infected humans and forced them to commit atrocious crimes. The hero’s parents, Atsuki, are victims of such crimes. To avenge his parents, Atsuki goes through a dangerous operation to acquire Lux-Pain in his left arm, a power so strong that his left eye turns golden when using it to seek and destroy Silent for good.
Game Features Overview:
- Investigate your surroundings and gather hints by conversing with characters in the game
- Use your Psychic Powers to save potential victims from Silent Worms.
- Explore the massive world of Kisaragi City
- Use your stylus to:
- Conduct autopsies of Silent worms found throughout the game
- Find parasites before they reach the heart of the victim
- Examine various items you encounter along your journey such as buildings and objects
As a game Lux-Pain is hard to categorize. It has investigative elements and role playing elements. There is a lot of text to read and a few choices to make when dealing with the characters around you.
Most of the text you read is not interactive in any way, shape or form. It is only occasionally that a character will ask you something and the game offers you a choice of responses. This leads some to categorize Lux-Pain as more of a story you are watching unfold than a true game. After all, how can it be a game when you are not allowed to make choices? Even in the original Super Mario Brothers for the NES you had options such as taking tubes, warp zones, etc on the way to rescuing the princess. In Lux-Pain the game play is episodic in nature and the only real choices you make are what to investigate first.
There are times in the game when choosing to investigate one area will close other areas off from you. This is most notable when you are in school. I have had play sessions where going to the computer lab, with three other places open on the area map, would result in all other areas becoming closed off. Going back to a save game I was able to go to all of those other places before going to the computer lab. This leads me to believe that certain encounters trigger the story to move along while other encounters are just fluff.
Speaking of fluff, there is a lot of it in this game. There are days where you go around town and learn a little bit about some of the characters around you but the plot does not advance one bit. These days are designed to immerse you into the story and do succeed in doing so. However, not all gamers want to immerse themselves in the full details of high school life and such players may resent clicking through five minutes of dialog about what so-and-so had for lunch today.
One thing that did bother me with the game was the dating sim vibe I picked up from playing the game. I don’t know if this was meant to help build a bond between the player and the characters in the game or not but it just felt weird to have the school nurse (25 yr old female) sending me email messages about how she was sitting on her couch watching the game and drinking a bunch of beer! Or how even the male characters seemed like they were hitting on me!
I can understand having some of the girls in school hitting on the main character but it just seemed so weird that close to 95% of the characters you meet in the game act like they want to go steady with you!
Maybe I’m overreacting to a cultural issue involved with bringing the game over from Japan?
Speaking of reginalization of the game… I read in the manual that when voice actors begin talking I should pay extra attention to what is being said because these are important conversations. Well, I did pay attention and more often than not the voice acting script did not match the text on screen. I’m not talking about simple spelling errors (there were more than a few) but complete divergences from the written text that resulted in the voice actors script saying something completely different from what was one screen.
Hello? Ingnition? What is so hard about doing the text translation work and then giving that same text to your voice actors? Because of this I ended up having to pay close attention to both the audio and the text to try and figure out which one I wanted to really pay attention to.
The general touch pad interface for the game works very well. With the exception of using the start button to access a menu you need never use anything other than the stylus when playing this game.
I did have some difficulty early on in dealing with the shinen (do I tap them or rub them?) but in the end I found out which method worked best for me.
Text speeds were adequately fast and you are able to tap the screen to force the words to appear faster. Moving around the world is also quick and easy.
The only complaint I have about the game world is the bland names given to some areas. It just felt weird to have a student in the school tell me to meet them at a shop in ‘Area 4’. Area 4? How long have you been living in this city and you have places that you refer to as ‘Area 4’? It’s a small thing but it really pulls you out of the game when NPCs refer to places as ‘Area #’.
This game has a lot of immersion techniques built into it. If we ignore the problem with area names we find that the developers did an excellent job building the world around the game.
For example there is a net cafe where you can go read a forum full of messages from the locals. Apparently no one has a computer in their own home so they all go to the net cafe to post!
On your mobile device you can watch a local news show which also has a scrolling news story bar with news from outside of the local area. This adds greatly to the immersive quality of the game but it is easy to forget the broadcast is on your mobile and as such you may miss some of them.
You will also occasionally receive email messages from people you have encountered in the game. This can be incredibly weird when your hot school teacher or one of the local police women send you a somewhat personal message. It’s also weird when you get some of these messages from other male students.
As you progress through the game the Pumpkin Witch shop opens up and the woman inside can give you a love reading. This opens up a screen where a heart spins, jumps and pulses to indicate how the other people you have met think about you. This can also be downright weird when the cute girls barely register a heart beat for you yet the guy who sits across from you in home room has a heart that is dancing wildly up and down and beating like a four year old hopped up on a case of Red Bull!
All in all the immersion level of the game is very high even if it does sometimes push you into thinking you are playing a dating sim!
Yes, there is a combat system of sorts in this game. Finding shinen is a simple matter most of the time. The first difficult shinen encounter happens when you follow Akira Modo to the cemetery after he storms out of his dad’s cake shop. The difficulty is based on the energy bar above Akira’s head being low when you start. A little bit too much erasing and Akira dies and the game ends.
Yes, when someone dies the game tends to end.
The battles against the Silent tend to be a bit more tricky. They start out as basic shinen searches but then they turn into a battle against a Silent infection.
The first Silent battle you take part in is an easy affair. When the blobs turn white you tap on them and they go away causing damage to the Silent. Knock enough of these blobs out and the Silent loses.
However, the silent battles get trickier as the game progresses and the game never tells you how to beat each tougher type of Silent. It is up to you, through trial and error, to figure out the technique required to defeat tougher forms of Silent.
I was thrown at first when defeating Silent went from tapping them when white to slashing them when white. I had to fight that battle about three times before I figured out about the slashing. Luckily, if you lose a battle against a Silent you can start the battle over again right away. You do not have to go back to a save point.
This game starts out deceptively easy and becomes more and more difficult as time goes on.
At one point Nami’s older sister Yayoi disappears and it is up to you to find and rescue her from the Silent infection. It is at this point where the game straight up tells you to save because you will probably fail and the game will end.
True to its word I did fail that episode, several times! I had tried to be smart and save the game later in the day but I saved it just at the point of failure so restoring that saved game didn’t help.
What made the quest to find Yayoi particularly difficult for me is that I ended up finding her someplace I had already investigated. Being a logical person I figured I would find her someplace I had not been to. Those tricky game developers decided to pull a fast one on me and have her appear in a location only after you had visited it once. The other part of their trickiness is that the area on the map where she was is actually two areas in one (think driveway and backyard). So when I first visited the area I went to the A location but she was actually hiding out in the B location!
Another point of difficulty is the way the shinen messages are presented. The pacing and movement of the letters on screen are in part dependent on the mood of the person who had the shinen. If the person was in a rush the letters will fly across the screen, making it hard to read. If the person was a bit mad the letters may bounce around or vanish as soon as they appear. With three or more lines of text scrolling across the screen you may find that you are not able to keep up enough to properly read the messages. Because you can’t go back and read them again it can cause of feeling of exasperation in some gamers.
The graphics on this game are very nice and smooth. There are no long loading delays and everything is drawn in the same manga style. Cut scenes are well done as well.
Overall I have enjoyed playing Lux-Pain. I am currently about half way through the story and I am enjoying it even with all of the extra atmosphere that is sometimes sent my way with a shovel. I would have liked a bit more interactivity in the game but I am satisfied with the story enough that it does not overly bother me.
I do occasionally feel as if I am playing a game on rails but the scenery outside the train is so enjoyable that I don’t mind the ride. Sometimes I do get annoyed in that most places become un-clickable when the story no longer requires you to go there while other places do not. This leads one to feel that they might have missed something at that location which causes you to go back there and waste time looking for something that is not there. Just as bad is when you go to a location only to find out that going there caused other locations to lock, preventing you from going back and entering those locations.
Will you enjoy the game? That is something you need to decide for yourself. Just because I like (or don’t like) a given game does not mean that you will feel the same way. You may enjoy things I dislike and dislike things I enjoy. So read the full review again and look for some other reviews. If you find you consistently agree (or disagree) with a reviewer then (and only then) can you properly use that review to make an informed decision on buying a game.
- The Good
- Awesome graphics
- Immersive storyline
- Progressive difficulty
- 30+ Hours of game play
- The Bad
- Sometimes feels like you are riding a plot train
- Lack of interactivity
- Location locking
- The Ugly
- Somewhat creepy dating sim feel
- No clues on changing strategies needed to combat advanced forms of Silent