Developer: DigiTales Interactive
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 28/12/2021
On sale until 27/01/2022
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
In Lacuna, you play as Neil, an agent of the CDI. Set in an alternate mid-1800s where Humanity has taken to the stars and colonised plants in the solar system. And as usual, humans be humans and we still have all our vices and problems with every facet of society even with a massive technological jump.
The story has one overarching narrative regarding the political struggle of Drovia and their independence from the Gharian colony. As Neil delves deeper in to the murder they have assigned him to solve, he quickly realises there is more to this murder than just independence.
The story is fantastic and will have you wanting more the further down the rabbit hole you go.
As you progress to each new local and learn more about what is happening, there is loads of room to put your detective skills to the test. This is the best feature of the games design. How the detective work links directly in to the narrative, regardless how you progress.
Once Neil gets the lay of the land, he is free to interview NPCs that will give him information, sometimes for a price. At any time, Neil can look for clues in his vicinity. Any clues he uncovers will be jotted down and can be used for reference. As Neil works for the CDI, his commanding officer will ask him to hand in reports that act as objectives to keep the game moving forward.
The reports will have Neil figure out the crucial details needed in the case, for example; Where the sniper shot from. In order to get the reports correct, all information Neil gets needs to be looked at, as it may hold a clue as to what happened.
It’s All About What You Do With It
If you were to look at Lacuna as strictly level and game design, it would not impress you. (Don’t shoot me yet) The levels themself are just 2D linear levels with a linear progression. However, the devs have taken this simple construction and made something compelling with layers.
With a deep and engaging story; that is well written. To the linking of clues. And a narrative choice system that changes the outcome of your investigation. Makes a simple designed game so much more life. Not to mention it is simply stunning to look at.
Something Does Not Add Up
There is one thing that the games does that just grated on my nerves. This was regarding the reports. The choices will unavoidably change the course of the narrative, but you are told if you were right or wrong with the report too early. Thus shattering any tension to see if you are on the right trail or not.
I would have liked to see some sort of punishment system, if you get it wrong and to X not Y you lose clues or something. Adding more tension and making reports has more weight. Were it stands now regardless of right or wrong, you still progress.
Overall, Lacuna is a great adventure game, with a gripping story that will keep you engaged until the credits. With its stunning levels and more detective work than Poirot would know what to do with. Even if the game will do the work for you, regardless.
I would say go out and give this a go. It’s a great adventure game that has plenty on offer.