Don’t you just love it when you get a game and it turns out to be much more than you expected it to be? It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning, expecting a your folks to get you a mobile game, then getting a Vita with Persona 4 Golden instead – you know it’s more than you expected, and in a good way too. Metropolis: Lux Obscura was like that to me. I will admit I only choose to cover this game because I saw that it had a mature rating that included imagery that would inspire research of the scientific type (sexual content), and boy am I happy I did.
The game is a visual novel meets, connect 4, meets film noir motion comic. The first thing that one should notice about the game is it’s gorgeous film noir artwork which completely surpassed all my expectations. It is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L, simply beautiful… As it stands, the art in this surprisingly fun game is some of the best I’ve seen in a while, and I’m not just saying that because it features some deceptively dangerous illustrations. I like it because it’s simply magnificent. I could imagine art like this being in a well written comic, or high-quality manga series, not in a game, and especially not one released on a Nintendo platform. If you’ve seen my review for Perfect Half, then consider this the video game equivalent of such a gorgeously illustrated manhwa. Now, it should be noted that this is not a game for younger folks. It’s mature and filled with adult themes, and depictions. (Expect to see characters have sex, being gruesomely killed and partaking in contraband).
In between these visual treats to the eyes. The player is able to choose their next destination on an isometric image of a town. Depending on the location chosen, the player is able to engage in a series of different events. These range from fights with other characters to creatively written dialogue scenes.
Now remember when I mentioned connect four? Well the battles are done by defeating the enemies using a connect four styled system. In it you have a board filled with square tiles. These tiles each have images for different moves and abilities that your character can use. By connecting three or more of these tiles the player is able to either attack their opponent or heal themselves. Depending on the foe the player is also able to make multiple moves before each of the foes turns, with the catch usually being that the foe has more health, has allies who replace them immediately after they’re defeating, or deals more damage. The main character always has 100 health and he is even able to use randomized buffs that can help sway the battles. Some of which allow for more turns, while other change the time or augment the effect of certain attacks. All in all I like this battle system a lot and I wish I had more of it.
In the game you play as Jon Lockhart. John walked through the prison gates a free man, after spending years imprisoned as the supposed murderer of an old friend. He returned once more to the city where it all started, intent on figuring out who it was that framed him for the murder and make them pay in blood for the crime. It’d take some work with the key witness being dead and all, but that just meant he’d have to flush out every rat from hiding. Well at least that’s the premise we’re given at first. The more you play the more it seems like John is like a walking omen who happens to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone wants a piece of this man. From random roffians at the bar to dogs, and what brings this all to life, what puts the cherry on the cake is the exceptional voice acting. The voice of John, and other characters is almost always on point. There were some misses, but they were foreshadowed by the overwhelming amount of great delivery. The audio for the city on the other hand is hit or miss. What I mean by this is not that it’s bad, but rather that there are just some instances where there is not audio for effects where there should be. Moments like two blokes fighting at a bar with no sound effect for fists hitting face just felt off for me. Something was missing and I was always aware of what it was.
This game is however not without its flaws, but they’re not the most likely of flaws. Chief of which is that it’s short, unapologetically short. Before you know it you’ll see the credits rolling for the first ending, then the second, third, and fourth. By the time that’s all done with, what else is there to do in a game like this? In a way the game seems like it’s over long before it’s truly begun and for that reason I say that it is in fact flawed. My hope is that the developers see fit to either release dlc updates or more stories set in this city. Give us more of everything and I’ll be happy. More story, more characters, more battles, more gorgeous art, and certainly more scientific reasons to stick around. The game does also have another flaw and this one is almost game breaking. I’m not sure what causes it to happen, but sometimes tiles just vanish from the board leaving a blank space. At first I thought it was a mechanic, but after some closer observation I noticed that they were actually stuck under other tiles, thus rendering the space they once occupied unusable and preventing most progress in that particular row.
I enjoyed my time with this game greatly to the point that I replayed it multiple times, combed it’s steam page for potential updates or dlc, and even left it installed on my switch after completing all the storylines when my better judgement knows that I should remove it to free up some space for some other games. This is an excellent game with beautiful art, great voice acting, and and interesting story. It’s only flaws being that there isn’t more of it. More locations to visit, more battles to have, and more beautiful art to behold. I wish it we’re longer, for a game like this deserves more of my time, and I think it deserves yours too.
The copy of Metropolis: Lux Obscura used for this review was provided to us by it’s publisher, Sometimes You.