this month I previewed
an odd little game called Lunia
outlining some of the elements that stood out for me after my initial
play time, both good and bad. At the end of my preview I noted that
some aspects of Lunia rubbed me the wrong way, but I was still looking
forward to spending some more time with the game, which is exactly what
For the sake of this review I’ll be going a bit more in depth
about the two primary elements of Lunia, the arcade-style combat and
MMOG inspired character development, and attempt to determine whether
or not the two elements blend well enough to provide a compelling MMOG
Combat: A closer Look
out in Lunia is as simple as selecting your favorite storyline
Simply stating that a game is inspired by arcade-style action can be a
bit misleading. People will make different mental connections depending
on the type of arcade games they may have been exposed to during their
lifespan. Having grown up in the era of the Atari 2600, the mention of
arcade games brings to my mind such classics as Galaga
– games that notably focused on increasing intensity in a
never ending loop of new enemies. As a result, the notion of breaking
up those loops via uninspired boss fights never really took hold for
me. Games that came out later in that same decade, such as Super Mario Bros
popularized the concept of level capping boss fights for a new console
generation, and it’s remained a staple of single player
gaming ever since. When Lunia is described as being motivated by
arcade-style action, it’s clearly those later entries that
inspired the game.
Players in Lunia embark on a series of repeatable missions that can be
accessed at any time via a handy UI button, or by simply leaving town
in the appropriate direction. Think of these missions like a series of
short arcade game levels, because for the most part that’s
exactly how they’ll play out. As you advance, enemies will
become increasingly more difficult, come in larger numbers and will
have a greater variety of special attacks. Though not every mission in
Lunia is capped by a dreaded boss fight, the vast majority will be.
Rather than rehash what I’d previously said about boss fights
in my preview, let’s just say they certainly
weren’t my favorite aspect of the game.
Once a level has been cleared, you’ll be given the option to
open one of two locked chests, the choice typically being between
either potions or items that can be sold to vendors back in town. For
some reason this choice will also be on a timer, so you’ll
only have 10 seconds to decide which you’d prefer. From there
you’ll be shown a score-board for the level, which tracks
things like how long it took to complete the level and how much damage
you took. These stats will be compiled into a final score for each
mission, which will ultimately determine the overall experience gained.
Thanks to the repeatable nature of the missions, these scores are also
something you can improve upon should you so choose to.
Advancement: A Closer Look
mission presents you with a handy scoreboard at the end.
Though combat in Lunia will primarily boil down to alternating between
hitting the A button and Space Bar in various combinations, characters
will also gain levels and learn new skills they can add to their hotbar
similar to most MMOGs. While some of these skills prove to be
extremely useful, such as area heals or knockbacks, quite a few of them
tend to be all flash and no bang. This is just as well, because for the
most part the button-mashing nature of combat keeps things moving at a
fast clip without the need to rely too heavily on tactics.
Loot plays a very prominent role in Lunia, to the point where you may
find yourself spending just as much time in a mission running around to
collect dropped items as you do fighting swarms of oozes or orcs.
Earlier on in the game this can become somewhat of a burden, as it
necessitates frequent trips back to town between missions. That said,
Lunia does also offer quite a few special items that can be purchased
via an item mall that is accessed either within the game or at the
official website. While I didn’t spend too much time browsing
the items for sale, some of the things that stood out were odd things
like rented pets that you could also buy outfits for – in
other words, the purchasable items are more of the visual enhancement
type rather than anything that would alter the balance of gameplay in
any meaningful ways.
the Two Together
storyline in Lunia provides a humorous break between missions.
The arcade-style combat and character advancement in Lunia might
otherwise be an odd pairing if not for a longer story arc played out
primarily in a series of flash-based cutscenes. These short scenes will
appear either before or after most missions in Lunia, and add a layer
of charm to the game that really helps to tie everything together into
a more cohesive experience. Though the cliché anime
characters might not appeal to some, I still enjoyed the storyline
enough that it helped me overlook the fact that I knew I’d
likely die a dozen times as soon as I reached the next boss fight.
On the whole, Lunia is an easy game to recommend to anyone looking for
an extremely casual free-to-play game. The anime inspired graphics
might not appeal to some, but thanks to the ability to set up private
mission instances, this could also be a great game for families with
younger children to play together. Otherwise, Lunia is certainly a
light-hearted, fun experience so long as you aren’t expecting
too much depth and don’t mind running circles around bosses
every few minutes.