Ah, Lux-Pain, if ever I’ve had a love/hate relationship with a game, it was with you. On one hand an intriguing graphic adventure, on the other, a sloppily presented product that caused no end of irritation at the endless grammatical errors. Oh, what are we to do with you?
First off, I have a really hard time calling Lux-Pain a video game. There are a few game elements, and instead, this is a graphic adventure with a tense storyline and haunting music. The embarrassingly bad translation, full of so many errors, jarred me out of the playing experience several times. Names were misspelled, genders confused, and most annoying, the vocal lines did not match the written text. It was as if the director in charge of the voice actors tossed the original script out the window, and rewrote the characters lines in a more fluid way. My solution for this was to not look at the words during the scenes with voice overs. Much of the text is stuffy and stiffly rendered, so the voice acting was a treat.
Atsuki’s family has been killed by the SILENT, mental parasites that infect the minds of humans. The SILENT feed off of emotions, causing the host to give in to their darkest feelings. Mass murders and suicides are their calling cards, and Atsuki is now working for a secret organization that’s out to stop the SILENT. When mysterious happenings occur at Kisaragi City, Atsuki is sent undercover to root out the secret behind the SILENT. Going to school by day and searching the city by night, he’s determined to discover and put a stop to the SILENT.
Using the powers of the Lux-Pain, Atsuki gathers clues to discover the location of the SILENT. The adventure is broken into episodes, each lasting a day. They usually begin with Atsuki heading off to school, where he asks questions of students and teachers in his quest to find his enemies. With his Sigma powers, he can read people’s minds to find the worms hiding there. This is where the gaming elements come into play. The player, in the Erase Mode, gets to scratch away at the onscreen character’s portrait in an effort to unveil the hidden worm. Scratch too much, and you destroy the character’s mind, ending the game. There’s a time limit, and after uncovering the worm, there is a short sequence showing the emotions roiling through the character’s mind. I loved the sound effects when the worm was imprinted, and the music was very moving, as well. I think the music was the best part of Lux-Pain. Boss battles, for lack of a better word, took place when Atsuki finds a SILENT, and instead of scratching at the screen, the player gets a change of pace and has to rapidly tap it.
The further I moved along in the adventure, the more caught up in the game I became. There is a lot of text, and though the game is pretty passive, I couldn’t put it down. The linear nature meant that I wasn’t allowed to meander off track, and the short sequences built upon each other, making for an intriguing story. The character designs are fun and as Atsuki continued to interact with his classmates and the residents of Kisaragi City, I began to like them. Their emotions are what really drove the story.
Not without it’s faults, Lux-Pain was still a fun adventure. If there hadn’t been so many issues with inexcusable grammatical errors, the game would have gotten a higher score. As the product stands, though, it is flawed and at times it is hard to overlook these mistakes. A spell checker and a good editor would have fixed these irritations.
Review copy provided by the publisher