Personality, action and some really crude allegories in a small yet complete package.
Disclaimer: this review doesn’t have many screenshots of the game as it would spoil the experience to know too much about the game. No spoilers on this review will be found though, so read it with no fear at all!
If there’s something that I love more than ranting about Triple A titles and companies, is finding games with huge personality and style. I said before about how Way of the Passive Fist manages to make my jaw break the floor with its amazing level design and its concept of Weak em’ Up, and today’s game does that as well without the need of reimagining the genre of Hack and Slash. Are you intrigued? So was I when I started playing this amazing game, and now I consider it one of the best titles I played so far this year. If you’ve ever dreamt about playing a title that challenges you and makes you go forward with its intriguing plot, dream no more, because that game is Lucah Born of a Dream.
Sweet dreams are made of this
Created by Melessthanthree, this title puts us in the skin of Lucah, the Marked Child. In order to get rid of the curse that makes Lucah’s inner demons project themselves, this child will have to set pilgrimage in order to seek Purification. And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot because the less you know about it, the better for your experience. What I can talk about though is how amazing Born of a Dream looks.
Some may think that the visual style of this game looks really amateur, but far from it. The chaotic lines and the almost psychotic designs of the demons will fight in our journey will make you say “What the f*ck are you?!” from time to time, and that’s intentional. If you think you are going to feel happy playing this game you are dead wrong, my friend. Lucah’s realm of dreams is really raw and abstract, just like a nightmare is usually experienced. You don’t know how or why are you there, but you just keep going forward regardless of that. And forward you’ll be going in order to hear and see how many eerie tunes will follow you along your quest. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t reach Silent Hill levels of creepiness, but the mixture of action with sudden stops of the soundtrack only to appear again with a really sweet tune in order to fight a boss fits perfectly with the tone of the game. And yes, you read correctly: bosses.
It’s where my demons are
Lucah is an isometric Hack and Slash, but if you think you are only going to use 1 or 2 moves and call it a day you are wrong. This game is not a simple “just hit attack button until the thing dies”, but it demands some focus from the player in order to overcome the big things we have to deal with. In order to do this, Lucah Born of a Dream offers us some interesting things to play.
The most important things are the “healing” items. Instead of having our usual green potions of bottles with SunnyD (first and last thing I’ll joke about you-know-what-game), we have Rewinds. Rewinds work as their name implies: you use one, you start the battle once again and your HP returns to the point before you engage with an enemy. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get full health, as you might have lost some before reaching that place. Do you want to heal? Don’t worry, you can! Twice. Once if you don’t like exploring. These Recoveries refill themselves when you reach a Tombstone (a place where you can level up and quick travel to other areas), but the game focuses more on making you use Rewinds more.
Aside from those two important objects, we need to have something in order to defend ourselves, right? That comes in the form of Mantras and Familiars. Mantras are different attacks that you can discover while exploring or by defeating certain enemies. These things come in many flavours, offering a vast array of ways to engage with your foes. Some may feel a little bit OP if I have to be honest, but they always offer something in exchange of its power. The stronger ones consume more stamina, and the ones with lower-damage input may be really quick while offering a faster Charge refill. And then you have Familiars.
Familiars are pretty useful, as they offer you the chance of keeping enemies at a distance while your stamina recovers. Imagine them as the different guns you can get in DMC 3: all of them unique, but they mostly work to keep dealing damage. And you can combine your two Paradigms (where you select your 2 main Mantras) with any Familiar you have, so there are plenty of combinations that you can try.
The best comes in small packages
I could go on and on talking about how much I loved Lucah: Born of a Dream. Does it have some issues? Well, sometimes it’s hard to read enemy attacks as they are far from where the action is taking place, and I won’t lie that at times I thought I’ve just evaded a hit only to see that a demon took a chunk of my health. This could be fixed with a distinguishable sound so it’s more of a nitpick than anything else. But aside from these small issues, the game doesn’t take too much to beat, so these problems are just like tiny rocks encountered on a wonderful trip.
Lucah Born of a Dream is one of those games that, once you finish it, you only have the thought of wanting to replay it again in order to see what else can it offer. It may take you only 7/8 hours to complete, but some branching paths will tickle your sense of wonder. With its tight controls and mechanics, its simple yet eerie artistic style and the ability to make you say “okay, this time I’ll do it right” every single time you die is something that I value above pretty graphics or hollow and pretentious plots. And trust me: coming from a guy that doesn’t have a problem butchering one of its favourite IPs, you know I have to be serious when I say that you should support and play a game as interesting and fun to play as Lucah Born of a Dream.
Lucah Born of a Dream
- Responsive control and mechanics
- Exploration is rewarded
- Combat feels challenging yet fun
- Visual style with personality
- Some bossess can be a little bit annoying
- Some Mantras make some fights a walk in the park
- Enemies can hit you at times even if you swear you evaded their attacks