Steam Cleaning #26: Lunistice

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I love me a good platformer. Lunistice is a good platformer.

Lunistice isn’t a game with a gimmick. It emulates the gameplay flow of games like Crash Bandicoot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Donkey Kong Country while adapting its visual style to match PS1 classic games. It feels good to play, looks good to watch, but the core gameplay is not gimmicky. Hana has a double jump and a spin attack. That’s it.

The real variety, as in some of the greatest platformers of all time (Celeste and Mario), comes from the level design. In my experience, Level 1 was simple and solid. Level 2 was twice as good. Level 3 upped the ante again. And so on. Each level introduced new mechanics that made the game more frantic, cinematic, and fun.

The simple story behind the game, and the various unlockable secrets at the end sealed the deal. I won’t go into detail here, but it was just what I wanted in an indie platformer. For a cheap dose of old-school platforming, you can’t go wrong with this game. It even has pretty good speedrun potential, despite the lack of character momentum, thanks to some tricky level design quirks.

Admittedly, there are a couple of frustrating moments in the game. Sometimes the timing or spacing of platforms or collectibles was slightly off, and it interrupts the flow of the game. I had to skip certain platforms and move in an unintended way to guarantee victory, or once even fling myself to certain doom to retrieve a collectible I’d missed midair. This may not seem like a big deal, but when the levels are designed for flow, this brings a grinding halt to the game. Luckily I can only think of three instances in the entire three-hour game. And that is my only complaint.

If you like platformers at all, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not playing Lunistice.

Verdict: Beat the game, all S-Ranks and documents unlocked.

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