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Lacuna - A Sci-Fi Noir Adventure Review

Lacuna - A Sci-Fi Noir Adventure Review

I have always been a fan of mystery and detective stories since I was a child, so I get excited anytime I get a chance to play as a gumshoe. Lacuna is different from the other detective games I have played recently, it is a noir detective story set in the future. You can only have one save file and the game autosaves on its own, so you do not have the option of having a backup file for when you make a poor choice and things in the game start going bad. You’ve made your choice and now you have to live with the consequences, this really makes you realise the gravity your choices have!

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Lacuna starts off with a prologue, where you play as Mira, a woman who has just moved to the planet Drovia with her family. This is where you will learn all the controls for the game. They are quite simple to navigate the levels you use left and right with up and down being used to go up and down staircases. In Mira’s bedroom, you find a computer where you can interact with your instructor who teaches you how to use Investigation Mode. This is an overlay that you can use at any time to find important things you may not notice with the naked eye. While you are using this overlay, you can freely move around the area to investigate and check out all the highlighted objects. Soon after learning how to use this feature, you will discover how to use your cell phone. This sounds weird, but in the game this is used to do a lot of research and to submit “sheets” to other characters. These sheets ask you questions about events occurring in the news, what evidence you have found, and which person is your prime suspect. It reminds me of multiple-choice tests you would have had to do in school. You only get one chance to answer the questions correctly, so be sure to read the news articles and emails that you have access to on your phone. These sheets could change the whole outcome of the story.

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After the Prologue, we meet Lacuna’s main character Neil Conrad, who is an agent with the CDI. I am not sure what this stands for but they deal with the relations between the planets. This part of the story takes place on a different planet named Ghara. There are three planets in the game: Ghara, Drovia, and New Jovan that you become acquainted with through the news articles you read on your phone. There is constant stress and strife between the three, so be prepared for a lot of political turmoil and fights over independence and resources.

Since Lacuna is set in the future, cancer has been eradicated, so there is no reason not to let Neil enjoy his method of stress relief; smoking. I’m sure there are a ton of other health risks associated but Neil seems to think it’s okay. Lacuna even has in-game achievements for being a chain smoker, or if you decide to take the healthy route and not. If you do smoke, there are vending machines on the streets where you can easily restock Neil's stash of cigarettes. I thought this was a neat addition since it’s not something you see in games very often.

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Lacuna is a beautiful looking 2D adventure game with stylised pixel graphics. There are several layers of animation with trees moving, subways trains always running, and digital billboards that bring the city to life. Accompanying this is a really unique soundtrack that has a jazz cyberpunk feel. It's hard to describe but fits really well with the mood of the game.

Lacuna definitely does not hold your hand while you are trying to solve the puzzles in the game. I was lost looking for a specific room in the apartment building I was in. Took me over an hour to find the hidden walkway to gain access to the other side. Though I felt pretty silly that it took me so long to find. So everything isn't super obvious and clear cut! 

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The game has eight different endings determined by your in-game choices. I got what I consider one of the worse ones, but I am unsure how the other endings play out since looking it up would spoil my future play-through. It took me about four hours to complete Lacuna, so it won’t take a huge time commitment to discover an ending that you feel satisfied with. Looking back I realise that trying to play the good cop and trying to make everyone happy was not the best idea! But it's a good sign that I cared about the characters and story enough that I want to go back and try again to get a better result for everyone!

8.00/10 8

Lacuna – A Sci-Fi Noir Adventure (Reviewed on Xbox X|S)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Lacuna is a beautiful looking futuristic noir detective story with a great soundtrack that really makes you realise how much your decisions matter. Be prepared to do a lot of reading and research in-game so you make informed choices, because if you don’t a bad ending is waiting for you!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of cats, coffee and all kinds of videogames! With a soft spot for retro and import games.

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