Lacuna_01
Follow Genre: Point & Click Puzzle Adventure
Developer: DigiTales Interactive
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment, WhisperGames & Mayflower Entertainment
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Lacuna – Review

Site Score
9.5
Good: Amazing story, Well-executed method of doing detective work, Choices matter
Bad: A little to easy at times
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Lacuna is a sci-fi noir detective game; a narrative-driven point & click adventure game in which you’ll investigate a case which might very well lead to an interstellar war if things go awry. You play a detective in a gritty futuristic world, which deals with intolerance, discrimination, and social class stratification, much like our world does. Lacuna has been developed by DigiTales Interactive, and is published by Assemble Entertainment, WhisperGames & Mayflower Entertainment.

Lacuna_01

Story

Lacuna features a great story; it’s set in a gritty futuristic world, where mankind has colonized several planets. Of course, there are some political frictions between factions, and that’s basically what this story is all about. You are a detective in this world, comparable to an FBI agent. After the assassination of a high-profile political figure, you’re tasked to investigate who is responsible for this murder, in a desperate attempt to quell political unrest which could very well lead to an interplanetary war.

The style of narration is based on classic detective noir storytelling, so you can expect to explore both the glittering upper layers and the dark underbelly of the city you live in, all while investigating this case. Meanwhile, the detective has a personal story going on with his ex-wife and daughter, and the many colorful characters you’ll meet during your investigation also have their own personal stories going on.

The dialogue is really well-written, and properly reflects the personality of the many characters you’ll meet. Every now and then you’ll be confronted by dialogues where you’ll have to make a choice between several options; based on either your personal preferences for how you’d handle a situation, or based on clues you’ve found and investigated. You’ll have a limited time to choose between these dialogue options, and these choices will have a huge impact on how the story will develop for your character.

Most of the story is told via dialogues, but you’ll also carry around a cellphone on which you’ll receive emails and news, which further enhances the setting and backstories of characters. Every now and then the detective will also take a moment to reflect upon the happenings of the day, which is a fully narrated monologue recapping his feelings about the events which transpired. This way of illustrating the story from a personal perspective fits really well within the noir-type setting and feel of the game.

Graphics

The style of the graphics is something we often see in indie games these days: simplified retro-inspired pixel art. It’s well-executed in this game and very pretty! The sprites of the characters are really simple without facial details, but the character portraits are more detailed, and show the expressions of the characters.

Locations are well designed, and really reflect the atmosphere of the areas through the beautiful use of colors and lighting, which really sets the mood of the scenes.

The UI is easy to navigate as well. You’ll have just a few buttons on-screen (which will all get explained during the tutorial), and most of the functionality is found in your ‘cell’, which is your cellphone with which you can access all information you’ve gathered, which is very straightforward to use.

Sound

The music is very nice and functions really well to set that film-noir / detective mood. The music reflects the energy of a scene and area, adding to the atmosphere. The sound effects are also well done and properly reflect the actions of the characters and the style of the game.

Most conversations aren’t narrated, but the internal dialogue of the detective is. Every now and then during a moment of introspection, the detective reflects upon the recent happenings. This will be accompanied by scrolling text on screen, and generally a beautiful view of the city.

Gameplay

Lacuna is a point & click puzzle adventure, where you’ll play as a detective investigating a high-profile case. You’ll gather evidence through questioning of suspects and witnesses, by examining the objects in the places you’ll visit, or simply through the news or emails. There are a lot of sources of information you’ll need to bring together to get to the correct conclusions, but luckily this game makes that really easy to handle.

When investigating an environment, you’ll be able to make use of a button that will highlight all objects around you with which you can interact, and this will also highlight persons who have something new to say based on the information you’ve uncovered. There’s another button that will switch your character into ‘investigation mode’, which will allow you to gather further clues from the object you can interact with.

You’ll always have access to your cell, in which you’ll collect clues, emails, news, but also reports of all conversations you’ve had; so it’s easy to review conversations in search of clues. Important clues are highlighted in the text, so you’ll immediately know what’s relevant for your case. Also, the clues you find are organized per location, and you’ll see exactly how many clues you’ll be able to uncover, so you can see if you’re missing clues. However, you often won’t be able to unlock all clues in one location directly; sometimes you’ll have to come back later or unlock a previously inaccessible part of the area.

Often you’ll need to gather information by questioning people, and your questions will be most powerful if they are based on the clues and information you’ve gathered. In these cases, you should read up on the evidence you’ve gathered, so that you can select the right conversation choices. Generally, an NPC will warn you to look at the evidence before questioning, so you won’t be unprepared in a situation where some knowledge is needed.

The clues aren’t that hard to put together, but it does require some thinking and re-examining of the found evidence, to be sure of your answers. Also, for some things, there isn’t a clear-cut answer, and sometimes new clues point to another direction than you previously thought, so you’ll need to examine cues based on the most recent information.

The actual investigation work is really well executed in this game, and is done in a unique and innovative way. Every now and then you’ll receive forms you’ll need to fill in with the evidence you’ve gathered, to send out to your boss or colleagues so that they can act upon that evidence. The clues you’ll point out will be crucial to the story and will decide the success of interventions. If you filled out the form in the wrong way, there will be consequences. Luckily, providing wrong answers will never be game-breaking, but things will probably not happen as you envisioned them. It will certainly affect the story of your character.

This game features an auto-save system in which you aren’t able to save manually, so you won’t be able to test different dialogue options or ways of filling in sheets within one playthrough. This makes it really important to think your responses through.

Conclusion

Lacuna is a really great game! The story is really interesting and will keep your attention as you are playing through the game. The characters are well written and have clear and unique personalities. The graphical style is executed very well, and the music is nice and atmospheric. The gameplay really is amazing. You feel like you are really doing some investigation work, but it’s never too hard or confusing to make sense of all the clues you gather. It’s great to see how your choices really affect the story, and it’s very cool how the auto-save system actually reinforces the feeling of urgency to make the right decisions. If you like point & click adventures or detective games, you’ll certainly like this game!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Lacuna - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.