Picture a warm summers morning, you are sat on a bench in a garden. The sunlight warms your face as it shines through the leaves on the trees. You sit there watching the birds go about their morning routine as you sip a warming coffee. Imagine the calm, the serenity and that is the same feeling you get when playing Luna. Using a combination of beautiful visuals and atmospheric audio Luna creates a sense of relaxation that compares to no other game.
Breathe in and breathe out
After completing this game I felt like a Zen master, so why is Luna so relaxing? Humans are creatures of habit and Luna capitalises on this by using repetition. Stripped to its core Luna is two simple puzzles that are repeated but with increasing difficulty as the game continues. Completing the puzzles gives you items you use to bring life to worlds. That in short is the whole game, puzzle and create.
Many puzzle games include difficult puzzles to give the player a sense of accomplishment. Luna uses items as rewards to allow the player to feel victory without the struggle. It is this very clever design that allows the player to do something so simple but feel great about it.
The first puzzle is a memory test with bulbs on a flower shinning and making an ever so satisfying “bing”. Once you repeat the pattern back one of the flower bulbs blooms to show a white light. This leads you to an astrological themed dot-to-dot that happily chimes at you when you align the stars. Everything about these puzzles is designed so perfectly to make you feel at ease in this beautiful world.
The world creation section is just the icing on the cake, and though I am not usually a fan of “dress-up” style games this quickly became my favourite part. You would start with a desolate and bare environment which after placing a few flowers would sparkle and start coming to life. At first I would just throw in a tree here and a flower there. As the game went on I started to really make an effort and take pride in my work. The creator system was so simple too, allowing easy colour and size change of items.
So Luna is relaxing, but what’s the story?
That is a question I wish I could answer! While the game is undeniably beautiful I was left a little uncertain as to the story of Luna. It starts with a little bird who meets a large and cold looking owl. From here, the game starts and you are tasked with collecting sections of the moon from the voices of other animals. To avoid spoilers, all I will say about the ending is that it really confused me as to the purpose of my objective.
This game was not story heavy and focused more on the puzzles than the purpose. This is not in anyway a flaw to Luna, as it was enjoyable enough with out a story. As a massive fan of RPGs that is not something I say lightly as story is usually the main selling point for me. It is more of an experience than a game, its focus seems to be on making the player feel serene. This is why the purpose doesn’t matter it is more about how it makes you feel.
As beautiful as the moon
This game is so stunning I had to mention the visuals. The art style is simple yet beautiful, creating very picturesque scenes. It is composed of a very basic level of detail. There is no complexity in the imaginary which creates a very open feel. Luna’s use of colour is also exemplary. Using the darker colours to create an evening feel, but mixing in lighter colours to bring life to the scenes. Visually the game is very pleasing, and so different from other games!
Would VR make a difference?
Luna was originally released as a VR game, but a new patch has made it available in 2D. Unfortunately I was not able to play in VR, but I feel that it really would help emerge you into the beauty of Luna. Saying this, I do not feel the game lost any of its charm in its conversion to 2D. The only major advantage would probably be the world creation section. To be able to see the world you are creating in VR would be amazing.
Get a chill pill
I whole heartedly recommend getting Luna. Any day you want to unwind or to play a game that isn’t demanding this is the game to play. It’s calming gameplay is an experience you should not pass up. Available on steam now for only £11.39 it will be money well spent! So grab yourself a video game chill pill!