DS Review: Lux Pain

This is about as painful as it gets…

SILENT, a fearsome mind parasite, is spreading in Kisaragi City. It infects humans and takes control of their minds, pushing them to kill. Atsuki is a member of FORT, a secret organisation devoted to eradicating this parasite. Will you be able to find the original SILENT and exterminate this threat forever?

Lux Pain tries to be a good detective-like game, it tries to keep the average gamer interested with its story about mind parasites and uncovering people’s thoughts, but ultimately it is increasingly pointless and offers little reason to recommend it.
Essentially all you do is go to different locations and talk with people, when they start glowing you enter into Sigma mode which sees you trying to locate orbs in the picture. The top screen usually shows where they are, so all you have to do is scratch the lower screen till you find the parasite and then hold the stylus over it for a few seconds to obtain it and some text of what is going on in their head. That’s all there is to do in the game.

It does become a little harder when the parasite isn’t clear to see, so you have to use a search tool to find it and you are also under a time limit. The frustrating thing is if you mess it up, you have to start the ENTIRE CHAPTER AGAIN. I spent around 20 mins getting through one chapter only to come across a Sigma moment which I failed and I had to do it all over again. At this point, I was more than a little annoyed. The game only seemed to save after each chapter was completed, I only later discovered that you have to manually save the game after each scenario, which wasn’t really explained in-game and I only found it out by reading the damn manual, I never have had to read in games for years!
The story itself is intriguing, but the gameplay is so ridiculous that it just doesn’t give you enough reason to enjoy it. At least with games like Phoenix Wright you got more than one thing to do, Lux Pain just repeats the same thing over and over. It’s a shame because the opening anime cutscene is really impressive and I had no idea what the game was about. Then I started playing it and I kept thinking “What is the point of this? Where is it going? Is there more to do than just hunting down these parasites and talking to people?” The answers are as follows: There is no point, it’s not going anywhere and there’s nothing more to do.

It’s frustrating that a game can have a good concept but an almost complete lack of gameplay or challenge. It can’t hope to compete with the likes of Hotel Dusk, Unsolved Crimes and Phoenix Wright, each of these games offer different ways of finding clues and offer plenty of warning over saving, which Lux Pain does not.

The game is only built up into two images repeated on both screens for each scenario, so it hardly pushes the DS far in terms of visuals. Voice-acting is inconsistent as its missing sometimes and present at other moments; the actual voice-work is average at best. The soundtrack is a tad disappointing and for some reason, made me feel sleepy…or was that just the game?

The Verdict

Lux Pain is a pointless game, offering gamers very little to do. It has a good enough story and it’s just fine, until you start playing it and then realising that this game is ridiculous. If you are a detective-game fan, then pick something better than this half-baked idea.