|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Killaware||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition Ent.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Let me just start off by saying that I had absolutely no exposure to Lux-Pain before I received a copy to review. As with most games that I'm unfamiliar with, I'll take some time looking over the box in an attempt to deduce what to expect before jumping headlong into playing the title. Based on the moody looking anime scene represented on Lux-Pain's box, I narrowed my expectations down to either some sort of an RPG or an action game, with a slight leaning towards an RPG.
Checking out the back of the box only solidified my preconception of it being an RPG, or so I thought, showing screens with large characters conversing through the use of dialogue boxes. However, after popping the game into my DS and playing it for countless hours, I'm still not quite sure how best to label this title.
On one hand, Lux-Pain is a lengthy experience complete with a long list of characters, tons of dialogue, a confusing storyline, and even some leveling up. However, while all of these things would normally be telltale signs of an RPG, Lux-Pain turns out to be something else entirely. What that something else is I'm still not particularly sure, but I can definitely say without any shred of doubt that I did not enjoy most of my time spent with Lux-Pain for a variety of reasons.
The largest and most detrimental obstacle standing between me and enjoying Lux-Pain was its story and how it is told. The story revolves around the game's main character Atsuki Saijo. Atsuki is a member of an underground task force known as FORT, who is seeking out some sort of evil known as SILENT that is responsible for a rash of unexplained suicides. To get to the bottom of this threat and prevent more deaths, Atsuki needs to make use of his, ugh, telepathic powers and must, double ugh, go undercover at a local high school to gather information.
Lux-Pain actually has you traveling all over Kisaragi, although you typically won't really have any idea why you're going to any of the game's locations. One minute you'll be talking with a little girl and a dog in an alley about some guy who has been killing animals and the next you're being confronted by two drunken girls in front of a hamburger shack who really have nothing useful to convey. But sadly, even if there is no valuable information to be had within this, and many other similar exchanges throughout the game, you'll still be forced to sift through the plethora of these idle conversations regardless.
In fact, these discussions make up about ninety-five percent of Lux-Pain's "gameplay." So, to make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, I'll describe the process of "playing" the game in better detail. First, you need to use your stylus to choose a quadrant of the city, usually whichever place that happens to be illuminated. Next, you'll choose a more specific destination such as a cafeteria or the front of the school. After this, a random anime character will confront you and it is up to you to wait for their dialogue box to fill with text and then tap it to continue on with the conversation. You'll often need to repeat this last step for a good five to ten minutes depending on just how longwinded your current companion happens to be. This becomes even more frustrating when you factor in the numerous pointless conversations that constantly transpire as well as the ones that do attempt to progress the story but are so convoluted and confusing that reading them does no good anyway.
Your occasional treat for suffering through these countless chats is that every so often the dialogue can be followed by a sigma symbol appearing on the screen. Tapping this letter from the Greek alphabet will allow you to take part in a tiny, timed mini-game where you'll be searching for Shinen. Shinen are worms that reside in environments and characters that need to be extracted so that Atsuki can use them to gain insight into the current situation.