Lost in a strange, dreamlike world, two unlikely friends must use light to command the shadows and illuminate a way back home. LUNA The Shadow Dust is a beautiful adventure-puzzle game with two characters to control in your puzzle-solving.
LUNA The Shadow Dust, from Lantern Studio, takes place in a enigmatic, hand-drawn world of ruins and dreams. The protagonist, an unnamed boy, and his cat-like companion must explore through the chambers of a dusty, ruined tower filled with mysterious puzzles and portals.
I was lucky enough to play through some of LUNA while at Insomnia62 earlier in the year. The amazing, hand-drawn artwork — inefficiently, but so remarkably gliding and flowing, almost hypnotic — was what initially drew me to the demo. A game with a focus on light and puzzles revolving around the seasons must, afterall, have fantastic art. However, it was the puzzles and screen-by-screen play that kept me playing.
The puzzles start out simple: essentially clicking to navigate platforms. However, before long the role of light in the game becomes more and more prevalent. Lighting candles triggers animations which serve as clues to puzzles; passing through unlit doors has different effects than passing through ones with lights on; and travelling through lit portals alter the world around them while others don’t. There’s a fascinating depth in the deeper puzzles — deep enough that you’re rarely short of a theory on how to pass the area, even if the theory is wrong.
LUNA isn’t just a visual showcase, either. The audio — as limiting as creating sound for a looming tower must be — is equally appropriate and memorable. Creaking, crunching, cracking and the whistling howl of the wind are the noises that accompany you on your journey.
Interestingly, for the amazing effort that has gone into the audio, the character speech and dialogue has been deliberately removed. Characters instead communicate through speech bubbles filled with iconographs — not only easy to understand, but also transcendent of language. This is something I am surprised that more puzzle games don’t move to use.
LUNA is expected to launch on both PC & iOS later this year.