Whether or not space truly is the final frontier, at some point, every person has gazed up at the stars and wondered about the possibilities. Two such people are the stars of the game Lucid Lenses from Taawoos Studios.
It's a 2D narrative puzzle game with a painted art style that takes place across two different lives. As you follow each of the characters, their studies, interactions, and connections to each other, you may find yourself learning more about space than you thought you would. Exploring the stars is one thing, but there's a lot to be said for pondering their mysteries and movements.
Space stories span across the universe covering a variety of genres and tones. With Lucid Lenses, a more emotional and personal approach is taken. It follows the story of Reymond and Emily, two people brought together by their love for astronomy. The game places you in their roles separately as you learn more about who they are and how they came to be where they are now. As a couple, they may share lives but still maintain their own thoughts and views on their passion for space science. You'll follow their stories separately and together as they try to unravel the wonders of the stars and of themselves.
Puzzle games are known for going at their own pace which allows plenty of time and space to tell an interesting story. Lucid Lenses make good use of this time to make a touching experience. Right from the beginning, you see the sheer difference between the two main characters and so many questions pop up before the first puzzle. You wonder how they ever came to meet and what drives them to work so hard or at times just stand back and accept things. It's a chance to get invested in these characters as individuals and then try to help them work together so that they can achieve their dreams.
The art style is a strong point of order for both the game and the story. It has a watercolour feel that is perfect for trying to capture a dreamlike feeling. This helps convey the idea that you're playing through memories and thoughts that are at risk of fading. It also highlights the differences between the lives of the two characters as colour plays an important role. Emily is light and hopeful while Reymond is a bit more sombre and realistic. As a result, it makes their relationship more interesting as you watch it play out and hope for the best.
The issue with narrative-heavy games is that certain chinks in the armour are more apparent since you're able to spend more time looking closely. Looking at Lucid Lenses, it could use a bit of a cleaning to address the overall feel of the interactive parts. There are a number of interesting puzzles that are satisfying to solve but these are held back by the simpler and at times, non-puzzle puzzles.
These can be solved through trial and error being simple enough that a few well-placed taps will get them out of the way before you've even thought about it. There are other interactive actions that are meant to feel more like a part of the story or the characters, but since they don't have a real impact, they can feel tedious when you have to do them over and over again.
Lucid Lenses is a 2D narrative puzzle game about two people working separately and coming together to explore the science of astronomy. It's a beautifully told and shown story that will target your feelings. The puzzling works, but there's a lot of room for improvement, challenge, and variety to make it more engaging. Take a look through these lenses for a chance at lucid gaming.