Game Reviews

LUNA The Shadow Dust review - "Touching story with a cute pet fluff, albeit a frustrating last chapter"

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LUNA The Shadow Dust review - "Touching story with a cute pet fluff, albeit a frustrating last chapter"
  • Stunning hand-animated scenes and evocative soundtrack
  • Super-cute pet fluff companion
  • Touching story but frustrating last chapter

I've always believed that throwing a chonky pet into the mix makes everything better and brighter in practically any kind of scenario, and LUNA The Shadow Dust knows it all too well. The charming point-and-click adventure tells a wordless tale of light and darkness in just a little over two hours, with gorgeous visuals and an evocative soundtrack to boot. 

But underneath all the enchantment (and the distraction of a fluffy pet), is it truly a story that's one for the books, or is it all a trick of the light?

Table of contents:

LUNA The Shadow Dust: Story and Visuals

It's hard not to compare the vibes here to anything Studio Ghibli, as the visuals really do evoke a sense of magic and wonder with every hand-drawn stroke. This is even truer with the way the adventure thrusts you right into the thick of it all with no introduction or premise on its worldbuilding, which isn't exactly a bad thing. 

This simply heightens the sense of exploration here, as all you really have to go on is this unnamed boy in a bubble who falls down from the sky out of nowhere and lands at the bottom of a dark tower. You somehow know you'll have to make your way up, and as you solve puzzles on your ascent, you'll also discover more about the lore, the world's origins, and your own past along the way.

The star of the show, however, is the fluffy little round thing you'll encounter on your way up - it's weak, injured, and buried under a pile of broken wood. 

adorable animal pet looking up with a worried look on its face

The natural course of action, of course, is to nurture it and take it with you, and while you have no idea what it is or where it came from, its fluffy tail, blob-like shape, and little spikes will prompt you to pick it up, declare it as your new best friend, and vow to never ever part from it for as long as you live.

LUNA The Shadow Dust: Gameplay

The title itself offers a little hint as to what the gameplay is all about. Essentially, you'll play with light and shadows to get from Point A to Point B, with amusing puzzles scattered in between to make the magic come alive. There's plenty of humour peppered throughout the puzzles as well, whether you're feeding a plump rat with some questionable stew or asking a one-eyed creature for directions on the moon. 

gameplay puzzle playing with shadows

There's no handholding here, which can be both a blessing and a curse (I'll get to that in more detail later on). There is, however, a little eye icon on the top-left that you can use to see which elements you can interact with in every scene, with the option to switch between the boy and the Best Pet Ever to set things in motion. 

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There are no words, no instructions, and no menus here. All you have is your intuition and your keen powers of observation - plus your patience for some trial-and-error, which might just be the best weapon you have whenever you feel stuck.

And you will feel stuck at some point, because while controls are intuitive (as well-ported point-and-click games on mobile should have), the lack of signposting can be both a bane and a boon. On one hand, it gives you a sublime sense of satisfaction whenever you figure something out with no help whatsoever. On the other, it also might frustrate you to the point of rage-quitting (which I almost did towards the end).

What's the appeal?

Here's where my main gripe with the game comes in. The very last clocktower stage, in particular, had me so frustrated not only because trial-and-error got me nowhere, but also because it got to the point where solving puzzles became too tedious. 

The controls were extremely finicky too towards that last bit (I'm looking at you, circular puzzle thingy), so even though that handy eye icon was a godsend, it still couldn't save me from failing over and over again simply because I had no idea what I was supposed to do next.

By the way, I also encountered a bug somewhere in the middle where my Best Pet Ever got stuck hovering over invisible platforms. I couldn't do anything else with him stuck there, so I had to exit to the main menu and repeat the level all over again to get him unstuck.

point and click puzzle glitch with a buggy character

Thankfully, the animated cutscenes that bookend chapters are an absolute delight in themselves, so much so that the wordless scenes got my eyes all watery. It only goes to show how effective the animations are (and the god-tier soundtrack), because even though no words were said, the story still moved me so much that it instantly wiped out all the rage the last stage seared into my brain. I suppose it's just a matter of whether or not you'll have the willpower to persevere past that last bit to get to the ending as a reward.

hand-drawn animated cut scene of a boy studying

When you get right down to it, it's that Best Pet Ever that saves the day in more ways than one. It also leaves this line as the game ends: "To light a candle is to cast a shadow." It's a tragically beautiful sentiment that summarises the game and life in its entirety - frustrating puzzles and buggy glitches included.

LUNA The Shadow Dust review - "Touching story with a cute pet fluff, albeit a frustrating last chapter"

LUNA The Shadow Dust is an enchanting point-and-click adventure that's recently made the jump to mobile. The stunning hand-animated scenes and evocative soundtrack complement the wordless storytelling beautifully, and if you can get past the rage-quit-inducing last chapters, a memorable ending awaits - and maybe even a lesson on persevering through adversity too. 
Catherine Dellosa
Catherine Dellosa
Catherine plays video games for a living and writes because she’s in love with words. Her Young Adult contemporary novel, For The Win: The Not-So-Epic Quest Of A Non-Playable Character, is her third book published by Penguin Random House SEA - a poignant love letter to gamer geeks, mythological creatures, teenage heartbreak, and everything in between. She one day hopes to soar the skies as a superhero, but for now, she strongly believes in saving lives through her works in fiction. Check out her books at, or follow her on FB/IG/Twitter at @thenoobwife.