Lunacid is Old School to a "T"

... and to a fault

Lunacid is Old School to a "T"
Source: Press Kit.

Lunacid is the latest game from Kira, who has made a name for themselves with a very unique mix of games and styles. Their previous title, Lost in Vivo, was a love letter to the PS2-era of horror that went down as one of the most disturbing games of that year. They’re now back with Lunacid which takes on the style of King’s Field, a first-person action RPG that is both a modern riff on the design and still very old school in its implementation.

Down we Go

The story is that a mysterious beast appeared one day that has corrupted the world with a poisonous fog. The remaining humans reside in the few livable areas left and throw their dead and criminals into a mysterious well. You find yourself the latest victim and are now left to wander the massive underground world to get out.

Before we go on, it’s important to state the obvious: this is not a Souls-like game. Death simply means you die and you will have to reload your save. The gameplay itself is built on the same kind of locational-based damage and charge attacks of King’s Field. Every weapon has different stats and charge times that you must hold to do full damage with it. Spells are cast by equipping rings and come in all varieties of attack and utility.

While the combat is just okay, the star of the game is the world itself.

A Spelunking Quest

The entire game space of Lunacid is a massive world made up of different biomes. Each one has its own look, different enemies, multiple original songs, and a myriad of secrets to find. If you thought that only a game like Elden Ring could be full of secret areas all over, then you haven’t seen anything yet. Lunacid has secret areas, secret weapons, and secret quests. This game has secrets within secrets within secrets, along with multiple endings, and just like Voidstranger earlier this year, most of you will never find everything on your own.

Source: YouTube.

There is a great sense of wonder in this game, as you never truly know what is behind the next corner, through the next door, and what kind of creatures await you. This is not a game where you will pick one weapon and only use that for the rest of your run. Besides being able to upgrade certain weapons after using them enough, there are multiple damage types designed to take on specific enemies. Ghosts and cursed enemies will shrug off normal weapons but can be taken out quite easily with holy weapons.

While the game certainly has that old-school charm, it also comes with that old school lack of onboarding and approachability.

My Kingdom for a Map

This is one of those games where you need to play it daily, as you’ll quickly forget the routes and areas to which you need to go. The level design itself relies far too much on dead ends and circular areas, and because everything has the same look, it is impossible to navigate via landmarks. The only way to fast travel at the start is by activating warp crystals in the major areas. You’ll soon find crystal shards that are consumable for fast travel, but they are limited, and you won’t get access to a fast travel spell until you are very close to the end of the game.

There is no map in the game, nor do the NPCs provide you with any meaningful guidance. Even after finishing the game, there is one area that I didn’t unlock because I literally have no idea where it is.

enemy variety is vast in the game, and so are the weapons to beat them. Source: Author.

The difficulty is also a bit uneven in places. Again, bring the right weapon to an area and you’ll do fine. However, the different status aliments are no joke, and being caught unprepared can lead to a quick death. The final boss is a massive stat wall that did not feel good to fight. Speaking of stats, Lunacid is an entirely stat-driven game. There is no equipment other than weapons. Putting points into your dexterity and speed will allow you to jump higher and move faster respectively. You want to figure out what build you want to focus on, and then raise that respective attribute to max as quickly as possible.

There is just so much to the game, and it is so easy to miss a useful feature or something important. I thought I went down every path I could, and there are still spells according to guides that I missed that would have helped or given more information about the game.

Not a Day Trip

Lunacid is not a game for everyone. As I said before, it clearly is meant to be a trip to the past of games in which you are going to want to take your time to explore. There is something hauntingly beautiful about the world of the game, and while it may be a bit rough at the start, this is one of those games where you will either play it for 30 minutes and then never touch it again, or dive deep and explore every inch of the world.

If you want more thoughts on RPG design, check out “Game Design Deep Dive: Role Playing Games” out now. If you enjoy my work and would like to support me, you can check out my Patreon. And if you enjoyed this story, consider joining the Game-Wisdom Discord channel. It’s open to everyone.


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