After seeing a demo of a game called Lunistice, and seeing it up on a Youtube channel, I got curious. Inspired by the old Sega Saturn platformers of old mixed with a fun sprinkle of PS1 platforming of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, Lunsitice is all about the gameplay, which was commonplace for games back then. But is it any good? Could the developer, A Grumpy Fox, capture the magic that made games from that era, so good?
Game Name: Lunistice
Platform(s): PC(reviewed), Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): A Grumpy Fox
Release Date: November 10th, 2022
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot had a child? Well, apparently, it would be Hana the Tanuki. You play as Hana in Lunistice as you are trying to travel through her own dreamscape. You explore grassy areas, food areas, and even the moon in some stages. Once you finish every stage in the game, you get access to two new characters to play as, and that gives you a lot more freedom to explore the stages.
Lunistice has a very basic control scheme which, to be honest, is one of the strongest points of the game. You have options for always running or holding down a trigger on a gamepad (if you’re using one). You can also have the trigger be a walk button. I played most of this game on Steam Deck, and I can say it runs extremely well. Though this game doesn’t take a lot of hardware to run well.
You can double jump and attack in the air from the get-go. You don’t unlock abilities as you progress, but stages do become more difficult. It is all about you becoming better at controlling your character, which determines if you are ready to finish a stage. There are a variety of enemies, such as one that will grow spikes on its back as you get closer, another that stays in the air motionless, and one that will do all that it can to follow you to the very end of the stage.
You can attack enemies with an attack button that will kill them if they get hit. Usually, it is a good idea to get rid of them as you are moving through stages. It is not required, though, as you can easily skip most of the enemies and progress through the stage. There are cranes that you can locate throughout the levels, and the only way to get a full S rank in a stage is by getting every single crane the stage offers. They can be on the main route or via a hidden route, meaning exploration throughout every nook and cranny will award you for the effort.
Once you finish the game with Hana the Tanuki, you will gain access to an Owl character and a Chick-like (bird) character. Both play extremely differently to Hana and will offer you different strategies on how to move progress through a stage. The Owl can move a bit slower, but has a faster jump, strike attack. and can also jump three times instead of just twice. The chick can’t attack whatsoever but moves much faster, and can jump farther. There are no limits to how often you can die, but dying on a stage reduces your grade ranking. To get an S rank, you have to make it to the end of the stage without dying, and of course, locate all the cranes in the level.
Taking me back to the days of old
The graphics of Lunistice are reminiscent of the PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn era. They went full-on in the inspiration of that era of gaming to create this masterpiece of 3D platforming. The water ripples, the food, the enemies, and the characters are a very stylized block of graphics. It looks great, and I’m sure retro-gaming fans will appreciate the effort! The sound bits also sound nostalgic from that era as well. The developer, A Grumpy Fox, has finely tuned Lunistice to be the most Sega Saturn game the 2022 library has to offer, and they knocked it out of the park.
Overall, Lunistice is the game you have been craving to go back to if you are a fan of the Sonic 3D games of old and want something in the same vein as Crash Bandicoot but don’t want to go back to the same levels you already 100% completed. This is an extremely accessible title offering no limit to the number of times you can retry from a checkpoint and the best controls a 3D platformer can have. Keeping the formula simple has made this old-era type video game feel like a new love letter to the Sega Saturn.
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Lunistice is a 3D platformer giving us the best elements of 3D Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot. Short enough that it won’t take up your week but addictive enough that you may want it to.
- Feels great to play
- Stylistic Sega Saturn graphics
- Enjoyable and satisfying to finish challenges
- Short main game
- Story was all a Dream
- Can be a bit tough at times