What is Lunark?

Lunark is from an independent studio Canari Games, which hails from Montreal, Canada. The founder, Johan Vinet, has worked on other indie titles, such as Flinthook, Shovel Knight Showdown, and Rivals Of Aether. As you can see, he has worked on some good games, and Lunark is shaping up to be another one.

“Lunark is a 2D cinematic platformer in the vein of ’80s and ’90s classics such as Prince of Persia and Flashback. Run, jump, hang, climb, roll, and shoot your way through mysterious alien ruins, a flying penitentiary, a high-tech megalopolis, and majestic forest.”

Now, if that does not tantalise your taste buds, I don’t know what else will. If you are a fan of The Way Remastered, you will feel right at home here.

Don’t believe me? Well, here is some Alpha Gameplay Footage.

What is 2D Cinematic Platformer

Cinematic platformers are a sub-genre of platform games that attempt to combine traditional challenges of the genre with realistic structure and presentation. These games often feature puzzle-solving elements and setpieces, and play considerably slower than more “jump and run”-oriented titles. They avoid the abundance of power-ups and score-increasing items and instead emphasize on the vulnerability of the protagonist, forcing the player to carefully plot every move (sometimes in a trial-and-error pattern) to overcome obstacles and avoid falling damage. Protagonists are normally realistically proportioned, with special attention paid to animation and precise moves (climbing, rolling, jumping, etc.). 

Canari Games used a technique called Rotoscoping when making the cutscenes. RotoScoping is recording an action, then drawing over the filmed footage with the desired art style.

The Story

Noah, an AI programme, was designed for one task to preserve humanity, as humans have made Earth inhospitable. The moon was chosen by Noah as humanities ‘Ark’ and salvation, it was named Lunark. Using Lunark as a ship and taking a small number of chosen individuals, Noah set off to the nearest habitable planet. There was, however, a flaw in Noah that would change the fate of humanity forever, Noah was not programmed take into consideration if the new planet was already inhabited or not.

The story revolves around Leo, our protagonist. Leo is an orphan who was rejected from society for being different. You will set off to retrace your origins and find out why you are different… hopefully, all the while being in the middle of a rebellion against the totalitarian regime that governs the Lunark. Through the journey, Leo will meet a whole array of characters from both sides of the political fueled and escalating rebellion.

My Thoughts And Feeling

Lunark is definitely shaping up to be a really good homage to the bygone era of the classics – Another World and Prince of Persia. Straight from the outset of seeing Lunark, I had a twinge of nostalgia. When I was younger, about 10, I remember being introduced to the first Prince of Persia game in 1994 (I was a late bloomer). From that moment on, I was hooked. It was not the normal run of the mill run and jump platformer, it was ruthless, especially not knowing what to expect. I say this because i really wish that Lunark will give me the same feeling as I did back then.

The story sounds very interesting. For this type of game, the pacing of the story needs to be just right. Too fast and the game will seem like a filler, for the most part; too slow and it will feel drawn out and some may find this boring. It is an important balancing act to be performed by Canari Games, but I am very confident it will be achieved.

I do recommend you at least take a look at this one, especially if you are like myself and have fond memories of old school slow platformers.

 

The Kickstarter page Here

Exclusive Interview with Johan Vinet

Could you please introduce yourself and tell our readers a little about you?

My name is Johan Vinet, husband, and father of two. I’m originally from France but now live in Montreal, Canada. Although I’ve worked for several years as a graphic designer, you may know me as a pixel artist and animator in the independent video game industry. I’ve contributed to a dozen games such as Flinthook, Shovel Knight Showdown, Adventure Time, Mercenary Kings Reloaded and Rivals of Aether.

What is Lunark and what can we expect for it?

I’ve designed Lunark as a homage to cinematic platformers while bringing modernity to a lot of the core aspects: The controls are responsive and intuitive and the progression system generous. Despite its low resolution, the game is meant to feel fresh while being nostalgic. Lunark is also an adventure focused on delivering a thrilling narrative with explosive moments.

Why did you decide to make Lunark?

Prince of Persia, Another World (aka Out of This World), and particularly Flashback have made a significant impact on me as a kid. Seeking to recreate the special feeling conveyed by these games, I started working on Lunark in my spare time. Given the enthusiasm around the project and how my passion grew about it, it became obvious to me that this game had to see the light. In September 2018, I took the leap and decided to quit my job to start my own independent studio: Canari Games Inc.

What are the main influences while making Lunark?

Apart from the most obvious ones mentioned above, there are a lot of influences behind Lunark and I wouldn’t know where to start. Cinematographically: the Indiana Jones movies for the mood and the “adventure pulp” aspect. For the sci-fi side: the 5th Element, Star Wars, Total Recall (which also happens to be one of the Flashback’s inspirations) and many others. As for the games: “Inside” was a memorable experience whose countless qualities greatly influence my work on Lunark.

Could you explain to our readers what a 2D cinematic platformer is?

By definition, Cinematic platformers are action-adventure platformers with a strong emphasis on realism, cinematic presentation, detailed character animations, and a minimalistic approach to storytelling.

What type of gameplay will be present?

Platforming, puzzles, some assignments to complete, gunfights, time trial actions, and a bit of exploration for the completionists or those interested in the lore.

How long would you predict the game to be?

The game should be between 3 and 5 hours. It is quite difficult to say at this stage of development, but that’s what I’m aiming for.

What type of alien-like terrains will you visit?

As a scavenger/archaeologist, you’ll visit some mysterious alien ruins, some abandoned subways, you’ll hang out in a high-tech Megalopolis, a flying penitentiary, a majestic forest, on the moon…

What would you say is the best part of the game?

The overall mood. I want people to finish the game and feel like they’ve had an exciting and exotic adventure. I hope it will encourage them to go back in there and to tackle all the optional challenges they may have missed the first time.

Here I give you the floor, why should our readers back your game, and is there anything else you would like to say?

This Kickstarter is a really stressful journey but also an incredible human experience. I would like to sincerely thank all the people who support me in this project.

 

Disclaimer – Switchwatch always advises to think carefully before contributing to Kickstarter campaigns and that you are aware of the risks involved. 

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