Metropolis: Lux Obscura Review by Nindie Spotlight

Developer: Sometimes You

Publisher: Sometimes You

Release Date: March 4th 2018

Price as of Article: $7.99 USD, £7.19 GBP

Story

Obviously inspired by old detective and noir movies and the likes of Sin City the story is probably the main draw that will get you playing the game more than once. With 4 different major endings (and the majority not ending well for your character) and story elements that are distinct that lead to each you’ll want to return and try to follow different paths to see how they turn out.

Audio

Not a whole lot going on with music and sounds but they certainly fit the experience. The voice acting is uniformly pretty good and appropriate, helping to immerse you in what’s going on and to buy into the characters. It’s possible a little over-dramatic but then again that’s consistent with the style and tone they’re going for so it works.

Visuals and Performance

Get ready to meet some shady and scary people

Visually the main thing you can’t miss is how much this outright steals from the look and feel of the Sin City comics. You can pay homage to things but this pushes into being a bit derivative. If you’re a huge fan of the comics and aren’t offended by this, great, but I wish it did more to give itself a style of its own.

Also well worth noting here is that there’s a very good reason the game has the M rating, as there’s some nudity in the game, and if it had stopped there perhaps I wouldn’t make an additional warning. Be aware that there are some scenes that get sexual and if it weren’t for a well-placed vase or object in the foreground you may have seen more than you bargained for, and they use an interesting trick to even put these scenes into primitive motion as well. In one case they were only barely obscured to the point that I could tell at least one person really needed to do some grooming “down there”. I’m hardly a prude but going to this length felt a bit excessive and made me feel a bit creepy, to be honest. For some it may be a selling point but I could have done without it.

Gameplay

In terms of the gameplay itself while the puzzle play is hardly a revelation it’s interesting enough to be respectable. Rather than being restricted to only moving pieces over one space, here you can move a piece from anywhere in a row or column to get it into place. This opens the door to a wider variety of pieces than you’d normally see and both creates more opportunities for big matches and ups the challenge when the board is against you.

Your goal is to match pieces that damage your enemies or heal yourself, all while trying to avoid police badges that will harm you. In order to help you survive, as your opponents begin to have much more health than you, after each fight you’re able to choose one of 4 options that will help you out in a variety of ways. This is the game’s way of providing you with somewhat random options to help the game better suit your style. If you’re great at setting up large matches there are enhancements that will boost your damage or alter badges, which can be a real benefit. If you’re more of a generalist you can enhance your damage or your chances to heal. Since you can then either spread out your enhancements or attempt to go deep with just a few there are some nice opportunities to refine your play style.

Aside from the aforementioned content that may potentially rub you the wrong way or make you uncomfortable as reviewed the game isn’t without its technical issues either. Over the course of reviewing the game I had about 4 hard crashes, but more commonly the issue I’d run into was pieces that would simply “get stuck” somehow, forcing me to start a puzzle over again. While thankfully it didn’t take too long to get back rolling, and perhaps the issue can be patched, it was still an annoyance that needs to be shared. Playing on the touchscreen was generally far simpler but I also had the lock-ups occur mostly in that mode so it’s possible the rate I was trying to move it was part of the issue.

Value

It’s tough to get a good ending… most are variations on this

This is an area where the value is very much determined by what you’re looking for. The cost of the game isn’t very high but consider that the gameplay itself is OK but hardly amazing. The storylines are at least interesting if you’re invested in the characters but they’re also pretty familiar with how they play out if you’re familiar with noir movies or things like the Sin City series. The wildcard is the M-rated content, which will either push you away or at least somewhat pull you in through sheet morbid curiosity (or more). It would have also been nice if they had added an arcade mode so you could get into the game quickly without having to wade through the story each time.

Pros

P

The Match-3 play isn’t necessarily a revelation but it does enough to stand out that it is worthwhile

P

After fights you’ll get a random set of options to enhance yourself with and the choices you make definitely have an impact on how effective you are in future battles

P

If there were ever a sign that Nintendo is absolutely not in “censorship mode” on the Switch, this may be the one… if that doesn’t bother you

Cons

P

Crashes and lock-ups happened often enough that it is worth noting and being aware of

P

The content won’t make it appropriate for everyone

P

If you’re not in it to try to uncover all 4 potential story outcomes it may seem too short