Lacuna Test

.. this is the official tagline for Lacuna, the adventure game by German producer DigiTales. There are elements of Star Trek and numerous classic film noir films such as Chinatown in the plot – we’re not going to reveal any more specifics. But you can be sure that both the quality of writing and the story’s progression is extremely well-integrated.

The world is shown with stunning pixel art that resembles a vibrant rendition that is Blade Runner due to the densely constructed cities. The characters are composed of sharp blocks that are animated elegantly. Unfortunately, looking at their faces during dialogues is only possible, and they look dull. Instead, the music is more effective, which expertly mixes classical piano and subtle, futuristic synth instruments.

Protagonist Neil who has been mentioned, is a CDI agent, which is sort of an alternative for the American CIA and is out on the move for the majority of the time. You’re traveling between your residence and the CDI headquarters at one crime scene and another, as well as various suspects to meet.

In the game’s many conversations, only some dialogue options are available. However, they’re all vital. In certain situations, you’ll need to make difficult decisions that affect the plot and the end.

More than a simple walking simulator

So, at first glance, the game appears to have the typical visual novel style; however, the appearance can be deceiving. For example, the moment you’re required to fill in an application, you’ll need to draw the correct conclusions about the likely sequence of events from information and conversations you gather. The problem is that the game will automatically save after you’ve decided. Unfortunately, you only get one chance!

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If you’re wrong and the game continues, you’ll be missing certain crucial information or might miss a witness who could assist you in your next challenge.

This is a bold approach and exciting: mistakes can lead to undesirable consequences that you’ll never be able to reverse, and you’ll have to take your work even more seriously. The puzzles are well-thought-out and filled with plenty of clues, some of which can be found in various ways. In this regard, a “good” conclusion is possible, even if you make a mistake during your research.

However, there’s an issue: the desire to re-start the game after completing it once and then going in another direction is low. One way to explain this is that it’s due to long-running routes, which make it twice as hard when you try again. Another reason is that Neil’s normal inner monologues can’t be cut off.

The voice actor appears off-putting: Though the narrative certainly has the style of a quality modern-day TV show, the character’s narration is as if he’s borrowed from a play cassette tape radio. Neil’s self-critical streams of thought can be pretty complex and break the fourth wall toward the end because they refer to the character without explanation and familiarly speak to him.

It’s not a traditional point-and-click

Another issue is the controls, as they were a bit difficult to play an action game of this generation. Lacuna is played using the joypad or keyboard, but some features are better with the mouse (for instance, browsing files and emails), and some are not feasible (first and foremost, that is, moving characters).

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Additionally, there’s an option for making use of objects or talking to people for each situation, and to investigate, you must change to a different mode and then click on the things you want to see marked on it. Additionally, you can click a button to show all objects relevant to the search. However, they’re simply highlighted in a different hue – barely visible because the pixel graphics are filled with detail.

Luckily, you become accustomed to these peculiarities quickly, and soon you’ll be able to appreciate the benefits of the user interface more. So, you’ll be able to finish an entire file in only a couple of clicks; you’ll be able to read all the newspaper articles or emails you’ve saved at any time and call up any of the dialogues you’ve created.

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