Day #204: Lucius (Shiver Games)

Synopsis:

[From Wikipedia:] Lucius is a psychological horror stealth game in which the player takes the form of a seven-year-old boy gifted with supernatural powers akin to the Antichrist, reminiscent of Damien Thorn from The Omen.

My take:

I was on board with this game from the moment I realised I was going to be a six year old kid orchestrating the deaths of a bunch of people. How could I not be?

On this front, Lucius delivers. Within a few months of being visited by Lucifer and receiving the prompt to start collecting souls, you’ve wiped out a good portion of the staff, and the occasional friend or relative – using your growing powers to bring about some pretty creative and gory cinematic death scenes. And by this point you’re really only starting to warm up.

The main problem with the mechanics of Lucius is that it’s often unclear what exactly is expected of you to progress the story. Now, given that this is in large part a game based on you solving puzzles of the ‘how can I make this person not be alive any more?’ variety, a little bit of vagueness was always going to be necessary, because it’s not like players are going to want to have their hand held all the time. But that doesn’t mean that the other extreme – where you can find yourself wandering around for hours looking for the item that’s going to set up the next sequence of events – is any good, either. And while the ability to wander around freely comes in handy sometimes, the necessary balance between exploratory freedom and the linear nature of the story is never quite struck.

Still, it’s a game where you’re a kid killing things. And, given I paid $2 for it on Steam, I can’t exactly say that I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth.

A sequel has been announced for later this year. It’ll be interesting to see whether they take on the critiques that Lucius got in a constructive way, and really make the mechanics shine as much as the concept. The announcement video certainly looks promising.

 

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