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[PlayStation 5] LUNARK Review

[PlayStation 5] LUNARK Review
Ceidz
  • On April 19, 2023

LUNARK from WayForward and Canari Games is a sci-fi cinematic platformer that pays homage to late 1980s adventure games. Check our LUNARK review!

 

Set on a distant planet ruled by a totalitarian regime, LUNARK is a modern take on the 2D cinematic platformer genre of the ’90s. As Leo, a courier with unique abilities and a mysterious past, you’ll run, jump, hang, climb, roll, and shoot through gorgeously animated pixel-art environments ranging from a dystopian megalopolis to eerie caves to an alien forest. You must overcome traps, solve puzzles, earn upgrades, and battle enemy droids, and when you’re not fighting for survival, you’ll meet a cast of colorful characters who will put Leo’s allegiances to the test. Uncover the dark origin of humanity’s new home and the truth about yourself in this epic sci-fi adventure!

LUNARK from WayForward and Canari Games is an adventure game set in an alternative world where colonies are living on Earth’s Moon – now called Lunark since it’s been colonized. Going there is very expensive and reserved for only a few select people. The story begins as our main character, Leo, is looking high up in the sky and dreaming of living there, but he doesn’t have this kind of money. Thus, he’ll begin an adventure that will take him to some new places and maybe even earn his spot up there.

This game began as a Kickstarter project launched by Canadian-based Canari Games back in 2019, with the goal of securing CAD $70,000 in funding to be able to develop the game. With the support of over 2000 people, the campaign raised more than CAD $81,000. WayForward then stepped in as a publisher to help this game come to life, and here we are in 2023, with Lunark out on PlayStation.

LUNARK PlayStation Review

Lunark is mostly a dungeon crawler where you’ll have to progress by finding how you can affect the dungeon around you to reach the goal of each section. The design is somewhat linear, although you’ll often crawl into a few different screens before reaching your destination. All in all, the level design was great. I also liked how the game is generous with its checkpoints, so even if you fail an objective, you’ll never go back more than a few seconds ago.

 

In the gameplay area, you’ll control Leo with the left analog stick, and he’ll run when you press and hold down the R1 button. Attacking is done with the Square button, and interacting with people or objects is accomplished using the X button. I had a few issues with the controls: my main complaint is that they aren’t very precise, and when you are in front of a fast-acting enemy, you would like the game to follow your movements. Jumping is done by pressing the Triangle button in this game instead of the more standard X button. Moreover, when you jump, you also move forward, so you can’t really control where you’ll land. This required some getting used to before being efficient in each area.

LUNARK PS Review

The boss fights are great and will require some light thinking before figuring out how to affect them. There’s nothing like taking on a huge boss and besting them after a bit of trial and error to find out their weak points. I liked how they were designed and how we need to figure out their weaknesses, but as I mentioned a few moments ago, the difficulty feels artificially inflated by the unprecise controls.

 

As you can see in the screenshots, the art style is highly pixelated, which will be a hit or miss depending on your nostalgia level. Personally, I’m not very fond of this type of pixelated graphics and prefer when the games are closer to the pixel art style of the 16-bit era, like the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). There are a few great-looking cutscenes using the pixelated game engine, and they were surprisingly well-animated. This is thanks to the developer’s use of rotoscoping.

In the trophies area, you’re looking at a list containing a Platinum. The trophies are split into 5 Bronze trophies, 27 Silver trophies, and one Gold trophy. Several of the trophies will unlock after finding secret locations. Others will pop for progressing through the game. Since you won’t be revisiting areas, if you want to get all trophies in one go, you might want to check out this Lunark Trophy Guide.

 

LUNARK is a great adventure game that has an art style reminiscent of games from the late 1980s and early 1990s. I liked how the game was generous with its checkpoints, had fun with boss battles, and exploring new areas. I do think that the controls feel a bit too imprecise for their own good, but your mileage may vary. LUNARK is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $19.99 purchase will give you access to both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.

LUNARK Review

Disclaimer
This LUNARK review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by WayForward Games.

Review Overview

Good adventure game, but one that could benefit from crisper controls
7
7

Rating