Lux-Pain is about a guy named Atsuki whose family was killed through various violent crimes. It turns out that these, along with several other crimes that have been cropping up all over the place, are due to this “worm thing” called Silent. They infect people and cause them to commit various horrific acts that range from homicide to group suicide. Atsuki is part of this organization known as FORT whose mission is to search out and eliminate this thread and discover the Original, which is one of the first Silent that spread and infected this large city known as Kisaragi. Honestly, from start to finish it seems like a B-Movie plot that you would catch on the Sci-Fi channel. I make a habit of not spoiling game story-lines in case potential players are interested, so I’ll leave it at that.
The actual gameplay in Lux-Pain is pretty unique. Admittedly though, there isn’t much game “play” at all, because most of the game centers around the text/story. Investigating crime scenes really boils down to scrubbing away at the screen with the stylus until you uncover one of these worm-like ‘thoughts’ or ’emotions’ that have been left behind. In order to do this, the top screen displays where they are located with these distinct haze-like formations around the room. To uncover them, you erase reality to uncover them on the bottom screen. The majority of this is done with Atsuki’s psychic powers that were granted to him by the Lux-Pain. There are a few other forms of gameplay such as autopsies and interacting with your environment in Kasaragi, but it pretty much boils down to the above.
There are times when talking with people you are given different dialog choices, but from what I have seen it doesn’t influence the game that much. You are also able to choose different ways to react to them using a color wheel which allows you to choose emotions like “surprised”, “happy”, or “angry”. This offers some level of interactivity in an otherwise seemingly linear story. Sometimes it feels like the translation of the game might have been rushed or handed off to different teams because there are a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. Not only that, but there are a lot of times when the written dialog in the game doesn’t match the voice over work. I counted several times throughout the game when what the characters spoke directly contradicted what was written on the screen…which is completely confusing. Not only that, but for most of the dialog anyway it seems the sentences are constructed completely different that was is being presented. This is where the two teams come in because it feels like one was for the spoken dialog and one for the written dialog.
I consider myself to be a pretty niche gamer. At times there are games that are not well received by the public that I actually quite enjoy, but Lux-Pain is just a little too ‘out there’ for me. The style of interactive novel-type game just really isn’t what I was looking for even if it seems similar to Phoenix Wright. The actual gameplay elements in Phoenix Wright get interactive with the player (requiring thought) while maintaining a story, whereas gameplay elements in Lux-Pain aren’t thought provoking enough and don’t take enough effort to make them stand out from the overwhelming story. I can’t recommend this to someone looking for a fun and engaging game on the DS, but for people who are interested in a heavily story-driven game, that deviates at times to unique gameplay, you might want to give it a try.