LUNA The Shadow Dust
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Help a young boy and his cute cat-like companion reach the top of a mysterious tower in this beautiful point & click adventure by Lantern Studio. Luna The Shadow Dust features gorgeous hand-drawn artwork and a beautiful soundtrack to complement the brainteasers. It’s not a very lengthy game, but controlling two different characters makes for enjoyable puzzle solving. The lack of dialog and inventory may disappoint fans of more traditional point & click adventures, everyone else will have fun with this title.

Gameplay: Tricky in spots, but nothing that can’t be solved by paying attention to your surroundings.

Graphics: The hand-drawn visual style of the game is simply beautiful.

Sound: No voice-acting, but the soundtrack is excellent

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LUNA The Shadow Dust

Developer: Lantern Studio | Publisher: Coconut Island Games, Application Systems Heidelberg | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Indie/ Point & Click Adventure / Puzzle | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Luna The Shadow Dust is a charming point and click adventure that features a young boy and his adorable cat-like companion making their way up a mysterious tower. The developers have opted for “wordless storytelling” with this game, but it is clear that something has gone wrong and the boy must reach the top of the tower to set things right. While the lack of dialog might frustrate some players, it definitely preserves the magical and mysterious atmosphere of the game.

Starting at the bottom of the tower, it is your task to guide the two unique characters as they make their way upwards, room by room. Initially, you are only in control of the boy, but he is soon joined by a cute, round cat-like creature. The cat isn’t capable of operating machinery like the boy, but it is still an invaluable help when it comes to solving the puzzles. Its small stature and ability to reach spots that are inaccessible to the boy means you’ll frequently need to split the two up to overcome obstacles. Veteran point & click adventure fans who still remember the Gobliiins series by Coktel Vision should be familiar with this style of puzzle-solving. However, Luna is a lot more streamlined and simplified compared to the classic point & click adventure games.

The game features a very uncluttered user interface, which allows players to really soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the detailed visuals. Not only is everything meticulously detailed, but all of the visuals are hand-animated too. Lantern Studio managed to cram in more than 250 animations and it shows. The art style of Luna has a bit of a Studio Ghibli feel, but at the same time, the game also has its own unique style. Although you make your way through plenty of rather mundane locations, such as a kitchen, garden, library and music room, the art style ensures that it never feels boring. It’s the small details, such as the fact that the game has its own alphabet and there are plenty of wall murals in the background depicting the history of the game world, which really makes it feel alive. Also, there is a lot of gorgeous cinematics that drive the story forward without the need for words.

Most of the adventure takes place inside the mysterious tower, but there are also a few sections where players get to explore some outside locations. These sections are equally as fascinating and we would love to see future titles from Lantern Studio that is set in this world. The puzzles in Luna start out fairly simple, but the higher up you go in the tower the more complex they became. Your goal is always the same, which is to unlock the door that will allow you to access the next section of the tower.

Thankfully each new section is self-contained, so you never need to worry about backtracking down the tower in case you missed something. Luna also foregoes point & click staples, such as an inventory or list of actions that you can perform. Instead, everything you need to solve a puzzle is usually nearby and only requires you to push buttons, flip switches, activate contraptions or push and pull things. The cat critter also has a neat shadow form that is required for some puzzles and you even get to manipulate time as well as seasons in some sections of the tower. There’s no way to do something wrong or get into serious trouble, so you are free to take your time with the game.

While the interface is very straightforward, the puzzle will leave some players scratching their heads. There are always plenty of clues to point you in the right direction, but you need to pay attention to your surroundings. Initially, your two characters stick quite close together, but towards the end of the game, you often have to send them to separate rooms to manipulate items. We were stumped a few times, but managed to progress through the game without pulling out too much of our hair and cracking the puzzles is immensely satisfying.

The soundtrack of Luna The Shadow Dust is a perfect match for the gorgeous visuals and delivers soothing sounds during the puzzle sections while ramping up during the cinematics. Some of our favorite tracks include the clock-like beat of “Light and Dark” and the choir-like sounds of “The Time Traveler.” The game does not feature any type of voice-acting and the sound effects are also rather subdued, but once again it fits the style of Luna.

Anyone expecting a traditional point & click adventure might be a bit disappointed as it does not feature any type of inventory, item gathering or talking to non-player characters. There is also not a million different things to click on to see what funny reaction or response your characters give. Instead, you have a very streamlined adventure that feels more like an escape room puzzle set inside a mysterious tower. Your mouse pointer changes as soon as it is over something that you can interact with, but as far as we could gather there is no way to highlight all the hotspots in a room. If we had to nitpick even further, the slow walking speed of the characters could be an annoyance for more impatient players. However, there is really not much else that we can fault about Luna The Shadow Dust and we thoroughly enjoyed the five or so odd hours that it took us to reach the top of the tower.

If you are a fan of point & click adventures and don’t mind giving your brain a bit of a workout, then you’ll love Luna The Shadow Dust. We also highly recommend grabbing the beautiful art book that is sold separately. It is filled with 124 pages of original artwork, hand-drawn sketches as well as plenty of neat insights about the creation of the game.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel core i5 2557M
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT440 or HD5570
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1024MB VRAM, Metal/OpenGL 3.2
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 16.04+, SteamOS+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1024MB VRAM, OpenGL 3.2
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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