Indie 3D platformers that capture the magic of the genre from the early 2000s are quite wonderful so here's the delightful Lunistice.
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Having recently enjoyed FROGUN, I was looking forward to playing more retro-inspired 3D platformers so I was rather pleased when I picked up Lunistice. This lovely little game has you play as a tanuki named Hana who runs and jumps through her platform-filled dreams. There isn't much story but who needs one anyway? This is cute old-school fun that's sure to scratch an itch, especially considering we live in the era of over-produced cinematic experiences. Lunistice is all about fun and isn't that all that matters at the end of the day? v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106
Playing Lunistice is simple and intuitive as you run and jump around massive 3D stages with elaborate structures and plenty of optional paths. Hana has the ability to double-jump as well which has pretty much been standard for the genre ever since Jak and Daxter released. She can also extend her airtime a bit by attacking in mid-air which is helpful for crossing large gaps. Plus, there's a button to slow down which is handy for whenever you want to be precise. Meanwhile, combat is handled via a basic spin attack which will make you wonder if tanukis are related to bandicoots. All of this works together to make for a pitch-perfect old-school 3D platforming adventure. 😊
As I touched upon a bit, the most impressive aspect of Lunistice is just how elaborate its levels are designed. There is a lot of verticality and branching paths with tons of collectibles to discover throughout. The primary collectible are paper cranes with each level featuring over 100 of them and you can also collect the letters H-A-N-A which usually require you to complete optional paths. On top of all this, you're rated according to how many times you bit the dust with 0 times granting you an S-rank so there's a lot to strive for. 🏆
With all of that in mind, I find it odd that a timer runs while you play through a stage yet your time isn't graded nor displayed on the level select screen. Not only would I have loved to try and outdo my previous efforts but having online rankings for level completion times would have added a lot of replay value as well, especially for speed-runners. I imagine that finding corners to cut and the most optimal path for completing stages in as little time as possible would've been a rewarding endeavour but there's no real incentive to do so. ⏱️
Can tanukis get speeding tickets?
I still thoroughly enjoy Lunistice and its 7 unique worlds that feel like they belong in a late-PS1 game but it does have its issues. First, the gameplay is quite fast and often feels like a 3D Sonic game and when you combine that with platforming that often requires a great deal of precision, you'll find yourself missing jumps constantly. There is an option to make your shadow more obvious but it doesn't always help, especially at such high speeds. One of the most annoying moments is when you leap between grind rails (or waterslides) as you must land on the next one perfectly or you'll fall to the abyss below. Some segments are also confusingly laid-out such as one part that has you take a leap of faith down a hole which seems to lead to a watery death but you merely end up in an underwater area. 😳
Lunistice provides a wonderful trip back to the golden era of 3D platformers and it features an impressive amount of replay value. It certainly isn't perfect but if you want to enjoy a solid throwback to the PS1 period then definitely give it a go.
- + Enjoyable 3D platforming with plenty of enormous expertly-crafted stages
- + Nails the whole PS1-era aesthetic
- + Loads of collectibles and challenges
- - Platforming requires far too much precision which conflicts with the high speed
- - Some confusing level designs
- - I wish there were time trial leaderboards