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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Review: Metropolis:Lux Obscura

Review Metropolis: Lux Obscura

Slide your tiles and gain closure in this graphic tale of vengeance.

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Metrolpolis: Lux Obscura
Kthulu Productions | Nintendo Switch | Digital Only
1 Player
Reviewed by: Curtis Chapman | 4th April 2018

* Review Code Provided by: Sometimes You *

Help a man clear his name and hunt down the person responsible for his wrongful incarceration using nothing but sliding tiles, in Metropolis: Lux Obscura by Kthulu Solutions. Arriving digitally on the eShop today and with more guns, knives, drugs and boobs than you’ll know what to do with, is the world ready for a sexually charged Match3 battler?

More and more 18 rated titles have been heading to the Nintendo eShop recently. Being both a blessing and a curse, giving parents something age relational to play themselves while forcing them to ensure that little Timmy doesn’t end up scarred for life, it shows a rising tide by Nintendo fans in the demand for games that cater specifically to adults, with the latest title by Kthulu Solutions looking to add to that collection by painting a grim picture of one man’s quest for vengeance.

Metropolis: Lux Obscura tells the story of Jon Lockhart. Recently released after years in prison, wrong accused of murder of his best friend, Jon heads back into the city’s underworld in an attempt to find the person responsible of framing him for the crime. Jon will come across many undesirables on his travels, all of them looking to do him harm. While it may get messy, the only way to the truth is through blood and bone.

Metropolis Screenshot 1

The film-noire storyline has a district Frank Miller’s Sin City feel to it, delving into a gritty criminal underbelly and not shying away from the violence, drugs and sex that often accompany the theme. The art is superbly drawn and takes the form a graphic novel to tell its tale, with all dialog and narration being professionally voice acted. With 4 endings to the games storyline, Kthulu Solutions encourage you to repeat the games ten or so battles multiple times to see how differently Jon’s life could end up simply by making different decisions along the way. While this does add to the games length slightly, the whole main campaign comes across slightly undercooked. With multiple characters initially introduced and with very little time to develop each one, the storyline finds itself abruptly coming to an end just as it all starts to pick up a gear.

Gameplay is split between deciding where Jon should visit next by selecting one of the available highlighted places on the map of the city, dealing with any dialog choices present and pushing forward the story, and then battling with thugs he meets in the games Match3 battle system. The battle system finds you sliding tiles horizontally or vertically across the board to line-up fists, boots, guns, knives and more in an attempt to whittle down your opponents health, with the enemy reacting each time a certain amount of turns have passed. Fights can be difficult as the enemies are rather strong and you will often find yourself fighting multiple enemies per battle. The difficulty does provide a sense of accomplishment however as it is rather satisfying when enemies are finally defeated and the battle is over.

On completing a battle you are presented with 4 random upgrades, enhancing Jon’s ability and shifting the way you will handle future battles. The title makes the unfortunate mistake of marketing “mental disorders” as a form of power upgrade, occasionally gifting Jon with enhanced abilities due to the fragility of his mental state. This feels like a poor choice of wording and while most likely unintentional, may alienate some of those who do not like to see such a sensitive issue exploited by using the subject as a gameplay mechanic and a means of highlighting how unhinged the main character is becoming.

Metropolis Screenshot 2

Like many Match3 Games, your initial starting grid, as well as the subsequent tiles that fall onto the playing field when you clear some of the board, are completely random and change from play to play. While this does add the games replayability, making each battle unique, it removes any ability to learn from your many failures and prevents you from strategising for your next attempt. Instead, it leaves you repeating battles over and over until such time that luck finds you with a grid that starts strong and plays to your characters current set of upgrades.

Metropolis is in no way a family friendly title and is not a title you should allow your children to play, or even watch you as play, as you travel through its gritty story. Regardless of the fact that the gameplay element is a more involved Match3 Puzzle/battler, adult themes sit front and centre, with copious amounts of bad language, weapons and drug use, and more sex and nudity than an episode of Game of Thrones. It would probably be best for all involved that if you have children, you ensure they do not play this title. Those over 18 however should welcome the addition of more mature themes onto Nintendo’s Hybrid console.

With support for both touch-screen and control inputs, the game’s obvious comparison with popular mobile titles leads it to feeling a lot more natural when being played with touch-screen. Although the pace of the game does feel slower in comparison when played on the joy-con, the ability to see the gorgeous artwork up on your TV is worth the payoff.

Metropolis Screenshot 3

While initially it may come across as the sort of re-skinned Match3 title that you would expect to find on your mobile phone, Metropolis: Lux Obscura contains enough variation in gameplay through its upgrades and non-linear story to provide a unique and enjoyable playing experience. The high quality polish of the games art and voice acting does a very good job at providing a complete package to a fairly simple gameplay mechanic and is only let down by that fact the game’s interesting story ends way before it should have.


+ Gritty mature storyline with multiple endings.
+ Challenging Match3 battles.
+ Beautiful graphic-novel styled artwork.

- Only a handful of battles.
- Story ends too abruptly.
- Poor representation of mental disorders.

Verdict: Above Average – Worth a Try

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