Lunistice is a throw back 3d platformer in the vein of Crash Bandicoot, Croc and the rest of the mascot platformers, developed by A Grumpy Fox and released in November 2022 for the PC and Nintendo Switch. Does this throwback fit in with the Playstation and Saturn era greats, or does it fall off the map? Let’s have a look.
In Lunistice we find ourselves on an adventure with Hana the Tanuki, as we help traverse her dreams. We start the game with an initial cut scene which explains the overarching simulation/dreamscape, we’re then not treated to many cutscenes, but after each world we have a journal to read to help try and understand what’s going on. It’s not a game that doesn’t need a full lot of exposition, and what we do get is plenty to help move everything along.
Whilst we move through Hana’s dreams, the game plays similar to other games of the 90’s. We have a free flowing 3d area to explore, with lots of fast paced platforming which is great. There’s varied areas which we’ll need to jump, sprint and grind through, these feel like a mix between the previously mentioned Crash and I’m drawn to compare to Pandemonium but there’s so much more. These levels are really big too, with multiple paths and hidden bits, which if you’re a completionist, you’ll be wanting to grab the hidden H-A-N-A letters and all the Cranes that are dotted about each level.
The controls are really nice and responsive, though you’ll need to have your wits about you as the movement is fast, playing on the Switch I struggled a little with the smaller stick, but I think I would have less issues using a Pro controller, or another controller on PC.
Hana does have to battle enemies here too but these only come across as a small obstacle in her way, combat is basic with only one attack but we have some extra tricks to help us along the way, Hana can double jump which these days is a common platforming trope, but if you get hit or attack whilst jumping you can get a third jump. Luckily if you do get stuck either from some enemy placement or some tough platforming you can keep trying as much as you want, as there’s no death penalty, no life count, you do get 3 hits before you have to restart at the last checkpoint but we only have a reset counter. So you’re going to want to get them faster and better runs the more you play. I found myself wanting to keep playing, the games movement was really nice, and the fluidity I had playing made it feel a bit dreamy.
Each world had 2 levels each but these get obviously progressively more difficult as we go on, each world has it’s own visual style going from food worlds to a beach and even to the moon, like mentioned these levels are really vast and intricate with a lot going on, they look really nice even with the PS1 visual style which sometimes can be a bit restrictive even on modern hardware, there’s loads going on and the game doesn’t struggle running at a constant 60 fps on Switch.
The soundtrack is really nice, with some dreamy music definitely something you’d listen too out of the game. It sounds like something taken out of Sonic 2 where the masterful Masato Nakamura was in charge, there’s simply some quality bops on here. However the games sfx aren’t anything too amazing but they do the job that they need to.
Lunistice is wonderful platformer that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, visually it fits the aesthetic it’s going for, with some great dreamscapes, nice and tight controls, soundtrack is nice and fantastical, and a nice bit of replay value, it’s worth every penny (only £4.99!) and if the soundtrack is your thing also well worth picking up.