Looking for a game with little-to-no interactivity and a convoluted, incomprehensible story to slog through? Here it is! Lux-Pain begins with a confusing title and just gets more baffling from there. One wonders why in the world Ignition thought it would be a good idea to localize this tortuous Japanese game and release it here. This graphic adventure doesn't make any sense, and all players are allowed to do is clumsily poke at static scenes and wade through endless pages of poorly-translated dialogue.
This is what I can ascertain from the story: the people of Japan have worms on the brain. Literally. You are a member of a task force called FORT that can locate these brain worms with your stylus. In order to get to the bottom of this situation, you have to go back to school (Rodney Dangerfield-style) and pose as a local high school kid. So Lux-Pain is kind of half impenetrable sci-fi nonsense and half teenage drama.
The game shuffles you around from location to location, but you never know why you are there or why you're talking to that person. How did I end up chatting with these drunken girls at a hamburger stand?! Sometimes, a discussion will lead to an event where you can remove a worm from an infected individual. Here, you scratch a picture of the person on the touch screen until the worm is revealed, then hold the stylus on it until it is extracted. The worm will then be converted into a term like "strange boy." Players have to tap on the term and trigger a cheesy display of text that unfolds like a really bad poem. That's all the "gameplay" there is to be found in Lux-Pain.
The voice acting is well done and there is quite a lot of it. But, as a result of unfocused translation, the voices often don't match the text onscreen. Sometimes what I'm hearing and reading is completely different. The script is also riddled with typos.
Ignition has been presenting its games in very attractive packages recently (see Metal Slug 7 or Tornado), and that trend continues with Lux-Pain. It comes with a free art book showcasing some great anime-style imagery. The book is taped to the box, though, and peeling the tape off blemished the cover. An animated intro movie kicks the game off, but it is only displayed on the DS' top screen.
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