Little Luna Review
Little Luna is the story of a young moon guardian and her quest to find out why the sun’s light has disappeared. The adventure is told like a narrated storybook, but is it the kind of tale that sparks the imagination or does it just put us to sleep?
Little Luna was created by Joove, a team made up of Nick Jurjens and Martin Verhey, two students at the HAN University of Applied Sciences. It was made in five months and is quite impressive, though it doesn’t really have the feel of a full-fledged game.
As a game that’s offered in the App Store, it doesn’t work out very well at all. Sure, it runs on the Unreal 3 engine, has decent graphics, lovely music, and serviceable narration, but the gameplay is nearly nonexistent! You control Luna by tapping anywhere on the screen to lay down a ball of light, which Luna will then follow. Double-tapping lays down a burning ball of light that is capable of melting snow and ice. If the ball of light is outside of Luna’s line of sight, it will appear dim and she won’t follow it.
And that’s all there is to the game. You end up leading Luna around environments throughout four different chapters filled with unique locations and objects. Approaching these objects triggers some narration, giving the story a bit of flavor. It would have been better if we could interact with all of the interesting objects and features in the environments, but the most we can do is step on switches and use the light to melt snow/ice or light up torches.
The story itself is pretty interesting and revolves around the sun losing its light, the sun guardian’s disappearance, Luna’s quest to find a new guardian, and the need for Mother Earth’s help. I would have liked to have seen some of Luna’s personality exhibited in some way, but she didn’t even have one facial expression or even the tiniest tidbit of dialogue. It could have been shown through her actions, but she can’t do anything other than walk (very slowly), and step on switches, which is pretty much just walking and stopping.
So while I really wanted to enjoy Little Luna as a game, I felt that the story could have been told better as an interactive storybook rather than a point-and-click adventure, especially when you can’t use the controls to do anything other than walk very slowly.
If you don’t feel like “playing” the game but still want to know what it’s like, just think of it as a lite version of Bastion, except all you do is plop down balls of light to make the main character walk. Doesn’t sound riveting at all, right? It may be free, but it’s not very much of a game. Still, it may be worth checking out just for the interesting narrative and the hope that any future projects from this team have a little more to offer. But again, as a game, Little Luna is a bit of a snoozer.