Thanks to Sometimes You for the review code
Title: Metropolis: Lux Obscura
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/04/2018
In this interactive story game, you take control of an ex-convict, who sets out to find the guy who framed him and caused his imprisonment years ago. Despite having puzzle segments, do not be fooled, this game is heavily story focused. Unfortunately, it’s not too engaging, and rather dull to boot, which is a big shame considering the focus it gets here.
The presentation here is pretty cool looking, with the entire game looking as if it’s an animated comic book, with speech bubbles and the like, along with a nice art style that fits this approach. Unfortunately, the game’s cutscenes are very, very slow, and you can’t speed through them by any means I was able to find, outside of skipping them outright with the B button. Thus, while it looks good, you’ll be sick of staring at a panel and wanting to move onto the next one after already reading it, but you won’t be able to do anything besides pause or skip the cutscene. There is plenty of voice acting here too, and it’s alright, but nothing too stellar.
Metropolis is a mashup between the puzzler match-three genre, and the visual novel, where the main objective is to search the town for clues behind your unfair sentence and fight your way out of situation as you need to. Thus, a lot of reading is involved with multiple options for asking questions and such, and can impact your ending outcome.
This isn’t really a bad thing, and is a staple of the genre, but my god, does Metropolis move at a snail’s pace! The story bits just won’t let you progress manually, meaning you’ll have to sit, listen and read every last bit at the pace the game wants you to, rather than being able to enjoy the reading at your own pace. This is pretty absurd, since there’s no way I was able to find to increase the overall speed, and it just gets utterly boring after a while, especially during parts of the story when not much of interest is happening. Of course if you don’t care about the story, a press of the B button will take you to either the next battle scene or back to the world map, if there isn’t something that you need to attend to like a choice. But if your only option besides sitting through long, boring, poorly paced cutscenes is to skip them, that isn’t a good look.
Of course, now and then you’ll get into a battle with someone, where the match-three stuff comes into play. During these moments, you have to slide icons into place to match them, with each one doing a different effect, such as attacking the enemy, defending yourself, increasing your attack power, or summoning the police, so you’ll have to be very careful to avoid those symbols, especially since you can only move the tiles around horizontally and vertically, meaning that you can’t just freely move these around the board as you like, plus you’ll need to time your actions to when the enemy attacks in order to mitigate them.
This style of gameplay is OK, but not too special. It doesn’t feel addicting nor satisfying, and the battles just feel boring once you figure out what to do. You do level up and can choose handy skills to make these fights a bit more interesting and easier, but otherwise these just feel like an odd afterthought with not much depth to them. Puzzle Quest, this isn’t. That’s pretty much all there is to Metropolis, for the game switches between these two gameplay styles, and neither manage to stay interesting for very long, nor all that fun. You could skip the story entirely and just focus on match-three and choices, but that isn’t really much fun either, and unfortunately, I lost interest in this one very quickly despite my best efforts.
In conclusion, Metropolis is a hybrid where neither side of the equation leads to a successful result: the match-three gameplay is clunky and dull, and the visual novel aspects are painfully slow and uninteresting. When literally the only positive aspect I had with this experience is the voice acting in spots and the cool comic-book look, this ended up being a game that I’d honestly recommend you’d just watch rather than play for yourself, since the actual play aspect isn’t much fun, and the story itself isn’t really anything that’ll grip you, and moves at a glacial pace.
It’s pretty peculiar that it took me so long to even cover this, and I honestly forgot what made me drop the game and push it back in the queue all those years ago. Yet after finally spending more time with this game, I think I know why, and unfortunately, it just never clicked for me, both back in 2018, and here in 2021. Be wary of this city.
I give Metropolis: Lux Obscura a 4 out of 10.