Developer: Kthulu Solutions
Publisher: Sometimes You
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Puzzle & Other
Release Date: 4th of April, 2018 (EU & NA)
The eShop has been plagued with a lot of mobile ports in the last year, there are some really neat hidden gems, which allow for some mobile games to be given a second chance on a platform that suits it better and that has a wider audience – the question is: is Metropolis: Lux Obscura a hidden gem or something that should be avoided?
Before even booting up or purchasing the game, you’ll be greeted with Metropolis: Lux Obscura’s eShop page, including a wonderful description of the game including ‘Sexism’ as a key feature. This is not wrong, but definitely a show of what’s to come. Metropolis: Lux Obscura is yet another ‘Match-3’ mobile-esque game for the Switch. Advertising itself as more of a story experience, Metropolis does just that, delivering a somewhat deep story and visual novel alongside the stale, unoriginal gameplay. Even though the story tries to keep itself unique and diverse, it just doesn’t offer much, and with the gameplay being tedious, repetitive and uninspired, the game never motivates you to move forward at all.
Metropolis is, at heart, an interactive comic. It follows protagonist Jon Lockhart’s journey of leaving prison to track down his old stripper girlfriend, Goldie. He gains the help of many different characters to help while falling with the local crime boss and also having the choice of performing other critical actions such as saving a woman and her daughter from the senator’s violent son. During this adventure, you will partake in match-3 battles, ranging from fights with bouncers, thugs, drug dealers, cops and weirdly, dogs.
The battle system is fairly straight forward, you’ll be shifted onto a massive grid which is comprised of many various types of icons – these icons indicate different attacks, improvements and hindrances. By dragging a tile into a line of three, it will disappear and deal damage to your enemy, give buffs or give debuffs. The strategy is employed when trying to deal a massive amount of damage while avoiding any negative effects. The different icons deal different outcomes, for example, lining up three or more attack tiles will damage your opponent – fists will end up with a punch, boots will deal a kick and taser will inflict a shock. You can heal yourself by matching three or more med-kit tiles, power yourself up or down with their respective tiles or even hurt yourself massively by matching up three police tiles. The gameplay is very candy-crush esque, with that little bit of strategy making up for the unoriginality.
After completing battles you can choose one of four mental disorders. Yes, mental disorders are upgrades. This can add some depth and differences to each playthrough in terms of how you want to play, for example, you could choose to focus on boosting health and health related disorders over attack and damage dealing disorders. It adds a layer of individuality to the game and allows for some creative combos. Sometimes, however, it can be used as a cheap way to win extremely fast, as some disorders are just plain unfair.
The graphics of the game are obviously heavily inspired by Sin City. So much so that the game just feels like a massive bootleg of the franchise. The gritty noir black and white comic feel is familiar and welcome, yet basically nothing new. The motion in the comics is quite creative, with some panels having full animation to pull you further into the story. There is full voice acting too, with some characters (such as Lockhart) being voiced spectacularly. Weirdly though, there are some characters that just don’t sound right and don’t even say what’s written in the speech bubbles.
Once you grasp the basic features of the combat system and mental disorder system, that’s really all there is to it. The game becomes a breeze to play through and offers no real challenge. Most of it was forgettable at most, as there wasn’t enough time for the story to expand on the characters. I never felt myself having the urge to go back and play the game the four times it expects you to. There are four endings to the game, and the likelihood of experiencing all of them before getting bored. is quite slim.
Unless you are eager to experience some really graphic content on the Switch for the same price as a movie ticket, I wouldn’t recommend this game. It’s a simple, basic, forgettable and unoriginal match-3 game with not much more to add. It’s full of drugs, mental disorders, boobs and sex, and quite frankly, it matches up to its outrageous description perfectly. It does have a layer of depth you wouldn’t find in other free mobile match-3 games, but it doesn’t expand upon those features as well as it should have. If the game is on sale and you’re that willing to play through the game four times to experience it all, then go for it. It is a fun little motion comic that will definitely give you Sin City vibes, but be sure to lower your expectations. Failure to do so, will only result in disappointment.
THE VERDICT: 4/10
*Review Key Provided by Sometimes You
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This post was written by Ruairi O'Brien (Lucariocios)