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Nintendo DS Review: Lux-Pain

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Visual novels are proving to be a popular sub-genre of adventure game, and given the nature of the DS, several of them have either made their first appearance to the world on the platform or appear on it after being ported from other systems. One of these games is Lux-Pain, the story being of a teenager named Atsuki Saijo who is an undercover agent for FORT, a government organisation that works towards eliminating the threat known as "Silent." Silent, a worm born through hate and sadness, has infected Kisaragi City. Atsuki is sent there to find the root cause and eliminate it.

To do so, you must use the Lux-Pain, a kind of psychic-scraping device, to read people's minds and to eliminate worms that are the result of any negative emotions NPCs might have. However, there is a time limit as well as a sort of health bar for the minds of whoever you decide to scrape — if either of these empty, you ruin the person's mind, and it's game over for you.

It's simple gameplay, but the process of "go to area — find person — read mind — erase thoughts – repeat" gets dull very quickly. It certainly does not help that Lux-Pain has a god-awful localisation which can often leave you scratching your head and wonder what the hell is going on.

It's this localisation that hinders the game's messages, such as those of suicide, animal cruelty and dealing with loneliness. Add to the fact that a vast majority of the characters are mind-numbingly boring and/or horribly annoying and one will find themselves not really caring and wanting to breeze through the game as quickly as possible.

Admittedly there is a lot of cool attention to detail, such as being able to have one's fortune told by a wacky Chinese lady or checking a message board that updates according to what the player has learned from conversations with peers. But again, with every message being chock-full of grammatical errors, it's often hard to decipher what's really going on.

The problem with this game is that in the genre of visual novels, having a strong storyline and a cast of characters the player must be able to sympathize with, relate to, or just generally like, is very important. Perhaps Lux-Pain would have been so much more different and enjoyable if a better job had been done with the localisation, but we have to make do with what we're given.

Lux-Pain is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Drug Reference, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, and Violent References.

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  • Mike Mason

    I reviewed this one myself a while ago (on Cubed3). I personally enjoyed it but couldn’t justify giving it anymore than a 4/10 due to the poor localisation, which absolutely destroyed it as a visual novel in my eyes despite the intriguing storyline.

    Nice review.