Metropolis: Lux Obscura (Xbox One) Review

By Nikola Suprak 20.01.2019

Review for Metropolis: Lux Obscura on Xbox One

Sin City was a very stylized, very interesting film, based on a very stylized, very interesting series of graphic novels that featured breasts, blood, and all the gritty noir action it was possible to fit into a page. Metropolis: Lux Obscura looked at that and thought to itself "Ouch, my brain hurts!" This is essentially what would happen if you mixed Sin City with a head injury, and is one of those rare kinds of games that, as shown in a previous Switch review, almost nobody is going to like.

It is clear right from the start where this draws inspiration from, and the story itself is sort of a comic book style noir kind of adventure, heavily (and that does mean heavily) influenced by the graphic novel and film Sin City. The protagonist, Lockhart, was seemingly only given his name for how easy it was to rhyme with male genitals, something literally every single woman in the game seems ready to point out within seconds of talking to him. When the adventure starts, he has recently gotten out of prison for a crime he claims he didn't commit, something that is ignored for the vast majority of this game's run time, to instead focusing on doing chores for the local crime boss. It looks like it is going to be a gritty crime noir kind of story, something that falls apart almost immediately when it becomes clear that whoever was writing this secretly hated it.

The design document for this title was probably: "Be Sin City, but dumb," and then the developers flexed at each other and drank some paint. This is a mess, an almost impossible disaster of a videogame that has no other aspirations other than to kind of sort of look like Sin City. This is a videogame that wants to be Sin City so badly that Sin City could legally file for a restraining order, and any qualified judge would grant it to them. It isn't even trying to be its own thing, and entire storylines from the movie and graphic novel are clumsily ripped out and haphazardly thrown in here while the game hopes you don't notice because it changed the names. There is paying homage to a work of fiction, and then there is aspiring to be a Walmart bargain bin rip-off of that work of fiction, and this is 100% the latter. This has no identity of its own, and seems content to just sort be the president of the Sin City fanclub.

Screenshot for Metropolis: Lux Obscura on Xbox One

The thing is the stories don't even go anywhere. There is a setup presented at the beginning of the game about a murder and how you're going to find the real killer, but that whole thing is ignored the entire game except for like a single minute in one of the four endings. There are four endings but no story, thus every scene in here could be replaced by Googled pictures of breasts, and the plot wouldn't be appreciably different. There is tons of nudity and violence, but the plot stringing it all together feels like it was put together in an afternoon by someone who hated this. It is all just mindless, and not in a fun way. It has the feel of Sin City, but none of the storytelling, so the entire plot is just a mess of boring set pieces that feel barely connected to each other.

This is technically supposed to be an interactive story, in that there are four endings, and the one you get is determined solely by your actions. However, all that boils down to is deciding which location to go first, which is about one step below a choose-your-own-adventure in terms of storytelling. It just feels random, and a lot of the times it isn't clear what is being done before a location is picked. There are a couple of really minor choices here, but none of this matters in the slightest because, while there are four endings, every single one of them feels like a "bad" one.

Screenshot for Metropolis: Lux Obscura on Xbox One

The gameplay hasn't been mentioned yet, and that's because there's barely any of it. In what is a hilarious contrast to all the blood and nudity of the storyline, the actual game itself is a weird match-three kind of system more akin to Candy Crush than typical mature games like Madworld. Single pieces can be moved in a row or a column, but only if the end result of the move ends with pieces being removed from the board, which will occur any time three or more are matched up in a single line. This will deal damage to whatever enemy is being fought at the time.

They will in turn do damage to you, and the goal is to get their health down to zero first. Certain icons will do more damage or may heal health, while certain negative ones like cop icons will actually do damage to you instead… and it is all tremendously boring. This is about the worst match-three title out there, and the whole thing is so slow paced and simple that it simply isn't fun. There are only six or so matches during a single story line, and even that feels like way too much. Each time victory is achieved, an upgrade is available that will improve the player in some way, from fewer cop icons to more damage done to increasing the random chance to do a critical hit. With so few matches though this barely matters, and by the end, things don't feel all that different from where they started no matter which upgrades are selected.

Screenshot for Metropolis: Lux Obscura on Xbox One

Metropolis: Lux Obscura is also so easy that none of this really matters and it is quite hard to actually lose. It almost has to be intentional, because there is no time limit to make moves, and all that really needs to be done is to get as many pictures in a row as possible. The word that best describes the gameplay is 'boring' and it is hard to figure out what is worse here between the story and the actual game.

The only nice thing that can be said about the entire title is that the art style isn't terrible. Scenes between the gameplay play out in a comic book style, and it uses a sort of stylized visual approach that actually looks halfway decent. It is entirely possible that the person that made this game actually just wanted to draw a comic book and this was the easiest way they could figure out how to get their work published. The artist is the only person on the entire staff that knew what they were doing, but it doesn't come close to saving this.

Screenshot for Metropolis: Lux Obscura on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Let it be said as simply as possible: please do not buy this. Please, please, please, please! If ever the urge arises to purchase this game, light a fire, take out twenty dollars, and throw it right into the flame. That is a better use of money than this, because at least Metropolis: Lux Obscura won't be in your library. There is just nothing good to say about it, and failures this spectacular are usually studied by scientists to ensure nothing this bad ever happens again.

Developer

Ktulhu Solutions

Publisher

Sometimes You

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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