Luna The Shadow Dust, Image: Lantern Studio

‘LUNA The Shadow Dust’: A Visually Striking, Hand-Animated Puzzle Game

Entertainment Featured Video Games
Luna The Shadow Dust, Image: Lantern Studio
Luna The Shadow Dust, Image: Lantern Studio

What Is LUNA The Shadow Dust?

LUNA The Shadow Dust is a dialogue-free, point-and-click puzzle adventure game. In it, you will play as a boy named Üri and his companion, a mysterious creature called Layh, working together to solve puzzles and work your way through the rooms of a strange Dark Tower.

Age Rating

LUNA The Shadow Dust is rated PEGI 12, it does not yet have an ESRB rating.

After the Landing, Image: Lantern Studio
After the Landing, Image: Lantern Studio

Available Formats

LUNA The Shadow Dust is available on:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • Linux

Pick it up on Steam, Humble Store, gog, and the Mac App Store.

System Specifications

The minimum system requirements for Window are:

  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2557M
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT440 or HD5570
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

And for Mac:

  • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1024MB VRAM, Metal/OpenGL 3.2
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

LUNA The Shadow Dust Trailer

Gameplay

LUNA The Shadow Dust is a slow-paced game based around solving puzzles.

The game starts out with a cut scene where a boy—Üri—falls through a dark night sky. Cushioned by a bubble, he eventually reaches the ground where he awakens and you can begin to explore. Here, you will encounter your first puzzle and, after solving it, you will discover the entrance to the Dark Tower. As the game continues, you will gradually make your way up the tower, room by room, solving the puzzle in each space in order to progress further. After a short time, you will meet a small, furry creature named Layt who will become your companion. You will be able to switch between controlling Üri and Layt and both have different skills that you will need to combine in order to solve each room.

A Puzzle Space, Image: Lantern Studio
A Puzzle Space, Image: Lantern Studio

As a point-and-click game, the controls in LUNA The Shadow Dust are very simple and easy to learn so you will have mastered them in a matter of moments. You can control Üri and Layt, moving them backward and forward around the room, pushing objects, flipping switches, and climbing ladders. When an object can be interacted with, your cursor will change to a small hand symbol. Once you have completed a room and moved on, you cannot return to it—the storytelling is very linear with a clear goal in mind rather than the ability to wander at random through the Dark Tower. Sometimes you will encounter an animated cut scene between rooms and these scenes will help to progress the overall story.

As the game goes on, the puzzles will become harder and harder. You will need to split Üri and Layt up, with the characters often exploring the same space but in different realms. It wasn’t long before I came across a room which Üri explored normally while Layt had to move through it as a shadow in order to reach certain areas. It is in these spaces where the artwork really comes to life.

The Dark Tower, Showing the Current Room, Previously Explored Rooms, and Those Yet to Come, Image: Lantern Studio
The Dark Tower, Showing the Current Room, Previously Explored Rooms, and Those Yet to Come, Image: Lantern Studio

Expansions and In-Game Purchases

There are no expansions or in-app purchases, but you can purchase an Art Book and a copy of the soundtrack. The developers advise not reading the art book until you have completed the game because it contains multiple spoilers for puzzle solutions.

LUNA The Shadow Dust Verdict

LUNA The Shadow Dust is a stunningly beautiful game and one worth playing for the aesthetics alone. The entire game has been created with hand-drawn animation giving it a look and feel that is reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film. I was also reminded somewhat of Unforeseen Incidents, another beautifully drawn game I played a few years ago. The details are incredible and the use of both color and lights throughout really brings the rooms and puzzles to life. The soundtrack (composed by Wang Qian) is also beautiful and adds a lot of extra depth to the story.

The First Room in LUNA The Shadow Dust, Image: Lantern Studio
The First Room in LUNA The Shadow Dust, Image: Lantern Studio

I really enjoyed playing LUNA The Shadow Dust and found that the puzzles fell into that ideal zone of being hard enough to be challenging without being so difficult that they caused frustration and made me want to give up and walk away. I noticed that I was talking out loud to myself as I worked through them, and could see this game being a great choice for a couple or some friends to work through together—I will be suggesting it to some family members who love to play mystery puzzle games along the lines of those from Big Fish. Solving the puzzles is decidedly more tricky than mastering the controls and I will admit that I needed to consult walkthroughs sooner than I would have liked! Many of the rooms will contain a clue somewhere so it is well worth exploring everywhere in order to figure out the solution. However, the puzzles can become repetitive, especially if you cannot see the solution immediately.

There’s also a lot of humor to be found in the game. One puzzle involved fattening up an adorable cartoon rat by cooking him various dishes that caused a different reaction when Layt boinged off his head. Another, one of the most impressive puzzles I have yet to come across, involves hilariously multiplying Layt to create a number of duplicates who could each sing a different note of a tune. With this puzzle, the gameplay and the soundtrack blended together perfectly to create something both visually and audibly incredible.

A Solved Puzzle, Image: Lantern Studio
A Solved Puzzle, Image: Lantern Studio

LUNA The Shadow Dust is a relaxing game ideal for snuggling up with on a cold night. It is not an especially long game, but this could be a good thing because it stops the puzzles from becoming overly monotonous and it makes completing the game feel achievable for casual gamers who only want to dip in and out for a short time in the evening. I’m definitely hoping to see a sequel in the future.

If you’re interested in trying out LUNA The Shadow Dust, a free demo is available on Steam.

GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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