Metropolis Lux Obscura is a match-three puzzle game with a Film Noir/Comic Book-style aesthetic and a criminal plot.
You play as John Lockhart, a criminal type that was imprisoned for the supposed murder of his best friend. He’s back on the Streets now and looking for his old crush and some way to make money and maybe set things right. It’s not long before he gets involved in all kinds of fights and has to bloody his fists again though.
The story has a total of 4 different outcomes, depending on some of the choices you make. These come in the shape of some simple dialogs/decisions you make but don’t go expecting a major odyssey worth of content as each playthrough takes about 30-45 minutes (or even less if you load a previous savefile and branch into another direction)
What was interesting here though, is that none of the endings are particularly favourable for poor John, making this more of a “choose your own demise” kind of tale.
Visuals and Audio
The story part of Metropolis is told through some (minor) animations in a comic-book style. Personally, I could really dig this and it’s without a doubt one of its major selling points. it’s mostly black, white and grey but certain scenes have some colour added to them for extra flourish.
What really stands out, are the adult themes shown here: prepare for lots of blood, violence and… nudity. If you play your cards right you can court up to three lovely ladies and each one has a somewhat graphic sex scene, but all delivered with taste for the artistic.
The voice acting is all over the place though. John has the most lines and luckily also delivers them in a credible manner, but the same can’t be said for all characters. There are those that have a few moments where I thought they weren’t doing a half-bad job, only to then roll my eyes a few minutes later when they were obviously phoning it in with hardly any emotion in their voice.
The core gameplay are battle-puzzles in which you have to match three icons to get a certain effect. You have a few attack types: A tazer, mace, bare firsts, chain knuckles and boots (to start with) but also some other elements that make it more dynamic, like medkits to recover health, police badges that damage you and Rage (which is used to add a multiplier to your damage output)
You can slide any block as far as you want, as long as it’s in a straight line, and there is no clock so you can take your sweet time planning your next move. What’s also pretty unique to this game is that the enemy doesn’t use the board at all. They will just do a set amount of damage every few turns. (but their lack of interference does enable you to plan ahead a few turns)
After each victory, you get to pick among 4 random upgrades that will help you in battle, a few examples:
- Randomly turn all police badges into rage
- Medkits are more effective
- Upgrade bare fists (to holding a broken bottle > Knuckled gloves etc)
- increase maximu health or rage
If you pick the same upgrade a few times, it will just level up and increase its effect. The fact that these are random is a nice touch, as it makes each playthrough unique. And as said before, you’ll want to play through the game a few times to get all the possible endings.
The achievements are earned rather easily: most of them you get for visiting a new location (each time earning you a quick 40G) or by getting a certain ending. The only ones that required a bit of work was the one asking you to match at least 10 police badges (but still winning) or the one were you have to deal 100 damage in a single turn. All in all, it should only take you about 2,5 hours to get 1000G.
Also worth mentioning is that the current build had some minor bugs: Sometimes new blocks wouldn’t drop in (but I’ve spoken to the developer and this will definitely be fixed by the release date) and the biggest one I encountered was the dialog locking the game completely in the very first interactive scene of the game. (workaround: just pick the bottom option from the start)
The only other remark I have is that you should be able to quickly retry the battle if you’ve lost. Currently it quits to the main menu and you have to skip all the text again to get to the same puzzle.
Metropolis is a fine game for its low asking price. I found myself enjoying it more than I expected to, replaying it each time with a completely different set of abilities and genuinely curious about the ending I’d be getting. The battles themselves were quick and entertaining and the comic-book style is lovely to look at. Despite its small flaws, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Need to see it in action? I got you covered: