Lucidity is an Xbox Live Arcade title where you play through the imagination of a little girl, Sofi, whose grandmother has just died. While that may sound wrist-cuttingly depressing, its actually surprisingly well handled.
You have no control over Sofi. She slowly skips her way through dreamy landscapes, filled with objects and creatures that can hurt her. The player is effectively the hand of God (or perhaps the Grandmother) who places objects in her path, such as footsteps and springboards, that guide her to safety. It’s an interesting play mechanic that reminds me of Tetris because you can’t choose which piece you get to set down next so sometimes you’ll frantically plough through several useless shapes until you get what you’re after.
I’m all for gaming exploring different themes and so I was quite attracted to Lucidity on principal. The art design in this game is terrific too and really does a good job of being both aesthestically appealing and matching the tone of the game (childlike, yet sombre). The only bit where I felt Lucidity balls-ed it up a little was with the End Of Level messages from Granny, which come in the form of a postcard. Initially I found the messages encouraging Sofi to be quite endearing. The only problem is that the game has around fifty levels, so very quickly, you get a bit tired of these platitudes and life lessons and the whole exercise starts to feel like you’re reading through a series of rejected sentiments for Hallmark bereavement cards. I think using the messages from Granny should’ve been used a lot more sparingly.
Its not enough to spoil the experience however. Lucidity was an unexpected pleasure that wasn’t on my gaming radar at all. Death in gaming in generally a minor inconvenience or a slap-on-the-wrist punishment at best so its quite refreshing to see a game actually explore how a person might handle grief.