Monday, September 9, 2019

Indie Impressions - Lucah: Born of a Dream

Lucah: Born of a Dream

Developed by melessthanthree

Now available on Steam 


"I felt like I was watching a dream I'd never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was all over."

-Spike Spiegal

Sifting through the uncertainty of his own subconscious Lucah, The Marked One is chosen to go face-to-face with the darkest depths of his own mind. Horrific machinations from his very dreams materialize in this distorted world of twisting corridors and secret pathways, and with the help of some colorful Familiar buddies Lucah must slice and dice his way through this nightmare realm.


While the presentation here carries an obscure and experimental touch to it the gameplay is anything but unconventional with the most proven top-down hack'n'slash action formula, feeling like some sort of hidden 90's import gem cranked up to turbo speed. Lucah features some of the rawest arcade hack'n'slash combat since the Sega Saturn days of Treasure titles, and retro enthusiasts will feel right at home with the fluid combos and reflex testing rolls or parries.

Along with the flurry of weak slash combos and strong attack finishers comes the varying strengths and skills of your Familiars, who you meet and acquire along the way. These colorful beacons of hope will join you throughout the trip and bear different properties; different shot ranges, different power and rate of fires, and different elements.

A third attack button will trigger these powerful extra attacks and can even be worked into your combos, taking a totally separate energy source than your own stamina. Different Familiars obviously take advantage of each enemy or boss's weaknesses better than others, so deciding which ones to use adds another level of tactics to the action packed mix.

For a game with combat as frenetic and brutal as Lucah the story here can be a powerhouse of emotional and dramatic psychological, dealing with sifting through the most painful memories to get a hold of one's self-consciousness again. Segments of Lucah's memory come back in the form of jarring flashbacks or cut-scenes and carry the pacing of this gratifyingly length-y action-RPG very well. When it's all done you can even carry over your upgraded stats and earned skills for a new game+, you might even learn a thing or two about yourself with all of that soul-searching.


The hazy and distorted prismatic sketchbook visual style give the entire game an unhinged and otherworldly look, it really does all feel like part of a dream. Or maybe more like a nightmare. Electric neon lights flicker, flash and dance with hypnotic power around the abstract and scratch-y forms of strange apparitions and level designs are loosely held together with immaterial constructs of constantly skittering animations sort of like some kind of old underground Japanese comic or early 90's MTV animated mindfuck.

The sound design is just as otherwordly and mesmerizing as the appearance of the game, with ominous soundscapes that pulse and whirl dissonantly along with the fragmented visuals. Each area has its own theme and it's really interesting how every song starts off with a simple beat as more layers of rhythm and melody are slowly layered onto the disharmonic noise with each significant development, all before exploding into a full track by the climax of its boss battle.

Final Thoughts

Lucah: Born of a Dream delivers a story that hits hard and action that strikes fast, with a wealth of progressive RPG features that keep you growing in speed and skill throughout the journey. The content value here is incredibly high with a 15+ hour epic story set to some phenomenal atmospherics by way of eerie, provocative sound design.

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