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Mini-Review: Lux-Pain

Lux-Pain I'm going to be brutally honest with you here.  Lux-Pain from Ignition Entertainment is the most baffling Nintendo DS title that I've ever played.  Perhaps "played" is the wrong verb; this is not a game we're talking about, but a visual novel adventure.  There is little playing to be done.  That's not a put-down, as I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to take on the game visual novel, but even for a visual novel I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the world of Lux-Pain.  I'm going to let the game's fact sheet explain the plot because, honestly, I was completely lost as the story unfolded.

Lux-Pain is set in historical Kisaragi City, a town plagued by mysteries from small mishaps to murders - with no logical explanation as to why these events occur. It seems “Silent”, a worm born through hate and sadness, has infected humans and forced them to commit atrocious crimes. The hero’s parents, Atsuki, are victims of such crimes. To avenge his parents, Atsuki goes through a dangerous operation to acquire Lux-Pain in his left arm, a power so strong that his left eye turns golden when using it to seek and destroy Silent for good.

There's a lot going on in Lux-Pain, but I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am just not the right audience for it.  The harshest criticism I can offer is that I do not understand a bit of the story, and I'm sure you can agree that understanding the story should be the most important aspect of a visual novel.  The production values are hit and miss; there's some gorgeous artwork and haunting effects on display here (and my edition came packed with an art book to show off more of the anime artwork seen in the visual novel), but I did note some odd misspellings and what I assumed to be translation gaffes from the Japanese source material.  Voice acting pairs off with the on-screen text, although they do not always match.  There is a limited amount of what some might consider gameplay in that the stylus is used to tap at specific (yet confusingly semi-unmarked and unprompted) areas of the touchscreen to learn more information about the current story element.

I could go on, but why waste more of our time with Lux-Pain?  My recommendation is to pass on this one.  I'd imagine that there must be an audience out there for this one, but it certainly isn't me.