For those of us living in Europe, companies like Rising Star, Ignition and 505 Games are godsends; knights in shining armour who will whip up a translation and distribute wacky Japanese games that would otherwise never cross the Atlantic.

But every now and again, it’s obvious that they shouldn’t have bothered. Enter Lux-Pain, a visual novel where the citizens of scenic Kisaragi City are under constant threat of mental parasites and cerebral worms, looking for a grey matter breakfast. You play as Atsuki Saijo, a member of the Anti-SILENT (a type of mental leech) task force FORT, who has the power of telepathy implanted into his left arm… which has the side effect of one golden eye. I’m as confused as you are.

While scouring the town for the nasty bugs, Atsuki enrols at the local high school and has to juggle his telepathic extermination with making friends, getting good grades and keeping up with schoolyard gossip. The story is baffling, to say the least, and regularly disturbing. Lux-Pain introduces macabre themes like group suicides, animal cruelty and attempted murder with a juvenile flippancy as the concepts are rarely handled with the maturity they require.

The game ushers players through numerous locations, frequently limiting the number of locations you can visit dramatically, as you chat to anime-inspired characters and proceed to read their minds in a bizarre stylus-scratching minigame. While the dialogue is often dry, the characters are unique, and the disconnect between their external personality and inner thoughts leads to dark, emotional intrigue. Lux-Pain is a relatively passive game; conversations seldom require your interaction and the telepathic worm-hunting game is effortless.

Fortunately, for a game that has a lot of reading, this Nintendo DS game has a surprisingly substantial amount of voice acting that is mostly well performed. Still, not every character has a voice actor so conversations and arguments become disjointedly one-sided, and most actors ad-lib their lines entirely compared to the text boxes. Laziness, ineptitude or otherwise, the translators chose to fruitlessly squeeze the script into the tiny text boxes with awkward sentence restructures and nonsense contractions like “incident’re”. Spelling mistakes and grammar faux-pas are prevalent, also.







2 responses to “Lux-Pain”

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