Lux-Pain is a text adventure game for the Nintendo DS. Usually these types of games never make it outside of Japan, so you have to at least give Ignition credit for being brave enough to release it here. In the game you play as Atsuki, a young man with special powers who is a member of FORT. FORT is a secret organization established to battle the Silent: invisible, worm-like entities that infect humans and take over their minds, causing them to commit crimes and suicide. It’s up to Atsuki to go undercover and enroll in a high school in danger of being infected by the Silent.
Most of what you do in Lux-Pain is visit various locations in the high school and city, and talk to people and gather information and clues. Lots and lots of reading. The only other main thing you do is battle the Silent worms. When you come across a person that you think is infected, you can use the touch screen to rub and reveal the worm. And once you do that, you can enter that person’s psyche to gather more clues and information. Just don’t rub on the screen too long or you’ll damage that person’s mind permanently and it’s Game Over. It’s all very surreal and abstract.
Lux-Pain has very high production values, with LOTS and LOTS of fairly decent voice acting (that doesn’t always match up with the text), and even an included art book. Unfortunately, the confusing storyline and unclear goals keep Lux-Pain from becoming truly great. The game is full of teen angst themes, and since I’m not a very angsty person, that just drove me up the wall. I’ll stick to my more lighthearted Japanese text adventures such as Phoenix Wright, thank you. But I imagine people who like to watch more serious anime cartoons and Japanese manga comic books may enjoy Lux-Pain.
Lux-Pain is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Drug Reference, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, and Violent References. But most of these descriptors aren’t depicted graphically, just referred to in the text. But there’s just something very unsettling to me about suicides in a high school teen setting. Because of this and the high level of reading involved, Lux-Pain would probably be best suited for older and more mature teens.