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Little Luca Review

By , on June 4, 2013
Last modified 1 year, 4 months ago


Little Luca
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Environmental controls are neat.
  • Decent pixel-art presentation.

CONS

  • Gameplay is restrictive and lacks substance.
  • Potentially entertaining experimentation is discouraged.

VERDICT

A fun little concept somewhat held back by the short, restrictive levels of the three-star format.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Little Luca has received comparisons to Bumpy Road. This is largely because it's a game that put the player in control of the environment, rather than the protagonist. However, while Bumpy Road was an endless runner, Little Luca is a three star physics puzzler with a retro, pixel art aesthetic.

Luca is a ball that is trying to replace all the stars in the sky. The goal of each level is to collect the three stars, while trying to reach the black hole that will transport you to the next stage. This is accomplished is by using the elasticity of the platforms that populate the world. Touching the screen will affect the terrain, either contracting creating a divot, or expanding outward.

Each piece of terrain is assigned one of these properties. Divots will allow your ball to roll into place, while the expansions will launch it up into the air. As you continue, other environmental controls become available, like wind, gravity, and even whales. They all respond to the same one-touch mechanic, but surprisingly this never leads to confusion or accidental inputs.

What does start to nag is the length of the levels. As there is only really one solution to each problem, the play is pretty linear and restrictive. The morphing landscape is a perfect setting for experimentation, tempting you to fling Luca to and fro. Yet in the stages themselves, that sort of wanton mischief will end in death, or the need to hit the menu for the replay button (which should really be located on the actual level screen). The charm of the eight bit visuals and cheerful music only exacerbates this, and after a few levels, Little Luca feels more like an exercise in wasted potential rather than a strong entry in the physics puzzle genre.

But perhaps this charm will be enough for most people. The environmental control mechanic is still relatively unique, and your options do open up as the game progresses. It just feels a little too safe and reigned-in to separate it from it peers. Which is a shame, considering this chirpy offering is crying out for some love.

Screenshots

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