Metropolis Lux Obscura Switch Review

Metropolis Lux Obscura is a Sin City-like story with a puzzle game at its core that resembles a 'fighting' Columns.

The temptation of T&A lured me into Metropolis Lux Obscura, let’s be honest. Gameplay and the visuals came later, but do you know what? It’s a pretty good game, it’s just wickedly short.

A game from Ktulhu Studios and Sometimes You, it’s a character-driven story where you follow Jon Lockhart, or Cockhard to his lady friend, as he leaves a prison stint only to walk straight back into trouble and to work for the mob.

Depicted in comic book panel storytelling, Lockhart can often choose a path that will result in a beating, only instead of this being a visceral beat ’em up, it’s a puzzle game reminiscent of Columns.

Metropolis Lux Obscura Review – Nintendo Switch

Lockhart will be minding his own business when a thug wants to tango, or he has to go up against a drug dealer or even a guard dog. After the comic book storytelling, Metropolis Lux Obscura gameplay involved lining up three or more of the same item to attack your opponent until, well, dead.

Metropolis Lux Obscura - The King
Hail to the King. Source: Screen capture

Fights are often turn-based with a counter in the top right to inform you when the opponent will strike. Alas, they usually hit pretty hard and depending on how you progress, they often have double your health points, and sometimes you will fight two or more characters like a knockout tournament.

On this basis, Metropolis Lux Obscura is pretty harsh. After winning a match, you can earn a perk that can be the game-changer; if you choose wisely, you can often win a fight first or second time, but pick the wrong abilities, and it’s a game of chance.

There are several attacks such as punches, kicks, electrocuting and setting fire to your opponent, just by getting a row of matching items. On top of this, you can heal with medkits – essential, unlock perks to hit them with a broken bottle or even a pistol. If you lose all your health, it’s game over, and you go back to an autosave.

Perks Of The Job

As a brawler, Lockhart can unlock these new perks after most matches. You can only choose one of four, but they have a tier system that gets better as you progress. Highlights include the other player missing a turn, or having double damage and so on.

Other than the attacks and health, if you match up police badges, you’ll lose health, but there’s a perk to counter that, and you can reduce the impact. As mentioned, the bonuses are the game changers, and if you choose wisely, you too can unlock all of the four endings.

Metropolis Lux Obscura - Pharma
Panelist. Source: Screen capture

The actual gameplay is enjoyable, if a little unpredictable, but the short bursts of puzzle battles means that if you’re dealt a ‘bad hand’ you can replay the stage again and hope for the best. Understandably, it’s a skill-based game, so if you position the items to maximise on numbers, i.e. rows of four or five, you’ll smash through the stage in no time.

One of the unique selling points of Metropolis Lux Obscura gameplay is the way you can move the blocks/items. You can position them anywhere within a row or column, not just restricted to those that are adjacent. This means that you’ll never encounter a ‘no more mores’ alert. Instead, you’ll die before then.

Here’s Where The Story Ends

Metropolis Lux Obscura is comparable to Sin City – a gritty noir-like story of crime, sex and drugs that will appeal to any decadent. An adolescent one. Get your orange boxes out: the depiction of women here are buxom airheads that are prone to flashing their bits at any opportunity.

Sure, there’s one character that has the allure of a femme fatale, but these characters are very one-dimensional, as are the general stereotypes of the corrupt senator, hapless con getting framed and low-lives.

Metropolis Lux Obscura - Police
This is the police. Source: Screen capture

The visuals are excellent, and the voice talent is classic late-night animation and played the part. There were a few bizarre expressions and phrasing in the game that made no sense, and checking on the options could see this is a multilingual game, so there’s bound to be the odd error, but ‘Stuff Entrance’ for employees was a bit naff.

Available as a free demo from the Nintendo eShop, I trialled Metropolis Lux Obscura first but swiftly purchased the game as I was into it. Regrettably, I finished the game in one sitting, completing all four endings (unless there are more, who knows?) in a couple of hours.