The crime is murder and it is your job to witness the defendants memories and find out what really happened. Project Lux is a futuristic VR visual novel, which is completely family-friendly. At the time of writing, it has been released for PC VR (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, etc) and is due to come to PlayStation VR in the future.
For those of you who do not own a VR headset, I should note that this game works well with software called VRidge. This allows you to use a smartphone as a PC VR headset if a rather limited one.
You are put in the place of the defendant, a government agent who works with artists. In this story, most of the world has uploaded themselves into cyber brains and natural humans are quite rare. Lux, the artist and only other character seen in this game, is one of the few natural humans remaining.
Lux’s work as an artist is important to the world, as it creates data regarding emotions. With the lack of natural humans, this makes her quite important.
I will avoid going too deep into the story, as it is quite short. I will say that it explores the idea of augmented humans, entertainment in cyberspace, what it means to be a human and most often focuses on the concept of emotion. This is mostly shown through your conversations with Lux, whom you spend almost all of the game with.
The artist Lux is very prone to high emotions, which suits the theme of the story. She gets happy easily, is quick to anger and worries quite a lot. One way in which virtual reality shines in this game is showing these emotions off through some very well done animation.
There are five chapters and two endings in the story, which can all be completed in less than a couple of hours. You can make very few choices throughout, most of which is done by looking towards an object to interact with it. This needs to be done to continue the story at several points. For the most part, you will just be relaxing and watching Lux as the story goes on, without any interaction.
The game is designed to be seated and certainly not intended for any movement as you actually leave your body behind if you move! This does make it feel slightly dated in VR terms, but as long as you stayed seated, it’s not really an issue. The developer has another upcoming VR title based on the Spice and Wolf franchise, which will hopefully show improvements in this area.
Graphically, the visuals are not brilliant in the amount of detail included. This may be due to targeting PSVR-level performance. As mentioned, however, the animation used is brilliant and one of the factors which really add to the immersion.
The background music is fairly minimal. The entire game is voiced in Japanese by Aimi Tanaka as Lux and Teruaki Ogawa as the agent whom you play as. You may recognize these names as well known voice actors who played roles in Himouto! Umaru-chan and Final Fantasy XV respectively, among quite a long list of other anime and video games. Needless to say, the voicing is of high quality.
There is no English dubbing in Project Lux, so subtitles will be a must unless you have a high level of Japanese. There is a fairly high amount of technobabble and philosophical talk used at times, so even people confident in their Japanese skills may have some issues following along in certain scenes.
The game is priced at approximately $25 on Steam and I imagine it will be similar on the PlayStation Store. For such a short experience, this is quite expensive. It is probably worth noting how unique it is, with so few VR visual novels, so this may make it worth the price of entry to anime fans with a strong interest in virtual reality.
I personally enjoyed my time spent with this VR story, however short it was. It felt like sitting through an anime movie, with the benefit of being transported into the character’s place, which makes a nice change from shooting zombies.
You can buy the game on Steam or when it releases, on the PlayStation Store.
Nook has been gaming since the Amstrad and DOS. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years.