Players always have high hopes for games like Lucidity, and it’s easy to see why. Its visual style is distinct and saturated with character, and the story is complex and emotionally mature.  People will point to it as yet another example of our favorite hobby being a legitimate art form, and in some ways I don’t disagree. But whether a game qualifies as art is secondary to how fun it is to play, and my critique of this thought-provoking adventure will be decidedly utilitarian.

Lucidity tells the story of a little girl named Sofi, who falls asleep at her grandmother’s house and is transported into a dream world that’s influenced by her changing emotional state. The visuals are the first thing you’ll notice about the game, and are somewhat evocative of a children’s book brought to life, but without being overly childish. The style reminds me of a Tim Burton movie – only less creepy – and proves a game doesn’t have to be pushing millions of polygons to be visually moving.

Each level sees Sofi cheerfully skipping her way across a 2D plane fraught with hazards in the typical side-scrolling platformer fashion. The difference is that you don’t actually control Sofi, but instead place objects in her path to help her on her way; a staircase can help her reach a high-up ledge, or a slingshot can launch her over a pit or past an enemy. These pieces are selected randomly, and the game shows you the next piece in the lineup, giving you the option to hold onto one as well. The end product is a mix of Tetris, Lemmings, and Pipe Dreams, and although that might sound like too much for one game, the concept works surprisingly well – Lucidity’s problems lie elsewhere.

Early levels showcase Lucidity's strengths.

The first few levels of Lucidity are a lot of fun; you only have a few object types to use, and the environments aren’t particularly threatening – a pit here, an enemy frog there. This allows the player to approach it as more of a puzzle game than a platformer, strategizing for each threat with time to spare. Scattered throughout each level are fireflies, the game’s form of collectible. Unlike most collectibles, however, these are actually worth the effort. Not only do they unlock bonus levels, but they utilize the game’s surprising verticality and require you to be more creative and spontaneous with your object placement.  They also add replay value; each level will take at least two or three runs just to find all of the glowing insects, which is less repetitive than it sounds. Completely clearing a level is genuinely gratifying, and if you enjoy games that make you feel like you have OCD, Lucidity has you covered – there are over 2000 fireflies to find in the game’s 40+ levels.