ReviewsReview: Lucid Cycle

Review: Lucid Cycle

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If you cannot recall your dreams, you are missing out on a weird and wonderful part of your mind. Your brain pieces together your thoughts in a way that you never thought possible and you experience some bizarre and nonsensical sequences. These journeys are harmless, mostly, as it’s simply your way of understanding the day’s events. Lucid Cycle recreates this dream state but in a more sinister and deeper way.

Developed by Tonguc Bodur and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a surreal walking simulator. It is based around a day/night cycle and an odd computerised psychiatrist. Therefore, this abstract title will leave you confused, dazed, and feeling that you have little control over the unfolding events.

Complete the picture to understand every vision.

Lucid Cycle captures the dream state perfectly. 

Dreams are as unique as each individual, yet they all have a familiar feeling. There is a sense of weightlessness, a lack of control, and the daunting feeling of falling. Lucid Cycle has captured this perfectly within its episodic gameplay. Though I was confused throughout, I enjoyed the weird journey I was taken on. 

No matter the dream or nightmare you experience, the gameplay always returns to a small apartment. Here you may relax, enjoy playing some games, or speak to a robotic ‘shrink’. This cold and callous object demands you answer its questions while offering a heartless insight into your visions. This was the strangest part of Lucid Cycle as the lack of empathy and warmth gave a calculated and subjective impression of your visions.

Take the portal to your next dream.

Eleven dreams, multiple mechanics, but no idea what was happening. 

The beauty of Lucid Cycle is its reliance on its walking simulator elements. The slow-paced gameplay allows you to enjoy each of the eleven bizarre chapters. You’ll hunt boar, shoot neon cubes, search through fog, avoid balls, and more. How long you wish to spend in each zone is your choice and once a portal opens, you may leave to experience another vision. 

What I loved, however, was the incorporation of other mechanics. The developers have used first-person shooter ideas, there are puzzles to solve, mazes to defeat, and more. The standard walking sim idea is beautifully complemented by these additional elements. This helped to overcome the overwhelming notion that the gameplay was intentionally confusing.

Lucid Cycle is a wonderfully dreamy experience. 

Undoubtedly, Lucid Cycle has captured the brilliance and uneasy essence of the dream state. The blend of obscure locations, bizarre imagery, and helplessness transports you to that dreamy world. The combination of cool and vivid colours with expansive spaces leaves you both uneasy and in awe of your surroundings. I loved exploring the different landscapes, and I enjoyed how the game returned to the apartment between chapters. This clever idea gave closure to each section while allowing you to absorb what you had observed. The familiar environment broke up the surreal nature of the gameplay while giving you a much-needed break from the madness.

The audio is brilliantly composed and enhances each chapter. The combination of dramatic tunes and airy songs creates a varied atmosphere. You’ll experience serene moments that are juxtaposed with aggressive moments of danger. The uncertain nature of each part of the soundtrack adds drama and kept me interested throughout. 

Neon blocks fill the night sky.

A walking sim with no complications. 

Walking sims aren’t renowned for their difficult gameplay and Lucid Cycle is no different. With its simple button layout and minimalistic action, you’ll enjoy each chapter with no fuss. Fortunately, though, when the gameplay demands you shoot your enemy or jump chasms, the instructions are clear and the controls are responsive.

There are plenty of positives to take away from Lucid Cycle, but the replay value isn’t one of them. Yes, you are free to explore each chapter freely, and you can play the mini-games as much as you wish. Sadly, though, this adds little longevity. Unfortunately, the achievement list is completed in one playthrough, so this offers no further incentive. Subsequently, though, the ease at which this is finished does make it a completionist’s dream.

Lucid Cycle is brilliant but it will mess with your mind!

Walking simulators are pretty hit and miss and when you get a poor one, they tarnish the genre. Fortunately, though, Lucid Cycle is fantastic if not a little strange. Its obscure scenarios and a blend of mechanics will leave you confused as it plays with your mind. Its short game time will leave you wanting more and its lack of longevity will leave you frustrated. However, don’t let this put you off! I enjoyed it and I recommend you to buy it here! Dreams are a beautiful but strange place to be. Can you solve the meaning behind your visions or will your journey leave you with more questions?

SUMMARY

Lucid Cycle is a surreal walking simulator that'll play with you mind. Will you make sense of every vision you encounter, or will you allow the oddities to wash over you?

+ Vivid and bizarre imagery.
+ A varied soundtrack.
+ Simple controls.
+ A weird but enjoyable plot.
+ A completionist's dream.
- No replay value.
- I wanted more.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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