App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Many, many video games are fun, but few dare to actually try to move you. So, when a game does happen to come out that promises something different than “addicting gameplay” or fanciful ways of performing violent acts, it's attention-grabbing. This is precisely why I picked up BestLuck. It’s a short adventure puzzle game that advertises an emotional journey, but the feelings here unfortunately don't really end up going anywhere.
BestLuck is a game told through a frame narrative. You start the game playing as a man just before he’s going to sleep. You don’t know much about him except that he lives in a studio apartment in some kind of futuristic city. Then, he falls asleep, and this is where the true story (and game) begins.
Throughout the entirety of BestLuck, you are controlling this man as he wanders through his subconscious, which mostly manifests itself as a large forest. Along the way, you encounter events and small small puzzles to cobble together bits and pieces of this man’s past.
Dreaming of doors
In BestLuck, you have direct control of your player character as you wander through this dream-like forest, and the mechanics themselves follow a pretty basic pattern. A woman hovers over you, guides you to run toward a puzzle, you solve it, and move on. Every once in a while, you’ll also encounter a story moment, which conveys a snapshot of your character’s life through an illustration.
This formula seems in line with the way a lot of games are structured, but in BestLuck it feels overly rote. This is probably because the overwhelming majority of puzzles in the game are slight variations on the same thing. For whatever reason, BestLuck’s puzzles are almost all ones in which players are presented a set of free-standing doors that must be opened in a specific order.
The door puzzles in BestLuck aren't exactly bad. In fact, the amount of variety the developers found to make the same puzzle format slightly different is kind of impressive. At the end of the day though, having so much of the same puzzle type is still grating, especially considering that BestLuck has issues with its control scheme that makes solving these puzzles overly difficult at times.
There are times in adventure puzzle games where I’m willing to overlook a lack of sophisticated or varied gameplay if the narrative being weaved into it feels worth it. Unfortunately for BestLuck, this is not the case. The game tells a meandering and vague story of love and loss, which is a familiar theme that has been executed better in games with more entertaining gameplay.
The bottom line
Games have such a huge potential for putting players in the shoes of other people to feel what they feel and see what they see. Too often, developers choose for your perspective to be some familiar power fantasy (e.g. man with gun), but BestLuck chooses not to, and is better for it. In doing so though, BestLuck has a harder job, and what it offers is not quite up to the task. Repetitive puzzles, so-so controls, and ambiguous storytelling make BestLuck feel like an incomplete and shallow experience.