((Potential minor spoiler warning for this review))
The last two games that turned me into a emotional sobbing wreck by the end of them were Nier: Automata and Lucah: Born of a Dream.
This is more than just a coincidental pairing - these two games are very similar in many obvious ways. Colin, Lucah’s main developer, writer, and animator, even goes as far as to half-jokingly call it a “Nier-like” in a recent Twitter thread. Despite the mechanical similarities and the fact that they’re both highly emotional, character-driven hack-n-slash games, Lucah's intimacy is what sets it apart and what has left an arguably deeper and stronger impact on me.
It feels very difficult to talk about this game without relating it heavily to myself. There's a lot going on in this game thematically that reflects struggles I've gone through in my life - mental illness, figuring out ones own identity, the fragility of romantic connection, and growing up gay in a religious environment where being gay wasn't allowed. Lucah skips over giving empty promises and vague, sugarcoated hope; these things are difficult as hell, and they aren't easy to overcome.
And yet, you overcome them. Enemies and battles are challenging, and at first, can feel overwhelming, but soon can easily be conquered thanks to the game's welcome reliance on telegraphing attacks and its lovely dodge/parry system. The visuals can feel oppressive, threatening, even nonsensical, but reveal their beauty within the messy lines. Dialogue and lore is emotionally difficult to get through, dealing with trauma and death and pure horror, but catharsis is just around the corner. It'll hurt, but it'll heal in due time.
At the beginning of the game, Colin directly addresses the player, and asks for their trust. Things will be difficult, you'll lose people along the way, and it might hurt - but have faith that it'll end up okay in the end. It seems like a strange request coming from a video game, but this trust is essential to braving the whirlwind ahead. I'm so unbelievably happy that I gave Lucah my trust, and I'm forever grateful that I'll get to carry this experience with me for as long as I need it.
P.S. My friend Bluffy was the one who got me into this game, and I don't have the words to express my thanks. So shoutout I guess ❤️✨