The 2D action RPG Lucid has jumped straight to the top of Kickstarter, now just inches from its funding goal with four weeks still left in its campaign, and I'm starting to see why. The eclectic game looks fabulous and, owing to a bizarre pool of inspirations, promises the "world's first Celestoidvania," and frankly I need to know what that means.
Let's start with the games and media singled out as references by one-man developer Matte Black Studio. We've got: Super Metroid, Mega Man X, Donkey Kong Country, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Doom, Celeste, and Princess Mononoke. If something in this list didn't perk up your ears, you've got to catch up on some classics, my friend. On Twitter, the dev describes it as "a love letter to all my favorite games growing up," which absolutely tracks.
From the Kickstarter pitch, it's clear Lucid is an action-platformer with prominent RPG and Metroidvania mechanics. You'll upgrade the abilities and movement options for main character Oenn, who seems to be some sort of golem, by unlocking moves called Crystal Arts to approach combat, platforming, and puzzles in new ways.
The RPG blood shines through a bit more clearly in how you can tailor Oenn's style. The dev offers the example of focusing on just two Crystal Arts or going wide to "master the quick swap and become a jack of all trades." There are also collectible, equipable talismans to further layer on the synergy, and I'm getting some Hollow Knight and Ori and the Will of the Wisp vibes already.
Encouragingly, Matte Black leads with a distinctly Celeste design philosophy: "Tight controls are the foundation of Lucid's design. As an extension of the player, Oenn is a joy to handle. While you navigate the platforming puzzles and master the airborne combat you will enter the oh-so sought after flow state."
Lucid also sounds exceedingly Metroidvania-like, but apart from the "Celestoidvania" drop in the trailer, doesn't lean too hard into the genre terminology. Still, the game's promising a "vast and interconnected" world with treasures and secrets, so combined with the unlockable movement abilities and Super Metroid's influence, it's hard to shake the Metroidvania vibes – not that I'd ever want to, of course.
Matte Black seems to have thrown a whole bunch of stuff that I – and, I know for certain, a lot of people – really like into a big pot and put its own spin on it, which is really all I can ask for. So it's a big and unexpected bonus for the game to also have music from legendary composer David Wise, of Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing, and Yooka-Laylee fame. The sample tracks embedded in the Kickstarter are all bops, which bodes well for the full soundtrack.
Lucid lists a January 2025 delivery date on Kickstarter (with platforms seemingly still TBD), so it's still a ways off, but it's definitely getting a spot on my watch list.
For another strange combination, have a gander at this "reverse tower defense" JRPG that's also a coffee shop sim, and has some of the best art I've seen all year.