I don’t think Lunark is about time travel, but for me it’s a bit of a time machine. This is one of those 90s adventures where a hero in blue jeans and white sneakers mantles their way through an alien world. It’s Flashback, and it’s a bit of a flashback too. For whatever reason, this shameless piece of nostalgia has really clicked with me. I love it.
Lunark chucks you into a mysterious future where industrialists are doing iffy things and something’s happened to the moon. It’s a 2D affair, and movement initially seems sluggish, a reminder of the days when graceful animation came at a price.
After a quick robot tutorial, though, you’re introduced to the dash button, and you’ll soon be running and jumping and blasting critters all over the place. It’s the same mixture of elegance and awkwardness I remember from games like Flashback and Another World, and the same gleeful, colourful imagination regarding what the future will look like.
Where it sang for me was once I’d been dispatched on a mission. Down in an alien cave network, zapping spiders and moving crystals about to solve simple puzzles, I remembered that these sorts of games were always best played late into the night, with a school friend hanging out, long after the rest of the house has gone to sleep. Lunark is transporting, and I suspect that even if you’re not old and boring like me you’ll still get something magical out of it.