Memoria is a distant island off the coast of Maine rumored to awaken the reminiscences of everybody who units foot on its abandoned shores. When two younger adults named J.J. and Emily set foot on the island for an intimate tenting weekend, they inadvertently dredge up repressed feelings that ship them right into a damaging spiral. The Lacking is the most recent recreation from Lethal Premonition director Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro. As Swery fan have come to anticipate, The Lacking options its fair proportion of weird and awkward moments, however it in the end tells a poignant story utilizing a mechanic that asks gamers to repeatedly dismember their character.
As J.J. travels throughout Memoria Island in search of her lacking good friend, she encounters a sequence of lethal environmental hazards like electrified swimming pools of water, razor-sharp buzzsaws, and fiery deathtraps. Whereas most would meet a grizzly finish on this harsh world, J.J. has the outstanding capacity to regenerate her physique and get well from any damage. Rising again misplaced limbs on the push of a button is a number of enjoyable, however how The Lacking incorporates these physique horrors into its puzzle is usually sensible. For instance, at a number of factors, I needed to set J.J.’s physique on fireplace to gentle up darkened corridors or use her charred flesh to set overgrown brambles ablaze.
One in every of my favourite methods to injure J.J. was to interrupt her neck, which causes all the world to flip upside-down. This results in a sequence of intelligent environmental mazes that ask you to repeatedly flip between these two views. Luckily, The Lacking doesn’t belabor its gimmicks. As quickly as I acquired the deal with on one puzzle sort, White Owls launched a brand new component or put a brand new spin on an outdated mechanic in a enjoyable method.
The Lacking doesn’t maintain your damaged fingers once you get caught; it encourages trial and error. Luckily, most of The Lacking’s environmental puzzles are simply solved by logical deduction and exploration. However, The Lacking fails to correctly clarify a number of primary mechanics. I acquired caught for much too lengthy throughout one early puzzle as a result of I didn’t notice I might throw objects, since it’s important to maintain down a button to take action. Luckily, there have been solely a handful of moments the place I might have used a tooltip, and The Lacking’s environmental challenges are rewarding sufficient that I discovered it straightforward to shortly transfer on to the following factor.
A way of dread and sorrow underlies J.J.’s complete journey, however the themes of destruction and regeneration tie into the narrative in a intelligent method. The Lacking’s story options its fair proportion of weirdness, resembling a physician with a moose head or a speaking stuffed animal, however, ultimately, The Lacking advised a shifting story about J.J.’s private struggles that caught me off guard greater than as soon as. Like its surprisingly heartfelt narrative, this quirky indie side-scroller got here out of nowhere, however I’m glad I didn’t miss out on The Lacking.