Luna is an intriguing looking title coming from indie studio Funomena, and backed by some of the minds behind indie PS3 blockbuster Journey (2012). The studio has announced a launch date for October 17th and that the game will be coming to the Rift, Vive, and Windows VR (and PC).
Journey’s executive producer, Robin Hunicke, and engine programmer, Martin Middleton, met at game studio Thatgamecompany (which developed Journey), and afterward came together to found Funomena in 2013 with the underlying idea that “games can have a positive impact on the world.”
When I previewed Luna back in late 2016 I found a game with great audio and visual design, though the experience felt more like… well, and experience than a game:
I enjoyed the visual and sound design, and liked the slightly creative and interactive musical elements in the terrarium at the end, however, I didn’t get a sense of what the broader gameplay might look like once fleshed out into a full game, and for the time being I didn’t feel a strong hook that made me eager to experience more of Luna’s world. I wanted to care about the adorable critters before me, or be enchanted by the gameplay, but at least the brief 10 minutes I spent with the game, I didn’t see hints of where that hook might emerge.
Luna is much different than most of what else is being created for VR right now, which is a good thing, but as the title continues development it seems like it could benefit from a more firm direction toward the ‘game’ or ‘experience’ categories, as sticking to the middle of the road could leave both camps unsatisfied.
With nearly a year of additional development time under the title’s belt, I’m hoping Luna‘s narrative and gameplay will have evolved to match its superb sound and visuals. The latest snippet from the Luna website gives an idea of what the title will offer:
The silence of a summer evening is disturbed by mysterious, haunting song. A majestic Owl’s call convinces a young Bird to swallow the last piece of the waning Moon, summoning an unexpected storm that blows the Bird far from its home.
Solve celestial puzzles and create miniature musical worlds. Re-awaken the shadowy forest, discover its hidden creatures, and reunite the fragmented Moon so Bird can find its way home.
- Place, customize and interact with miniature, living terrariums.
- Solve celestial puzzles to unlock their plants and animals.
- Play musical flora and fauna to reveal Austin Wintory’s enchanting score.