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Oh Luxaren Allure. How I love thee.....



I wasn't expecting much out Luxaren Allure. I had passed on playing it a few times because I saw one of the selling points was that is was a "yuri" game. So, I assumed it was just going to be all in your face about it. Or with borderline hentai-like cg images sprinkled all around. But, to my surprise, after giving this game a shot, this is not the case. Not only are the relationships in this game done extremely well, but, they are not in your face at all. It feels more like a typical good RPG love story romance, the characters just happen to be lesbians. Which I was happy to see.

The thing that surprised me the most though is just how good Luxaren Allure is. Everything from the battle system to the writing to the graphics is great. The game is extremely well polished and there is really only a few negative things I have to say about the game. This game could of come out in the SNES or PS1 days and I would of played the hell out of it. It really is the complete package IMO.

But, anyway, on to the review!!

Story

The story of this game revolves around Karuna, a talented swordswomen in the school of the unwavering blade, who has a crush on her best friend and training partner Aurelie. At the beginning of the game Karuna and Aurelie go into Darkloft Castle to find a missing boy and Aurelie winds up getting seperated from Karuna and possessed by a mysterious suit of armor. Turning her into Darkloft, pretty much evil incarnate, and she begins to lay waste upon the land.

Devasted after finding out what happened to Aurelie, Karuna winds up getting chosen as the Hero tasked to collect the 3 holy relics and to hunt down and kill Darkloft. Joined by her self appointed squire Chisa, Karuna leaves on her quest while, at the same time, secretely hoping that she can find a way to save Aurelie so they can be reunited again.

I could go on and on about the story of this game. But, I really don't want to spoil the story for any potential players.

Although, I will say that one of the things I really liked about the game's story was that while the tone of the game is lighthearted with a little bit of humor sprinkled here and there. It takes itself very seriously and has a lot of emotional moments. Also, the writing is fantastic and the characters are really charming and have great chemistry. I especially liked the Chisa and Merel relationship. It is very well done.


Yes, put it on. Nothing bad could come of this....

Gameplay

Here is the meat and potatoes of the game right here and the reason that I enjoyed playing this game so much. I noticed a lot of things I liked right off the bat while playing.

First off, there are no random encounters, so if you manage to avoid the creatures on the map you really don't have to battle at all. Enemies appear as a little spirit or flame on the map. And they chase you around when you get in a certain proximity of them or some of them follow a set path.

Secondly, status effects go away after battle. It just a personal preference of mine, but, I always hate it in RPGs when you are constantly getting poisoned or silence and you have to constantly go to the menu and heal all the multiple status effects that are inflicted on you in battle constantly.

And finally, the battle system in this game is good. I mean really good. It is an active time battle system. You have MP skills and impulse skills unique to each character. MP skills use traditional MP like most rpgs. While Impulse skills use impulse. This is usually where you will find most of your characters stronger attacks. Impulse is gained by taking damage. Though, by the end game you will have PLENTY of different possible ways to gain impulse. From accessories, skills, stances, etc.

And while I am on the topic of skills. The battle skills in this game are surprisingly unique and really well thought out. Chisa alone has skills like Pearl Breeze that restores HP to all allies equal to her current HP. A stance called Divine Drive that cuts elemental damage in half while also boosted her agility by 50% and granting her HP and MP regeneration. Which are just 2 of around 20 or so interesting skills. There are skills that require 2 people to use effectively, or Tankify that increases a characters HP and makes them a more likely target for enemy attacks. Each move has a purpose and are all are useful.

There is also a pretty good alchemy system where you can use materials gained from treasure chests and dropped from enemies to unlock unique weapons, armor, and accessories. You can tell that the creator really took their time to balance how many rare materials you can find before the end game. You seem to get just enough where you can create some great things early on, but, you have to pick and choose. You can never get all of them until the endgame.

My absolute favorite part of this game though is how impeccably balanced it is. I played on hard. And every single boss fight in this game was done extremely well. Boss battles are varied and I found myself constantly coming up with new strategies. Also, every single battle seemed to be just the right difficulty. They were hard, but not TOO hard. I never had to grind once. All it would take is a change in strategy to win.


I drink your MILKSHAKE you creepy rat king thing-a-mabob!!!!!

Graphics and Music

Everything from the tilesets, enemies, character sprites, and portraits are all custom and very well drawn. Sure, some of the enemies can look ridiculous at times. But, that is part of the fun of the game. Plus, the more and more I played of the game. The more the enemy designs grew on me. Tilesets used for the maps were very well done. Some of the levels such as the final dungeon is absolutely creepy looking. With eyes on the walls and messages written in blood.

Overall, very good graphics and even more impressive that most of these were drawn by the developer of the game. The title screen of the game is especially impressive.

As for the music, the soundtrack is AMAZING imo. I found myself rocking out to most of the battle and dungeon themes. And Darkloft's theme is very good. Kind of creepy in a way. It is perfect for the character.


There are A LOT of skills in this game and this doesn't even include impulse skills. And most are very unique.

Pros

Great Writing
Good Humor
Memorable Characters(Chisa and Merel were my favs)
Varied Bosses
Fast Paced and Strategic Battles
Love the battle quotes
Most battle skills are unique from what most RPGs have
Multiple Difficulty Levels(Try it on hard for maximum challenge)
Love the highlighted search areas to cut down on random searching
Love that statuses go away after battle
No Random Battles
The sound effect used after finishing a battle puts a smile on my face everytime I hear it
Loved the tidal zone, love festival, and riddlemonger sections
A lot of love was put into the item names and descriptions
Alchemy system where you can make custom weapons, armors, and accessories
Great Custom Artwork
Really good soundtrack with quite a few very catchy tunes
20-25 hours of gameplay
Feels like a complete RPG experience!!

Cons

Some of the dungeons may have dragged on a little too long(Road to Hotenshin, Final Dungeon)
A few times when unable to escape from a battle the enemies would continually attack me for multiple turns without anyone else getting a turn until I was killed
It ended

Overall

Luxaren Allure is a 20-25 hour long rpg epic with fantastic combat, impeccable balance, varied bosses, great writing, memorable characters, custom graphics and a good sense of humor. Obviously, I HIGHLY recommend this game. As of right now, this is my personal favorite game I have played on RPGMaker.net. And, if nothing else in this review convinces you to give this game a shot. OMG!! It's got LESBIANS!!

Posts

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unity
You're magical to me.
12188
OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this review! :DDDDDDD I am SO HAPPY you enjoyed the game this much!!!

As for the yuri label, I've debated that with myself a lot. Yuri is often associated with exploitative or pornographic content, so I understand why it would make people hesitant to try the game. Perhaps in the future I should go with just "lesbian romance" as a label?

I definitely learned my lesson about dungeon length with this game, and in the future I won't be making them as long as the crazy-length ones in this game.

I can't thank you enough for this. This review has totally made my day. Thanks so much!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
19779
I know I have very little to do with this game, but, what makes my day is "It ended" under Cons!
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7616
A great review for a great game. Always happy to see LA get more love!
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5177
author=unity
As for the yuri label, I've debated that with myself a lot. Yuri is often associated with exploitative or pornographic content, so I understand why it would make people hesitant to try the game. Perhaps in the future I should go with just "lesbian romance" as a label?


I think it might even work well with not identifying it at all, just describing things normally and letting the viewer put two and two together; most people these days are past the "Wait... they're in love... and they're BOTH GIRLS?!?!?!" stage we grew up with. -_^

Or maybe put the yuri/lesbian keyword stuff in a summary at the bottom, so you can still get those sweet sweet search hits from LGBT game searchers and creepy pervs. :V
It's a positive trigger words for YES THEY HAVE LESBIANS. So stating it somewhere is a good idea, imho - for some people. The few who hate it and the few who love it. Stating it contains or has a focus on romance works as well, however. I don't think you really need to have it spelled out.

I would advise not to use yuri tho, because that in itself is used for a genre and thus associated with stereotyping and a lot of common plot-devices beyond the fact we are talking about lesbian romance. (same as yaoi)

author=unity
As for the yuri label, I've debated that with myself a lot. Yuri is often associated with exploitative or pornographic content, so I understand why it would make people hesitant to try the game. Perhaps in the future I should go with just "lesbian romance" as a label?

Hmm. I get your concern about that, but at the same time, I myself would never have found Luxaren Allure if you hadn't labeled it yuri.

While the term yuri does have some negative connotations associated with it, it also has a long history related to some anime/manga/visual novels as simply being a descriptor for stories involving lesbians. And so there's actually a lot of positive associations for it as well. There are a lot of groundbreaking, positive, super influential stories involving lesbians/bisxual women that are labeled "yuri". And so I don't actually think of "yuri" as an overall negative label at all.

I'd probably be able to explain better what I mean if I wasn't so tired right now. Perhaps I can simply point out how a friend of mine helped host create a "Yuri Jam" recently. http://itch.io/jam/yuri-game-jam

That jam was awesome, super positive, full of good feelings, and featured a lot of incredible, sweet, and touching games and demos. And it's just another example of why, when I myself at least hear "yuri", I don't automatically think gross exploitative crap.

And while I was looking over the games released for Yuri Jam, I found one called "Super Yuri RPG." It was basically a pre-alpha incomplete demo that showed a potentially interesting concept, but was badly unbalanced and literally only lasted a few minutes.

Well, the creators never hid the fact that it was such, that it was a big work-in-progress that they couldn't finish or polish before the Yuri Jam deadline ended, and that they only released what they did because they wanted feedback and suggestions.

Now, I suppose I should get to the point of all this. The point is that, while playing this work-in-progress demo, I remembered just how much I love RPGs, including oldschool JRPGs. I realized how much I'd love to be able to play a full, complete, polished RPG that was yuri focused. And I, on a whim, expecting nothing would result from it, googled "yuri rpg".

And so I found Luxaren Allure, an incredibly awesome game. A game that just added to my view that "yuri" is not an inherently negative term.

Though again, I never actually viewed it as a negative term. Pretty much every single person I know using yuri in a positive way. Maybe I and my friends are an oddity that way, though I don't think that's the case.
unity
You're magical to me.
12188
Thank you, these are all very good points ^_^ Yeah, I use it in a positive way too, and I labeled the game as such because yuri was my gateway into lesbian fiction and I have personal warm memories attached to it (and, given my sometimes anime-esce storytelling, seemed appropriate). I am probably worrying too much about it; I just think about it every now and then when I get comments that assume I slapped yuri on the label to get a few more downloads or to draw attention to myself, so I get self-conscious.

I think this may be an issue that goes beyond even the "yuri" label. The word "lesbian" itself unfortunately has exploitation connotations in many people's minds, and makes them automatically think of "adult" or pornographic content. (Not that there's anything wrong with enjoying that sort of thing, it just becomes problematic when trying to talk about media that isn't that).

That friend of yours deserves huge props for doing a yuri game jam as well, by the way. I've played a couple of games that came out of it, and it's always lovely to see more girl/girl appreciation. ^_^

tl;dr unity worries about labels when she should just make damn games
Professor_Q
"Life is a riddle I wish I had the answer for..."
3237
author=unity
I think this may be an issue that goes beyond even the "yuri" label. The word "lesbian" itself unfortunately has exploitation connotations in many people's minds, and makes them automatically think of "adult" or pornographic content. (Not that there's anything wrong with enjoying that sort of thing, it just becomes problematic when trying to talk about media that isn't that).


Hmm, perhaps it's because I have only a passing familiarity with this stuff (or have watched too much Rose of Versailles - ah, those were the days!), but to me yuri always had a connotation of same-sex romance rather than sheer "exploitative" or "PWP" content. In the end, your game told a love story that could resonate with any player / reader regardless of their personal prejudices or orientations (or at least, it worked that way for me), and that was an important part of its success. Kudos again! ^_^
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