I apologize: despite saying that I won't write more blogs for now, I felt the need to let out my opinion on L.F.O. -Lost Future Omega- (mebius., 2017 or 2018) on Switch. Maybe on Steam as well, but it possibly never got past Greenlight.
A fair warning: I've played the game for only two hours. When a game doesn't explain itself and what is explained outside the game is subject to poor grammar, how long must one play the game to be able to give a verdict? Still, I have no reason to expect my opinion of the game to change if I played it for another five. Or ten.
The eShop description sounded interesting enough: "Music x Light x Shooting = Happy!", with features like "Sync Sound, Sync Future". However, I can't find it on the European eShop or on Steam right now. Maybe it has been pulled for one reason or the other?
Regardless, it sounded and looked like an on-rail shooter and I like them. The store page also mentioned music synchronization, so I got even more interested in it: on-rails shooter and rhythm game elements, I'm doubly in.
In any case, the game is a massive letdown. I'm really hoping I'm just missing something, but I can't know that.
Let's start with the positives.
The game is an on-rail shooter. The aural focus is on the electronic music soundtrack and there's a fair bit of it. The visual style is also pretty nifty, although repetitive, since the background really is just the background; the player cannot crash into those obstacles.
Let's continue with the issues then. One, there is only a very short tutorial at the start of each game: Move with the left thumbstick, press B to shoot the machine gun, A to launch homing lasers, strafe to hit multiple enemies with the forward-facing machine gun and the bosses can be hurt only with the machine gun. Enemy bullets are green.
So there. And the enemy bullets even aren't particularly green.
Not a word about synchronizing anything. And I'm not about to put much faith in the promo blurbs of the game, as reading them shouldn't be necessary to play the game.
I've now finished the normal mode (five branching levels) and unlocked the last mode, which is only a 15-level-long sequence (if we go by its name).
My current best guess at what the synchronizing means is that the game times the sound effects to the background music so that they don't sound out of place. But I did learn that the game doesn't even keep track of high scores. Wat?
Each level has (probably randomly placed) cubes flying forwards. The controller rumbles whenever the player's ship flies over a beat marker and the targeting reticule also shows a timer for these, but I haven't learned if those markers have any gameplay function. All cubes are identical and shoot the same green bullets. After a while, the boss appears.
The boss is also a cube, with some smaller rings of opaque cubes around it. So we've established that the enemy design is very limited in this game. If the boss is defeated, the player can choose between stages A and B for the next level, so there's some branching options here.
On normal difficulty mode, every bullet that hits the player's ship is an instant game over. There are no extra lives. There are no continues.
Sound bad? Here's a screenshot of the game in a boss fight -- or would be, but the adding that makes Dtoid think I'm a bot, so no can do. I can't even link to it. Weird, huh. But here's a trailer for what might be the official Switch trailer, even though its video quality is pretty darn bad.
That's a mighty big boss right there, isn't it? It'd be a pain if the small cubes could just shoot right through the boss. Which they do, and it really is a pain to have to squint eyes to see if there's a bullet coming through. And since only the forward-shooting machine gun will damage the boss, I am really not liking the setup.
Beside that, the machine gun bullets are small. The regular enemy cubes are small. So the chance of the machine gun bullets hitting an enemy that isn't the boss is doubly small, rendering the weapon near useless.
The homing laser is used for everything else but the boss. The number of lasers targeted at the enemies is shown around the large targeting reticule, and if it's completely filled when firing the lasers, the lasers are multicoloured. I think that also means bonus points, as opposed to shooting reduced banks of lasers.
The problem is that there's nothing to care about. The rhythm aspect feels like it has been squandered. The enemies are very unimaginative. If there is anything else to the game, I haven't found any help in English, not in the game or on the web. Support information lists just a contact e-mail.
This is why I don't think I even can know what I'm missing in the game. I don't speak Japanese, so the annotations on the video that was on the Greenlight page help nothing at all. Huh. A game that didn't get on Steam via Greenlight but got on Switch eShop?
The best I can say about L.F.O -Lost Future Omega- is that it hasn't crashed. So if this comes available on the eShop again later on, wait for proper reviews/instructions or spend your 6.49€ on something else. Or even check what looks like a PC demo.