htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is slightly less infuriating on PC

Still hard as f###

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary (which I am never typing ever again) is coming to PC in less than two weeks. I’ve been playing it a bit to see how the former PlayStation Vita exclusive translates to a mouse and keyboard setup.

In The Firefly Diary (much easier to type — deal with it, suckas), you guide a young girl named Mion through a maze of deathtraps and horrifying shadow monsters while trying to discover how she arrived in this hellish industrial land. You do this by controlling a pair of fireflies, Lumen and Umbra. The mouse, which is basically all you need to use to navigate the experience, drags the firefly of your choice around the levels. You have no direct control over Mion, but she follows Lumen wherever the luminous bug goes.

Lumen emits light wherever it flies, which changes the positions of the shadows surrounding Mion. Right-click lets you control Umbra, a firefly that lives in the shadows. The pair are used in light-based puzzles that become difficult rather quickly. However, the PC port does make things somewhat easier, as Lumen and Umbra were formerly controlled with the Vita’s front and rear touchpads, neither of which are exactly precise. Thankfully, using a mouse alleviates that concern.

That’s not to say that The Firefly Diary has had its sharp teeth extracted: this is still a challenging game. Even though moving around is easier in this port, hidden enemies and poorly-telegraphed instant deaths can make you want to reach into your mouth and rip out a molar. To earn all of the flashbacks that explain the story (the retro-lookin’ screenshot seen above is one of them), you’ll have to play through the levels perfectly or find all the memory fragments. And good luck with that!

When pressed to find faults with the port itself, the only issue I can recall is the cursor used to manipulate the fireflies is just the regular Windows arrow. This isn’t a deal breaker at all, but it does look jarring in such a beautiful hand-drawn game. Otherwise, everything functions fine, and you can even play with a controller should you prefer to use sticks instead of a mouse.

If you’re a virtual masochistic, you’ll probably dig lower case hto upper case L hasthtag capital N lower case i big letter Q: The Firefly Diary when it releases on March 14.

Zack Furniss