[PS Vita Hand-Drawn Review] htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary

by Tracey

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is a PS Vita exclusive title. It is a 2D puzzle platformer, with interesting gameplay mechanics and clever puzzles. You play as Lumen, a little green firefly, and your task is to lead your companion – a young blonde haired girl called Mion who is suffering from amnesia – to safety.

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At the start of the game you are given very little information, other than Lumen is Mion’s “guide” for this journey. This is why as you move Lumen in your chosen direction Mion will automatically follow.

Careful - 1

As you progress you will come across another Firefly – a purple one called Umbra works only in the shadows. Umbra can only move where there are dark solid lines and shadows to follow so if there is a break in the pattern she cannot progress. This makes controlling Umbra a bit trickier than controlling Lumen, thus adding an extra layer to the puzzle nature of the game.

In The Shadows - 2

While tackling puzzles and getting Mion to safety you also have to deal with enemies in shadow form, and this is when you’ll start to use Umbra more and more. The enemies cannot be beaten by conventional methods, and they are sort of puzzles within a puzzle – if that makes any sense – and you must use the environment to defeat them.

Not far in the game you will come across memory fragments used to tell Mion’s story by way of flashbacks. These sequences are playable and show up in 16-bit style environments.

The game also has boss fights for you to sink your teeth into. They are defeated in the same manner as the regular shadowy enemies, but the difference is they are way larger and take more time to defeat, so plan accordingly!

It is a Trap - 3

On the whole as beautiful as the hand drawn art style is, and as clever as some of the puzzle designs are, as well as the interesting light vs. shadow gameplay mechanics, the gameplay, in general, is very slow, and this might scare some people away. Mion walks at an incredibly slow pace, but it was to be expected since this isn’t an action game.

Start - 4

The default controls can be changed to the analog control setup in the options menu (Control scheme C), and this is definitely better for playing the game – the sticks and buttons are more responsive and not as sensitive as the touchscreen controls.

What is happening - 5

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary has a Platinum trophy which kind of surprised me a bit, but, of course, that is a very welcome surprise! In total, there are 25 trophies: 6 Bronze, 12, Silver, 6 Gold and that shiny Platinum. A bit of a mixed bag here since some are very easy others while others will require a lot of practice and patience since they ask that you clear, specific sections of the game without mistakes and/or in a very short time.

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