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PSA: You Should Probably Play The Count Lucanor

A chum’s been playing dark fairytale adventure/RPG The Count Lucanor and urged me to take a look at it, worried that it wasn’t being talked about anywhere. I had to be held down forcibly in my chair while feverishly struggling to escape from the chiptune Bach soundtrack, but that aside I agree that there’s something a little bit special here.

If you fell for Undertale and have been wondering where to go next, this agreeably unpredictable meld of cute’n’sinister might just the answer.

Like I say, I very nearly ran screaming from the introduction, but thank God I stuck through it – I’m only a short way in but Lucanor has been full of surprises. From a 10-year-old protagonist who’s a total brat rather than a wide-eyed moppet, to fetch quests which dole out of punishments rather than rewards and a genuinely spooky out-of-nowhere nightmare sequence, Lucanor has resolutely refused to be what I expected it to be.

Even in tone and pacing, it’s a mix of European and Japanese RPG sensibilities that’s hard to pin down – and like the best fairy tales, it feels familiar yet disconcertingly unfamiliar all at the same time. There’s a strong streak of almost nightmarish menace to it, gleefully at odds with the overtly cute, faux-retro appearance.

The dev claims both Zelda and Silent Hill are influences, and I can very much see why, but again it feels definably Western in some respects. It’s a fascinating, unusual mix of styles with some genuinely sinister moments. Its world seems to be impressively large and elaborate so far, too.

I haven’t finished it, I should note. It might go horribly wrong yet. But instinct so far is that, yes, more people should be playing The Count Lucanor – especially in these post-Undertale times. No bullet hell minigames though, fear not.

I’ll aim to return to this with a full review as soon as I can. If you want to take a punt in the meantime it’s £6.99 / $9.99 here.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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