The rise in popularity of the indie game has brought us a plethora of new concepts, mechanics, and art that never would have seen the light of day without this booming grassroots-style movement bubbling up from the creative depths of developers, designers, and more that forge new territory outside the confines of the games industry’s mega-studios. From the stark introspection of The Stanley Parable and Gone Home to the intense bizarreness of The Binding of Isaac and on to lesser-known titles running the gamut from artistic expressions to retro-styled arcade, the games industry is flexing itself in new and innovative ways in a constant fashion, no longer inhibited by dreams of sure success or mainstream appeal. This brings us to today’s entry, an artistic, music-centric relaxation game called Luxuria Superbia.
At its heart, Luxuria Superbia is probably closest in genre to a beat game; you’re tasked with filling the walls of a neverending tunnel with colour by ‘touching’ points along each of them as gentle music plays. Along the way, the game supplies you with a stream of … well, let’s say encouraging words, usually made to fit the theme of the level’s decorations. The plant-like green tunnel may suggest that you “touch my petals”, while the watery blue begs you “crash on my shore”. Filling the tunnel with colour increases the rate at which your score goes up, and filling it completely ends the turn, whether you’ve achieved success or not, based on three rings that fill over time, representing bronze, silver, and gold-level success, each in turn.
Okay. I’ve gotten through two full paragraphs without making this point yet, so let’s take a moment and just be honest about Luxuria Superbia. If you haven’t picked up by way of the innuendoes laced throughout my introductions: playing this game is basically the closest you’re likely to get to having (musical, flowery) sex with your computer. The encouraging words bounce between playfully suggestive and outright porn-cliché. The level design and play style are intentionally evocative; the very essence of the game is riddled with sex. I’ve seen the game described as an “orgasm simulator”, and that’s a pretty sound description, I think. Just consider this: the object of the game is to touch small buds along a tunnel, keeping it as close as possible to a play-finishing climax without pushing it beyond it until it’s ready for you to do so.
So, it’s not quite a beat game, but not really any other definable genre, either; that’s all well and good. As with all games, what labels can be ascribed aren’t really relevant – the important question is whether or not it’s fun, right? The uniqueness of Luxuria Superbia is a big draw for me, and – while I could do without some of the cheesier lines it feeds you – I enjoyed playing it if only for that. The challenge isn’t in completing a level, but in staying relaxed enough about it that you don’t do so too early. At a meager $6.99 normal price on Steam, you’re not forking over much to scoop this one up, either, so there’s a point in its favour right there. Bottom line? If you don’t mind feeling like you’ve had an illicit tryst with your hardware, Luxuria Superbia is probably worth a look, if only as an exploration of further boundaries in the world of gaming.
[+Unique experience] [+Great, soothing soundtrack] [+Easily approachable gameplay] [+Relaxing, enjoyable, and calming] [-Some pretty cheesy lines]