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htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary – PS Vita Review

 

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Dairy is an Indie game from the much beloved company, NIS America. NIS America is known for making critically titles such as Criminal Girl: Invite Only, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and the Disgaea series.

NIS America is a subsidiary of the Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. of Japan, which is based in North America in the California area. The company has produced great titles that cater the Indie fanatic, like myself, and many others out there in the gaming world.

I knew NIS America for their great content of games such as Danganronpa and their new title, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum, which has just released for the PS3 on Mar. 9th. The company usually creates games that are RPG based, but this time, they created a game that is made specifically for the PS Vita.

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is one of the newest releases from NIS America, and it is a title created for the unique use of the PS Vita. I’ve played many games on the PS Vita, but never came across a game like this before. htoL#NiQ is a very strategic puzzler game that requires the player to only use the front facing touch pad, as well as, the rear touch pad. No other buttons are required for experiencing this title, and because of that, it is a very unique and somewhat difficult game to complete.

 

The story of htoL#NiQ, is pretty dark, sad, and depressing if you ask me. As Mion is guided by two spirits, you come across neon pink colored plant-like icon in the game that shows the player a glimpse of Mion’s past. At first, there very pleasant and wholesome in a family style kind of way. But, as you collect more, a devastating event has taken place which reveals Mion’s reason for existing in the world she’s in with Lumen and Umen (the two spirits).

The characters in htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diaries has a cute little girl named Mion. She is described as a short long blonde-haired girl with horns coming out of her head made out of branches. She is accompanied by two spirits in the game called, Lumen and Umen.

Lumen is a Light source spirit that guides Mion through the many levels and stages in what appears to be a world full of shadow deadly creatures and obstacle for Mion and the two spirits to adventure through. Lumen is activated by touching the front screen in the direction you would like the spirit to go.

Umen is a spirit that can move through the shadows of objects and figures as you play. Umen is activated by tapping the rear touch pad once, which brings the shadow s of the level and the objects in view, so Umen can move with your finger.

Here’s the tricky part, Lumen can technically move wherever it please as long as you take in account the Mion where move in the same direction. Lumen can also interact with certain objects in order to advance through the many levels the game has to offer.

Umen can only travel through the darkness of objects so he is limited as to where he can be directed, Umen can also interact with certain objects in order for Mion to advance. So, in order to make your through certain levels, you need to utilize both Lumen and Umen to work together as Mion is guided through the game.

The difficulty of the levels are somewhat challenging for a few simple reasons. First, is that you need to execute certain objectives in a timely manner that will allow you to advance in the game. Secondly, you need to be able to move accordingly in particular levels that require Lumen to maneuver through mazes and Umen through obstacles in order to advance.

Thirdly, if you have big fingers, like myself, its probably better to use a stylus pen to guide and navigate Mion through the stages. Otherwise, your finger will be covering up a good majority of the screen which will be problematic for completing the levels. Just saying.

The bosses you would have to face in htoL#NiQ are somewhat entertaining and challenging. I do have to admit, it did take me a while to figure out how to defeat certain bosses here and there. But once I did, I felt more stupid than I ever have. The difficulty rating of the game isn’t really that high.

The most difficult part about it is trying to see what’s in front of you with your finger on the screen guiding Mion. Other than that, it was quite easy to complete.

The art illustration in htoL#NiQ is very nice unique. It had a great layout for a side-scroller and since the theme was dark and mysterious, it had nice shadowing in it as well.

The visuals and settings were also believable in the sense you’re in a world that is basically a dream state of Mion’s afterlife. After you been to see the big picture of the world she’s in and the flashbacks of her past, you realize she’s already dead. And that’s the sad park.

Basically, the player is helping Mion discover her missing memories of her death, with her parents being apart of it. When you come to the end of the game and see how she dies, it all makes sense. However, the way she died is somewhat unbelievable and stupid if you ask me.

Overall, I did enjoy the game very much, but felt the ending was lacking real closer. The mechanics in htoL#NiQ was very nice with minimal glitches here and there. Sound was awesome, but often had me wanting to fall asleep at certain points.

 

I will also admit, there were several cases of me dying so much playing this game, that I had to take a few breaks here and there. In all, it probably took me 3-4 hours to complete the game, including all the deaths I was experiencing.

Score for htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary

Likes:

Story

Art

Sound

Use of both front and rear touch pads

Dislikes:

Button use (or lack thereof)

Excessive amounts of dying

Ending to the story

How short it actually was

Overall Score:

6/10

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