Lunar Knights

Think of a game that features a pair of vampire hunters, each with their own abilities, who can be switched in and out of the game. Got the game in your mind? I'll bet you half a haggis that you're thinking of a game other than Lunar Knights. If that name is causing you to draw a blank, then how about Boktai? You know, that game that forces you to go to that really big room outside where the it's really bright and there's something called the sun hanging on the ceiling? Still drawing a blank? It's okay, even though Lunar Knights takes place in the same Boktai world, it's not really a sequel.

So just what is Lunar Knights? It's an isometric (almost top-down but not quite) action game about fighting vampires. Sound boring? Okay, you fight vampires...in space! Players control either Aaron or Lucian depending on what time of day it is and how the weather is like. The changing in-game weather affects each character and environment differently. For example, rain can cause certain platforms to rise and provide access to otherwise impossible to reach places.

Much like previous Boktai games, sunlight plays a crucial role in this game. Fortunately, there's no need to go out and stand in the sun in order to charge something with solar energy. Out of our two heroes, Aaron benefits from sunlight, which he can use in a ranged weapon to shoot enemies and Lucian benefits from moonlight, which with the help of his Terrenial (more on them later) can turn himself into a vampire to suck life out of his enemies. Each character has its benefits and drawbacks depending on whether it's night or day in the game and what the weather is like. Can't seem to get past that one hall of enemies? Wait till it's daylight and use Aaron's long range weapon to deal damage from a safer spot.

In addition to our two vampire hunters, there are also terrenials, which are pets that accompany the player's character. Terrenials add elemental attributes to attacks, so having a fire element terrenial while attacking an ice-element enemy is more advantageous than an ice element terrenial. Terrenials can also be used for their Trance power, which is a gauge which can be filled by regular attacks. Once the gauge is full, characters can use a Trance power (abbreviated as TRC in-game) to do things like turn into vampires.

What does all this have to do with vampires in space? Well, it's easy. Vampires, called Immortals in the game, have blocked out the sun because you know, vampires don't like sunlight. In order to defeat boss vampires and purify them, players must drag these vampires out into space where there's sunlight. This portion of the game is played much like a space combat game, which can be a nice break from the main gameplay.

Being a DS game, it shouldn't be a surprise that there are a couple of gimmicky uses of the touchscreen and mic thrown in. Luckily, the use of these alternative inputs actually look useful in this case. To cause an earthquake, use the stylus to shake the bottom screen up and down. To glide across ledges with a glider, simply blow into the mic. Want to get the attention of a nearby enemy? Whistle!

While Lunar Knights looks similar to previous Boktai games in the graphics department, the use of the DS's mic and touchscreen is what sets it apart. Even though publishers refrained from tagging this game as a Boktai sequel, it has enough similarities to its GBA brethren to please fans of the series. For people who have never played the Boktai games, just think of Lunar Knights as a new franchise.