Take one look at Luna and you’ll believe in love at first sight. Funomena’s VR storybook is a joy to behold, from the textured detail of its vegetation to the modest animation that moves its cast of critters. There’s assured vision in this delightful palette, enough to warrant running through the short story all on its own.
And there’s more where that comes from. Luna is an audible treat too, with its tale of one bird on a sort of existential rescue mission fuelled by interactive song and sound. Lines formed between stars in the experience’s constellation-based puzzles can be plucked like strings, for example, and placing wildlife in diorama-sized scenes emits other pleasant sound bites. Everything is, for lack of a better term, bloody lovely.
Perhaps its best element, though, is its creative mechanics. At certain points in the story you restore life to scenes by populating them with trees and plants. There’s a welcome touch of agency here, though it’s a shame it can’t be preserved in any way. Once you move on from these moments, they’re lost forever.
It’s difficult, though, to scratch below that shiny surface. Luna’s sheer enthusiasm can start to feel superficial the further you get into its hour-long runtime. It quickly adopts a formula that starves the narrative of surprises and slows the pace. I found myself wanting to push on to get through its episodic structure rather than stay and soak in the sumptuous worlds Funomena had crafted.
Perhaps that’s the nature of storybooks in general, though. Perhaps that narrative punch was never the goal. It’s a shame, though, to see Funomena exceed so highly on a presentational level and then be brought back down by more trivial aspects. It wasn’t until the piece’s gorgeously-animated credits sequence that I began to grasp the inner meaning of its events.
Luna very much is that early type of VR story, then. It’s the specific kind that leans heavily on charm and wonder to sift you through its breezy narrative. It’s never anything less than exquisitely beautiful, which goes some way to redeeming the lacking pacing. It’s worth bathing in its glorious rays while it lasts, but there’s better gold to mine from VR storytelling.
Final Say: Worth Watching
Luna is available now on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and will be arriving on PSVR soon. For more information on how we review experiences and games, check out our Review Guidelines.