I recently discovered Jae Hyun Yoo’s BestLuck due to it being featured on itch.io and was almost immediately been impressed with the game’s art style. There’s a short demo that is currently available on itch.io, but I opted to email Yoo about the longer version of the demo that is available upon request. That is the version that this column is about.
The premise behind BestLuck is that, every night, you see a girl in your dreams. She’s always pointing somewhere, urging you to go there, but you never do. It starts out in a dingy room, where you can interact with a TV, an online dating app of some sort, and go to sleep. Should you decide to go to sleep, the dream will begin anew and you will have the option of following this girl.
I don’t want to write too much about the game’s story, as it is not yet complete and thus, I am not entirely sure where it is headed quite yet, but I will say that it feels rather masterfully crafted. You begin each section of the game exploring a snowy, wooded area, interacting with mementos that are related to an upcoming story scene. You then solve a puzzle that involves a number of doors, all of which require you to open said doors in the proper order, but each have their own unique twist. After solving the puzzle, you get to open one final door, revealing an image that tells part of the story.
The really impressive part about the demo is that the itch.io page states that it’s not even an Alpha yet, but it feels like a coherent, nearly-complete game. It utilizes a number of special effects that are very well done, as well as some rather great ambient music. The images that tell the story are beautifully hand drawn in a style reminiscent of certain Disney animations. If it wasn’t for the fact that the story is incomplete, you simply would not be able to tell that the game is said to be in that early of a state. It may be unfinished, but it is very polished.
My only real criticism at this time is that I don’t feel that there is quite enough puzzle variety. It’s not just that the game’s puzzles are largely based on opening doors; it’s that the game’s puzzles are based on opening doors in a specific order and that many of the twists revolve around discovering which door to open next. There are only two cases that I am aware of in which this is not true, one of which was but one part of a larger puzzle, and they were a welcome change from the previous puzzles. That’s not to say that the current puzzles don’t feel rewarding, but they can feel just a bit tedious once you’ve discovered their secrets, leaving you with naught but the process of actually opening the doors. The final puzzle in the demo remedies this slightly by introducing a subtle timer of sorts, but the puzzles prior to that one have no such mechanics.
All of that being said, I’m fairly certain that the game’s focus is more on its well-crafted story than it is its puzzles, meaning that the somewhat limited nature of the puzzles may not be a detriment to it. After all, they each do have their own distinct twists and that may be enough for some.
BestLuck may one day be one of my favorite story-focused interactive experiences. The game world is absolutely beautiful, mixing low-poly characters with a more detailed environment and some well-done special effects. It has just enough gameplay to keep you engaged at all times while subtly telling what seems to slowly be becoming a rather emotional story—and it does so without using many words.I highly recommend that you try the demo and perhaps email Yoo about obtaining the longer version of the demo.
You can find the BestLuck demo and Yoo’s email address on the itch.io store page.