Apogee’s rebranding has been something of a return to form for the decades-old publisher. Its roots are in fast-paced games and it continues to work with developers who create fast-paced games. Turbo Overkill, a game that looks at Doom Eternal and says “that’s too slow” proves it. The company’s lineup of games at PAX East 2022 is very much along the same lines, except for one that it decided to keep under wraps. That game is Lucid, a platformer developed by one man, Eric Manahan, and it’s a far cry from the other games Apogee is showing off.
Instead of a shooter game accompanied by upbeat music meant to send players into some kind of bloody rage, Lucid opts for a calmer approach. She draws the same chilling vibes from Celeste, as well as the movement from that game, all while she throws players into the middle of a Metroidvania-like map.
However, to be clear, I was unable to play Lucid. The game, which Eric has been developing for only a year and a half, wasn’t exactly safe for consumers to play. “So Apogee asked me to come to PAX East at the last minute. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready because I almost wrecked the game, I was fixing some stuff, so I didn’t think about anything. Then I got here and at noon, someone asked me, ‘hey, do you have a build?’ and I had to make one. I scrambled, put one together, tied up some quarters so I could show it off.”
I could clearly see that Lucid’s gameplay had a lot of DNA borrowed from Celeste. The rooms that Eric set up late that night were extremely movement based. By jumping and going through a wall, the little character that Eric was controlling got a jump backwards. That wall slam was chained to another slam via a gem, and a downward slam that gave the character a bounce up. By the end of his short demo, Eric was guiding that character through the levels in seconds, smashing through walls and gems in every direction.
But Lucid’s core gameplay loop isn’t all about movement. According to Eric, the game will have five different biomes when it finally launches, and each will have its own legacy dungeon and boss fight. And like any boss fight at the end of a dungeon, players get a new tool as a reward. These tools are situational and will give players new ways to fight enemies and move around.
Despite its emphasis on fast movement that is related to combat, Lucid is still a break from the other game under the Apogee umbrella that I saw, Turbo Overkill. In that game you are a 100% tough guy with guns and a chainsaw for a leg. Carnage and death ensue. Lucid is much more understated, on the opposite side of the spectrum from everything else Apogee was showing off. It was a tonal whiplash for me, going straight from a Turbo Overkill session to seeing Lucid and his laid-back art style, which Eric described as “somber, brooding ’90s pixel art.”
However, according to Eric, the game still has a long way to go. It may have been at Apogee’s, but he told me there’s no finalized deal. “The deal is in the works. We’re talking, trying to work it out. Hopefully we can come to an agreement, I’d love to join the family. Nothing signed, but, you know, fingers crossed.”
Similarly, there is still a lot of work to be done on Lucid. “There is a lot of art to do, I have some musicians to help me, I have a lot of history to write, there is a lot of work to do, but I am willing to do it.”
More than anything, though, Eric is excited about developing the world of Lucid. He has been teasing the game via his Instagram page for some time, to which he says people have responded well.
Eric currently plans for Lucid to have a demo in August or September.