• Editor’s Note: This review was updated on May 17, 2016 to reflect our thoughts on the PC version.

    NIS has taken some very interesting game concepts as of recently, with experimentation being the big focus. A lot of this experimentation would be NISA’s push for their content to make it to Steam, which might be a direct result of them suddenly losing the ability to publish Atlus USA’s titles in Europe and needing a way to recoup that lost revenue stream. And thankfully NISA took their time with htoL #niQ: The Firefly Diary, as the delays make it a much better port than their first attempt with Disgaea.

    The game is set up in apparently long since desolate laboratory. A young girl named Mion wakes up and finds herself in this place, which also is swamped with strange and malicious shadow creatures. To guide her, a firefly and friendly shadow spirit can lead her in any direction or interact with objects that Mion can’t reach. There are plenty of hazard’s and you will die plenty of time before you learn the solution or get the timing down right. Mion’s a little slow in both movement and reaction time, so just knowing how to do something isn’t enough. It’s also about knowing when to do something. The game really plays like an old-school point and click, as you manipulate things using the front and rear touchpads. As the PS TV can also be used to play this game, controls are emulated using the analog sticks and L2/L3 and R2/R3 buttons. Regardless of which method you use to play the game, the default control scheme is awkward to use. Thankfully you can use control scheme type C to play with the left analog stick, triangle, and cross button. This is a significantly better control scheme.

    The PC version does benefit greatly for a mouse and keyboard setup, as if it were the most natural control scheme for this game. Pointing and clicking is so much easier to get Mion to do what you want, although the Memory fragment segments are a bit trickier. But those segments are so small it’s not really an issue. The graphics also look great on a monitor as well. One does have to wonder why this version of the game wasn’t released alongside the Vita version in 2014.

    The music is ambient, but it gets chilling when it needs to. Boss fights are miniature puzzles that have you struggling to stay alive. It’s a fun little experience that’s similar to LIMBO in a lot of ways. The only real issues are the ones I mentioned above, like the slow reaction time and movement time of Mion, as is the hit detection for interacting with objects can sometimes be clunky, especially if two objects are close by each other. The other issue is that the inherent difficulty could be a deterrent to player’s enjoyment. The difficulty itself feels somewhat artificial as a result of mion’s slow movement and the interface options. The default control scheme is also difficult to use, and many players might overlook the fact that you can change it to type C for easier controls as there’s no indication that you can swap them out.

    There’s a true ending to unlock by collecting various memories across the four base chapters and the individual levels within them. So there’s some decent replayability for players to enjoy. It’s a fun enough game, but control type C really should have been the default scheme. The developer should have made mion’s movements and interactions less likely to get you killed without having to go through so much trial and error. But as for puzzle fans, there’s a lot to like here, just brace yourself for some deaths.

    htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary - Review
    A fun and short, but challenging point and click puzzle game.
    Our Score8
    • While the story is told only through visuals, the deeper story is hidden through extra collectibles, encouraging replays.
    • The atmosphere is great and the game is very reminiscent of LIMBO.
    • The challenge factor will try your patience.
    8Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (0 Votes)