Following the original Vita release of HTOL#NIQ: The Firefly Diary back in February 2015, the States finally received the long awaited PC port. For those who are interested in the PlayStation Vita review, please click here.
As the player starts a new game a young girl awakes from her slumber. Her name is Mion and she is greeted by a green firefly named Lumen. Lumen’s job is to lead Mion out of the wreckage and back to the surface. Shortly after the journey starts they find a mysterious glowing plant. If Mion touches the plant she recovers a lost memory. The duo continues on to find a way out and find the remaining Memory fragments.
The game has one of the most interesting stories that continues to unfold as you play through the rest of the game. But be warned, the game starts off quite cheerful, only to take a darker and gloomier turn as the game continues.
At first glance Firefly Diary appears to be a simple, peaceful game. Mion has a simple white dress, wearing twigs as antlers, and always showing an innocent expression. Mion is accompanied by two adorable fireflies: Lumen and Umbra. Lumen is a green firefly that gives off a bright light and actively guides Mion to the surface while Umbra lives in Lumens shadow and moves around in the shadows and helps Mion reach difficult points in the game seamlessly.
The core gameplay focuses on going through various obstacles using both Lumen and Umbra. With the Vita players utilized the touch controls to travel through the various obstacles. The controls for the PC are set to The mouse or an external controller. Each of them has the advantages and disadvantages. Players looking for a precise movement the mouse is the better option.
There are multiple times in the game where players will have to traverse close quarters where any wrong movement will have the player restart the challenge. Having players use the mouse click where they want Lumen or Umbra allows easier time controlling them. The big disadvantage to this is that the player can not control their speed forcing the player to react quickly if they get into a sticky situation.
Players that prefer being able to control how fast Umbra and Lumen go the External controller is a better option. Just as there many obstacles that require precise moment Firefly Diary keeps the pace and intensity up by switching it up and having a player to move quickly to do a challenge correctly. With the players using the left stick to allow the fireflies to move, they are able to control how fast the fireflies go by how much the push on the left stick. Be warned that there have been multiple times where pushing the left stick to much overshot where they needed to go and to start the challenge over again.
Both control schemes work for every obstacle however, it is easier to manipulate a glitch that allows Umbra to move outside the shadows. Umbra is a firefly who can only move in the shadows. While the player controls Umbra and if the firefly moves fast enough Umbra can jump from shadow to shadow. This allows the player to reach difficult places with ease allows some of the challenges to be much easier than they were designed.
The strongest point of The Firefly Diary is utilizing the interesting curve. The game uses a dramatic tension to build up to the difficult parts of the level. As the levels progress, enemies and obstacles will increase in difficulty, with any wrong step leading to a horrific death scene. With this increase in difficulty, there is an autosave function that allows any player to move through a level without having to start from the beginning upon death.
The soundtrack for The Firefly Diary has simple melodies varying from peaceful tunes to ominous beats. While none of the songs are that catchy, they do an excellent job of building the atmosphere surrounding the game.
While most other games use epic soundtracks for big climaxes throughout the game, The Firefly Diary drops these soundtracks and replaces them with silence. During these tense moments, the player is able to hear the beating sounds of an alarm or the wind blowing past Mion with dramatic effect.
htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is one of those hidden gems that doesn’t get the attention it so deserves. Its port to the PC was mostly true to the original, aside from the issue with Umbra.
HEY!HEY!!LISTEN!!! gives htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary for the PC 7 memory fragments out of 10