Lumo is a puzzle game riddled with throwback references developed by Rising Star Games and will be available on Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita, and PC.
When you first begin, you have no abilities and a pathetic excuse for a jump. As you explore and progress through the game, you will begin to collect more and more abilities and run into special rooms that have a mechanic that only works while you are in there. The direction in this game isn’t that great for a few reasons: I had no idea what the premise for the game was except that it was just a puzzle game so I suppose you are there just for the sake of being there. Another reason, which cost me a lot of time (there’s no timer, just caused me to backtrack for no reason and you move slow due to load screens and lot of waiting built into the game) is that there was a door I thought I could not reach because the hit detection on the spikes were really strange. It was obvious that you should be able to jump over them but after dying to it about five times, I decided there might have been a switch I overlooked that turned off the spikes. So, after lots of backtracking, I figured I would just give it a few more attempts and lo-and-behold, I finally managed to jump over the spikes as I first hypothesized.
Each time you collect an upgrade, a little prompt comes up. I was never able to find out what the button was so I had no idea what I picked up. I was playing with an Xbox controller and it looked like the old “Select” button, but I couldn’t find it but it never impeded my progress in the demo. I am curious as to what they were though, but oh well. There are floating duckies everywhere and hidden cassette tapes for you collectors so have at it. The graphics and overall presentation reminded me a lot of early N64 games, but not blocky. The jump was short and slow, the platforms were more or less the same in every room, and the color choices for the main character made him really stand out from the environment. Some rooms really throw you for a loop, and I’m assuming it’s just some reference that I didn’t get (looking at you, kitchen room).
For the most part, Lumo is relatively straightforward and most things can be figured out with some trial and error. There really aren’t any hints in the game and you also don’t have a map so it’s up to your to remember the layout or draw your own map. However, there are some things that probably wouldn’t have been discovered unless you just got extremely lucky or, as the game promotes, to think outside the box. But don’t think too far out, since that would actually work against you by making you doubt yourself unnecessarily. The main reason as to why I wasted so much time backtracking instead of just following my gut instinct is that I was told to remember after the first few rooms that not every entrance or exit is as it seems. Honestly, didn’t apply to the first level much – just follow your gut and you’ll be fine. Probably.
One of my biggest gripes is that this is a three dimensional puzzle game with you defaulted to a corner view. You are able to turn the camera at a snail’s pace to see around some obstructions, but it is so aggravatingly slow and the perspective change really doesn’t do a whole lot since you move the view about an inch to either side. I think I had to hold down the button for a solid 5 seconds only to discover there was nothing I missed. Please, for the love of god, bump the camera speed up about 200% unless there’s some core mechanic built around it later on. As I said, there’s enough mindless waiting built in already – slowly rotating fire wheels and moving platforms aren’t puzzles, they just serve as death traps and buy time. That said, if you were to speed run this game, then that is a different story but the majority of us won’t be doing that I would imagine.
I was on the fence about this game; I really wanted to like Lumo since it did look pretty good, but I just felt like I had already missed quite a few references that were presented in the demo and the overall pacing of the game wasn’t to my liking so ultimately I personally will not be getting this game. The biggest factor, and this was completely irrelevant of the game itself and more on a personal note and just principle, is that before I sat down and played, I was also told that the final room of the demo had stumped quite a number of people and they just gave up. Of course, I said I would do my best to figure it out since it is a puzzle game and it would be beneficial just to see what kind of thought process is needed since the room looked very basic. Warning: Incoming rant.
I suppose I had been playing for a while (maybe 10-15 minutes) before I had reached the last room due to the backtracking I mentioned earlier and after observing it a little, I remembered the little “hint” about the entrances and exits so I thought I would go back and check out a previous room because I saw something that I thought was a clue. But then one of the booth assistants came over and promptly told me that that was the last room and to go back in because everything I needed to solve it was in there already.
I thought alright, thanks I suppose for saving me some time so I was back to square one and had to re-assess the situation. I toyed around with a few more things that I thought were a mechanic of some sort (since I wasn’t able to read those pop-ups earlier, I thought I missed something) and after another minute or two, the guy came back and just flat out tells me how to solve the last puzzle which really soured my experience. Now, this was not the person I was talking to initially and told I wanted to solve the last puzzle so I don’t blame him entirely since I really could have taken more time than allotted. However, you simply just don’t tell someone how to solve a puzzle when they barely spent any time on it, or much less even asked for a hint up until that point. If I was past my time, just tell me. That way I would have been much more intrigued as to what the solution was. After that experience, I lost any interest I still had in the game. Rant over.
Still, if like puzzle games and platformers, you can still check out the trailer and see if it’s something you’re interested in. Might want to brush up on some old gaming knowledge and just references from the 80’s – 90’s period. All things considered, I truly believe I would have enjoyed the game more if I played it without any hints or explanations. In hindsight, my approach was absolutely not how I normally approach a puzzle game and I’m still just a little salty. Give Lumo a fair shot because it does look promising, honestly. Just some tweaks with the camera speed and waiting for platforms aspect would be nice.
See you next game! -DecoyEC has logged out.