Reviewing games means I get to try out all kinds of weird and wonderful titles that I otherwise probably would never have played. Lumini is one such game and I’m pleased to say it belongs in the wonderful category.
The game is created by Netherlands-based developer, Speelbaars with Rising Star Games handling publishing. Lumini really is unlike any game that I’ve played before but it probably fits best into the adventure genre. It’s described by Speelbaars as a relaxing flow adventure game.
In the game you take control of a swarm of little flying creatures called lumini. They have been gone from their home planet for thousands of years and return to find it has become a hostile environment. Your job is to guide the lumini in search of energy that can be used to heal their planet.
You start off with a single purple lumini and must collect energy. You can then deposit the energy into crystals which helps heal the planet. Deposited energy also summons more lumini to join those that you already have. Eventually you will have a whole swarm of creatures at your command.
The game can be played with a keyboard but to get the best experience a gamepad is strongly recommended. The left stick controls your lumini swarm and allows you to move them through the air, collecting resources and avoiding dangers.
The world is a dangerous place and it’s a case of safety in numbers for the lumini. While directing them you need to keep them away from red pointy spikes and all manner of creatures and plants.
To help keep the swarm safe the lumini evolve into three different colours – blue, red and yellow. Choosing one of the colours moves all lumini of that colour to the front of the swarm. Each colour also has their own ability and abilities can be upgraded.
Blue lumini can surge forward at speed allowing the swarm to quickly dodge danger. Red lumini are capable of unleashing an attack that can disable or kill hostile plants and creatures. Finally yellow lumini can attract energy from a safe distance.
Switching between the different colours can be essential to the survival of the swarm. Preferring a more aggressive playstyle I found that the red lumini were the most useful for me. It’s possible to play the game as a complete pacifist too by guiding the lumini away from danger.
The right stick can be used to divide your swarm into two separate groups. Once separated these can be controlled independently with left stick for the first swarm and right stick for the second. Moving both groups close together allows them to merge back into a single large group.
Dividing the group becomes necessary to solve a series of ancient puzzles that get in your way. Normally this means pressing buttons or rotating wheels to open doors. The puzzles are easy to solve and many are also optional.
Your journey across the planet takes you to many different locations such as caves, deserts, forests and even a night time storm. The design of these environments is superb and they look absolutely gorgeous. Essentially a 2D game the environments are rendered in 3D and extend off into the distance giving a proper sense of scale.
Most impressive is that the developers have found a way to make it a completely seamless journey. As you move between the different environments there are no load times. This helps keep the flow of the game moving.
There are no walls of text, fancy cutscenes or narration to explain the story. Instead the game lets you understand it as you go and this is handled incredibly well. There are many times I would just pause and look at the environment to ponder how it ended up the way it is.
It’s impossible to talk about Lumini without mentioning the stunning soundtrack. The game is best played with some decent headphones and the audio completes the experience. It adapts to how you play and is packed full of emotion.
The noises made by the lumini also let you understand with how they feel such as excited or scared. When danger looms you can sense it through the audio before you can see it on screen. It leaves you feeling panicked with a sense of dread.
[raw][gss ids=”148994,149002,149001,149000,148999,148998,148997,148996,148995,148993,148992,148991,148990,148989,148988,148987″ carousel=”fx=carousel”][/raw]
I found myself surprisingly protective of my lumini swarm and it’s terrible when you lose one. No matter if it’s down to your own fault by not taking care or to one of the aggressive creatures. The swarm reacts when they lose one of their own and you can feel their sadness and each loss hurts.
The game will take most players a couple of hours to beat first time around. Doing so then unlocks a hard difficulty mode that really ups the challenge of the game. Although a mostly linear journey it’s well worth coming back to. There are plenty of secret areas to discover and some really tough Steam achievements to aim for too.
Lumini is a beautiful, relaxing and captivating experience. Controlling your swarm is mesmerising and it makes it so easy to just forget about the real world for a while. Even if you think it’s not for you I urge you to grab a gamepad and spend some time with Lumini.