The creators, Dutch studio Speelbars tell me “Lumini is a relaxing flow adventure game in which you control a swarm of innocent little creatures called Lumini. After being gone for thousands of years, the balance on their home planet has shifted. With their return the Lumini find themselves in a hostile environment from which you need to keep them safe…”
Ok. I’m none the wiser, so a bit more googling tells me that The Lumini must save their home planet by learning what has happened in their absence and bring balance back to their planet. All well and good.
The game itself is pretty, and although the textures and graphics feel a little out of date, it works, and the bright colours add a lot to the visual experience. The Lumini themselves, are cute little chaps, a kind of mix between Koi Carp and birds. The developers call the group of them that you control a swarm, though I’m uneasy with that and wrestled with myself as to how I’d describe them in this review… school or flock? maybe a flool or a schlock. You’ll guide your indeterminate group noun of Lumini through some interesting tunnelscapes, starting in subterranian caves and moving through barren landscapes populated with giant dinosaur-like creatures and some fairly toxic smog, to pandoran jungles complete with broken glimpses of past civilisations. It all adds to the pleasing aesthetic of the game as a whole.
I can’t decide if the game itself falls into the too easy camp, or just the not enough to do one. Several people have called it ‘relaxing’ which I guess I can relate to, even when my Lumini were faced with perils, I didn’t feel any call to arms, or even a smidge of ‘fight or flight’, I simply flew them somewhere else… Which I think maybe is why I’m so unenthused about this game. Your Lumini have attacks, there’s just very little point in using them, as you glide from place to place, enjoying the way your Lumini swoop and soar, collecting little light particles (It’s a game, we see things, we collect, ever since that first coin in ‘Mario’.)
There was no tutorial to this game, no story set out at the beginning to give you something to get behind or to aim for, and that, in the gaming age we’re living in, really lets Lumini down. The controls largely revolve around you using the left stick… pretty much exclusively, except when you need to split your group of Lumini and you can use the right stick to halve your group. that’s it, pretty much.
I don’t want to be too down on a game that, if you’re into slow paced, simple puzzle experiences, would be fantastic. That said I struggled to find any real merit without being overly nice. I couldn’t in good conscience recommend Lumini, as nice as it is, though panning it would feel like kicking a puppy. I can see where the developers were going, and hopefully with a bit of story and some more to actually do, they might just get there.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 4/10 Format: PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Lumini by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of five days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.