“As a contemporary take on the long-lost isometric platform genre, Lumo can be enjoyed by anyone looking for an absorbing, challenging and rewarding adventure. But for those who lived through the golden age of videogames – the 80s and early 90s – or know about the games and culture from that time, layer upon layer of nods, winks and touches to those times help build upon an experience that’s as heart-warming as it is exciting!
With over 400 rooms across four unique zones, six hidden mini-games and all kinds of secrets to uncover, Lumo is a true voyage of discovery. How much you discover just depends on how hard you look…”
– The Lumo Steam page (http://store.steampowered.com/app/345480/)
– It’s a tribute to classic gaming –
Do you remember those classic isometric adventure games like Head Over Heels, Knight Lore or Pentagram? Heck, even Batman got his own isometric adventure long before his days in Arkham Asylum. Whether you’ve played an isometric adventure or not, it’s easy to appreciate their place in gaming history – it’s clear that developers Triple Eh? do, considering that Lumo is a nostalgic homage to those classic adventures.
Lumo casts you in the role of a wizard exploring a dungeon that comprises of over 400 rooms full of puzzles, platforming and deadly hazards. Taking place from a locked isometric view point (though you can tilt the camera ever so slightly), you must help your wizard uncover a series of modern trinkets including the likes of a Flux Capacitor (Lumo doesn’t only pay tribute to classic video games…) or even an SD Card. It might sound like an unusual premise, but everything will make sense when you actually play the game.
Whilst Lumo is clearly inspired by classic isometric adventures, it also features plenty of nods to other video games as well as pop-culture from the 80s. Classic TV shows, 80s music and nostalgic video games – they all make an appearance and finding these Easter eggs is almost as enjoyable as playing the game itself. There are even nods to modern video games with a subtle reference to Crackdown’s ability orbs, though that may be owed to the fact that Lumo’s creator Gareth Noyce actually worked on the Crackdown series.
– The simple yet clever puzzles and platforming –
Whilst Lumo’s puzzles start off simple with tasks such as moving boxes or simply jumping between platforms, the further you progress through the game the more clever and intricate they become. It’s never anything too complex – the solution is always right in front of you. It’s simply a case of working out what exactly you need to do, though you’ll always feel the satisfaction of solving a puzzle that had momentarily stumped you.
One instance that had me struggling early on involved climbing a tower of boxes to reach an item. The highest box was unreachable with my own jumping abilities and I couldn’t for the life of me work out what to do. After fussing about trying to work it out, it suddenly became clear to me that one of the boxes in the tower was movable, though actually accessing the movable box required me to lure a lustful living crate towards me. It’s bizarre, but utterly brilliant at the same time. It was such a simple solution, yet the puzzle had me stumped for more than a few minutes. Of course, puzzles become a lot more perplexing than a simple tower of boxes the further you progress through the game, but this one instance of not being able to solve something incredibly obvious stuck with me.
Whilst a lot of the game’s puzzles require you to think outside of the box, there are also plenty of instances where you’ll just require the use of some slick platforming skills. You’ll have to jump between falling platforms, navigate slippery surfaces, avoid hazardous lasers, navigate perilous liquids atop a ball that moves in reverse – there’s plenty to keep you entertained during your playthrough of Lumo.
– Plenty of collectibles to seek out –
Lumo features plenty of collectibles that will have you exploring every nook and cranny of each room. Some collectibles are obvious, such as the many rubber ducks that are littered around. They’re typically perilous to reach, but it’ll only take a few cleverly timed jumps to collect them.
There’s also other neat collectibles to find including the classic game cassettes that used to home the video games of yesteryear. These are a little more difficult to find, often tasking you with finding hidden doorways in order to uncover them. You’re never told how many are out there to find either – a completionist’s worst nightmare.
No matter what it is you’re looking for, the hunt is always enjoyable. Lumo is full to the brim with secrets and Easter eggs, so even if you don’t find what you’re actually looking for it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t uncover something else instead…
– The limited view can be cumbersome –
Whilst the isometric viewpoint is one of the game’s main hooks, it can also be the cause of one of its annoyances. Lumo features plenty of platforming sections and given the multi-tiered design of some rooms you can’t always see where exactly you’re jumping to. Whilst this design choice is also used to mask hidden secrets, it can be pretty frustrating when it’s causing you to keep missing simple jumps. It’s not helped by the fact that the controls can be a little awkward too, though you are given the choice of three different control types at the start of the game. When both of these problems occur in some of the game’s more difficult areas though it can prove to be a real pain in the neck.
Whilst there are plenty of releases these days that try to provide similar gameplay experiences to those we enjoyed from the earlier years of gaming, Lumo goes a little further back and modernises the classic isometric adventure game. It does a great job of it too – it’s one of the most charming puzzlers I’ve played this year. Whilst the isometric viewpoint can cause a few frustrations during certain moments in the game, Lumo provides an enjoyable modern iteration of a long forgotten genre.
Developer: Triple Eh? (www.triple-eh.net)
Publisher: Rising Star Games (www.risingstargames.com)
Release Date: 24/05/2016 (Playstation 4, PC, Mac) June 2016 (Xbox One, Playstation Vita)
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), PC, Mac, Xbox One, Playstation Vita