Developer: Triple Eh?
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Released For: PC (Windows, MAC OS X, Linux) Playstation 4 , Playstation Vita
Reviewing: PC (Windows) Version
DRM and DRM Free Versions Available
Released On: May 24, 2016
Review Copy Received By Developer / Publisher
Welcome, to the world of Lumo! Lumo is an isometric platformer based heavily on ‘Solstice’ for the NES. You’ll play as a really odd individual who’s sucked into a video game. From there, you’ll have to platform your way through over 400 different rooms, solve challenging puzzles, complete mini games, all along your quest to find all the missing rubber ducks!
Gameplay wise, it actually plays far more like early pre-analog stick Sony PlayStation 3D platformers. More specifically, it reminds us of Croc Legend Of The Gobbos and Spyro The Dragon. You’ll start off with nothing more than the ability to move, and you’ll eventually gain more powers and more abilities on your way just like the games mentioned. You’ll also eventually come across the equivalency of hub worlds, which allow you to play different sections of the game in any order you chose. Rather than being hub worlds specifically however, it’s more like a room with multiple doors that all follow a cohesive theme. For example at the end of the game, you’ll need to unlock the final piece the game wants you to find in order to win. In that section, you’re given a choice of 4 different doors. Once each puzzle through the door has been completed, the door will lock.
There’s over 400 isometric-styled rooms to explore, most of which contain a puzzle of some sort. These puzzles can range from a Pac-Man style game where you have to catch ghosts, to balancing on a ball while avoiding falling into the water. The puzzles mostly have a nice rampart in terms of difficulty. Some seem to ramp up as you play too quickly, but they scale fairly well from our time with the game. Every now and again you’ll come across either a rubber ducky or a cassette tape. These are the ‘secrets’ or collectibles for the game. Similar to Spyro, you’ll find a few different types of collectibles that are marked in your pause menu. You’ll also come across different pieces of a map that may help you traverse a level. These were interesting, but it was slightly difficult to really tell what we were looking at and where we were through the map.
Besides the puzzles and secrets, there’s also the platforming to mention. The platforming was frustrating towards the end, but worked well for the most part and (again) went up in terms of difficulty quite well. The game is just filled with a lot of self-awareness and while overdone can be just annoying, it’s played out well in Lumo, with many nods to the developer’s inspirations while working on it. While the camera angle is slightly difficult to see certain things, there’s a tilt feature which allows you to tilt the camera slightly left and slightly right. This doesn’t sound helpful, but trust us when we say it’s really helpful for more difficult platforming sections if you plan on collecting all the rubber duckies. There were areas where the tilt didn’t help, but they were few and far
between. What did bother us is how the tilt feature was arbitrarily turned off for certain rooms without any indication. Either give us the feature or don’t, but don’t just turn it on or off without somehow informing the player. Despite the minor gripe, the platforming was fun enough. Both it and the puzzles used a lot of gimmicks seen in Spyro, Croc and Solstice. In fact, one puzzle involving moving a cannon to shoot at a certain target above a door to open said door was not so sneakily borrowed from another game.
*Stares at Spyro 3: Year Of The Dragon*
Along the way, you’ll also discover mini-game sections (similar to the flight sections of Spyro) which include games like space shooters or timed puzzles similar in play style to Marble Madness. It’s interesting to see it played out, but we wish the mini game sections were easier to find. Unlike in those Spyro mini games, it’s not made clear what you’re supposed to do in the Lumo mini games. Because of this, you’ll often sit there wondering where to go or what you’re exactly doing, so a prompt at the beginning of the mini games telling you how to play and the basic rules (similar to how Spyro handled it with the skateboarding sections) would have been helpful.
The gameplay itself works well enough for us to suggest Lumo to fans of older 3D platformers. It’s a little meh in certain spots, but it works well enough to get by. The platforming does play more like a mix between Croc with Solstice style movements, but that’s just our two cents.
Visually, the game both runs well (we rarely dipped under 200fps with Vsync off) and looks fairly well designed. The snippets we took don’t do the game justice in terms of visual quality. Design wise, levels and characters are designed well enough to be distinct, but not enough to be memorable. In example, while the wizard is well designed, he’s not a memorable enough character to be a mascot for example.
Audio wise, the music was good but again, not really enough to me memorable. We also had the problem of the fact that we couldn’t change the volume for the game, thus making streaming the game almost impossible since we’d have to edit the audio on the fly.
For the controls, get a controller. The controls are fairly poor for the keyboard and mouse, and one really needs analog stick style movement in order to play the game in the most accurate manner. You can use a keyboard and mouse, as well as the game giving you a few different control schemes to choose from, but the game doesn’t give you full rebindable keys. The only problem we had was that Lumo didn’t detect the buttons on the Xbox One controller as start and select, so it wouldn’t let us see our map or pause the game through the controller. Because of this, we had to switch to one of our Xbox 360 controllers. The settings for visuals are actually quite diverse and was a nice change of pace from the majority of indie games we’ve played recently. With that out of the way, there’s no way at all to edit audio settings for the game itself other than turning the volume down in the volume mixer on Windows, and it would be helpful to change the audio.
This then comes down to entertainment and conclusion. Was the game fun? Yes, absolutely. However, we should add that we grew up with games like Solstice, and enjoy a lot of 3D platformers. The game is slightly shorter at 5ish hours, but it also encourages playing 2 or 3 times thanks to its replay factor. There’s a few things that fall into ‘meh’ like the music and level design, but it also introduces characters with personality without any dialogue, but doesn’t move that idea forward to the level design, leaving certain areas feeling bland and slightly uninspired. So to conclude, do we suggest this game? Yes. The nitpicks we have with the game don’t stop the game from still being fun if 3D platformers are your thing. We’ll leave the reader to decide if it’s worthy of discount status or not, but we had fun with Lumo, and we think it’s at the very least worthy of playing and feels sequel worthy to us.
- Enjoyable platforming
- Nice ramp up of puzzle and level difficulty through progression
- Controls for the controller (minus the issue we had) were spot on
- Nice selection of references to inspiration for the game
- Looks nice visually
- Music and characters are well done, but slightly forgettable
- The minor controller issue with the Xbox One controller we had.
- More/any outdoor areas would be a nice thing to see
- Needs a larger variety of puzzles
- Settings for audio adjustments.