Lumini (PC) Review

So Relaxing You’ll Fall Asleep

A new flow adventure game that lets you control flying fish in a cave of all places.

Lumini is a new adventure experience where you can control beautiful little flying creatures called Lumini. To get them back home and out of the dangerous caverns in which they find themselves, you must guide them out by using their different powers and avoid all the dangerous monsters along the way.

Lumini-PC1There is no real story to speak of, other than getting the feeling that the Lumini are trying to get out of these underground structures. It’s fine to be light on story, but to not have it all and rely so heavily on the atmosphere to set the mood of a game is a dicey proposition. With no dialogue, text, or graphics the setting for the game is a bit confusing and takes away from the overall experience. The saving grace for this odd set is the sounds of the characters themselves. The Lumini are bright and colorful and make adorably cute sounds when you move them around. You actually feel a bit of loss when one of them dies and makes a last whimpering sound before they die, which only motivates the player more. The enemies are very distinct and easy to spot, but also have their own predatory sounds to make them feel even more like enemies of our cute and cuddly heroes.

Lumini orangeThe subtle setting and pleasant glowing atmosphere do help to start a relaxing game, but unfortunately it never changes from that aspect. The gentle flowing of the Lumini along with incredibly easy puzzles and never ending cave formations that all look the same just makes it feel monotonous after a time. To add to that, there are no levels, and the checkpoints aren’t very clear so it can feel like it is just one amazingly long level with a few very brief changes in background. The lack of diversity in the foregrounds and transition stages would have been more acceptable were it not for the lack of graphical quality. If you are going to spend all of your time around one set piece, in this case rocks, then those rocks better look amazing.

Lumini purpleSetting aside the setting, the gameplay for controlling the Lumini is interesting and fun. Not challenging in the least, there’s a great sense of command when moving them around like a school of fish. Seemingly disorganized, this swarm of neon colored critters does exactly what you say and looks natural like water flowing over rocks. Each of the Lumini have their own distinct power, and it opens up a plethora of options when meeting an enemy. Whether to use the blue fish and sail past, or to go with the red fish and fight to the end, or use the yellow to collect the powerups and run away.

This is a relaxing game, and that is not lost on me. It is very relaxing to play for a while, but it gets tedious soon after. Another critical flaw is the total lack of explanation for many of the more important features. To this day, I have no idea what the little collectible orbs you get do or what they are for. My health doesn’t increase, and there is no score, so having to figure out simple ideas like that just adds to the stress of this “relaxing” game. Controlling swarms of little creatures is not a new idea, and it can be done in a more interesting and yet just as fun way like we have seen in Pikmin. But if you just want to chill, and you have an extra $13, then this is the game for you.

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