Developer: Triple Eh?
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Platform: PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS4
Lumo – Review
Lumo is an adventure game by Triple Eh? that is breathing new life in a long-forgotten genre, namely the classic isometric adventure. Its modern twist on this classic genre is slightly different than most of the newly-released games and simply for that, we fell in love with the game. Aside from the adventure aspect, the game shows plenty of potential to be a decent puzzle game in the same direction of Tomb Raider and the Temple of Osiris except it has a much simpler form.
Imagine yourself walking around at a gaming convention such as Gamescom or E3, albeit in a much smaller size. Booths are showcasing retro games for those fanatics, other booths offer a plethora of video game merchandise while upcoming developers are showcasing their latest games that may not even be on the market yet. Every booth is packed except for one. The sight of the booth intrigues you and you stand still for a moment to figure it out and then the impossible happens. The computer malfunctions and you get sucked into the game. It all sounds very TRON-like and although the intro scene was incredibly short, for that small duration of time, we did sense some inspiration gained from TRON or the likes. And as soon as you are sucked in, you are now the adorable character in the game with a pointy wizard hat that reminds us an awful lot of Final Fantasy’s black mage Vivi Ornitier.
As said before, the character in the game reminds us of the adorable black mage VIVI due to its similar size and clothing style but before being sucked into the game, you get to pick out which colors you are wearing. In our case, we had picked black and the resemblance to VIVI was… well impeccable. But enough about the black mage and our odd fascination about the fictional character, let’s discuss the visuals.
Rebirthing a classic genre is never easy but the visual aspect of the classic isometric adventure game is absolutely stunning. Each room is shown separately on your screen – which can lead to a troublesome amount of loading times – and each room has something new to offer from the patterns of the floor or walls to the danger lurking around the corners to the general atmosphere. Each room is detailed, avoiding a certain blandness to the entire whole which works in the game’s favor. It is difficult to explain the visuals as there are many inspirations but we hope the screenshots will be enough.
The audio design of Lumo is on par with the visual aspect of the game. While there are no voice-overs in any of the scenes, there is a ton of ambiance sound providing a different atmosphere depending on the room you’ve entered. For example, there are magical boxes that will fall in love with you and thus smooching sounds will be heard every once in a while. Entering rooms that are space related will ensure a futuristic C3PO-like sounds. Not all dangers are in the form of enemies – except those blasted spiders – but there is a ton more such as laser beams, electric fences, spike bombs, rolling spike boxes and too many others to mention but each of them have very distinct sounds.
Lumo is a new take on the classic isometric platform adventure genre and it does so with intuitive controls. Most buttons get explained along the way, such as where you can review your book which will contain various collectible items amongst other things. As a console game, you shouldn’t be surprised that the game makes use of the touchpad.
As for the gameplay, it is simple to explain and incredibly easy to start but mastering the game at a later stage is something that will require skill, patience and even more patience. Each room will lead into another room via simple doorways and sometimes even via secret passages, either way, the map layout is pretty much straightforward and by all means complete the opposite of a maze. Simply follow the rooms, clear them out for secrets and other items and move onto the next or previous one. The starting stages are simple, littered with a few love boxes and ground spikes and without knowing, you’re on your merry way collecting various items. Later stages get significantly harder, especially the ice levels which are packed with electric floors, ground spikes, laser beams and other deadly traps.
In each level, you can find the blueprint which tells you which room you are in and where you need to go but it doesn’t tell you much else. Some might find a better use for these blueprints than we did. At some point you will “learn” to use the light which will reveal hidden floor panels. This mechanic, along with all the other traps, is what makes Lumo such a great puzzle make while still being an adventure on its own. Timed mini-games do make an appearance here and there and they will only strengthen its entertainment value. Naturally the replay value is there, in the form of two different game modes as well as a leaderboard.
Resurrecting an almost-extinct genre is a difficult task in itself but the developers have done well for themselves as Lumo turned out to be a charming and adventurous puzzle platformer with vibrant visuals. Its modern take on the genre and intuitive controls allows each generation of players to enjoy this title although a certain degree of patience is required to finish the game.