Review | Lumini

Buttons activate things! Who knew!?
There’s a lot of games on the current gaming market where action, explosions, and thought provoking politics are the norm in mainstream game titles. You just can’t get away from it. However, there’s still some developers out there that like to break away from the fire, and keep the gentle, innocent, and enchanting world of games alive. 
Look at how freaking gorgeous these Lumini are in this world!
Look at how freaking gorgeous these Lumini are in this world!

Lumini is certainly one of those type of games that took me by surprise, because the screenshots certainly didn’t do it any justice; I’m sure the screenshots I’ve captured here won’t particularly grasp you, although there’s no doubting that they look rather pretty. You need to actually try Lumini first hand to really gage how immersed you can become in this pleasant game.

Your character, or rather, characters, are what look like little fireflies that fly amongst the world. They bare the illuminating similarities to fireflies, but are far more alien looking in terms of features. In fact, these creatures, the Lumini, actually used to once inhabit the planet you’re introduced too, but they vanished, and since then time has changed their homeland. They come back to find a series of harsh, new species now running the caves, the waters, and the air. It’s up to them to restore their homeland back to how it was.

It may sound quite intense, but in truth, it’s one of the most relaxing games I’ve played this year, and sure, it has tense chase moments where you come close to the jaws of a horrid flying fish creature, but otherwise it’s so peaceful. There’s a lot of music with gentle piano notes that create a calming atmosphere, not only that, but there are in-game props that can trigger notes being played out. These peaceful moments can however be suddenly disrupted by a sudden dramatic soundtrack that kicks in whenever an enemy takes up chase. It’s perhaps too sudden, but it certainly does catch you off guard, making you jump to rush away.

These big stone, alien things are where new levels begin.
These big stone, alien things are where new levels begin.

I first thought that the Lumini were swimming around in an underwater world, it wasn’t until I noticed, one, a puddle on the ground, and two, a dead enemy falling to the ground, that I realised these things are in fact flying! That’s not all I was confused about, there seems to be little aqua coloured plants scattered around in groups, and when collected gives no indication as to what they are used for. I had to head to the games Steam store and read up on it, and it was only then I realised that the more you collect, the more Lumini you gather at the next level. There are also big gems that the Lumini need to collect, and once again, this wasn’t explained, but I couldn’t find any information on them, so I would imagine they’d unlock bonus content seeing as the main menu, after loading a game, shows an, “Extras” area.

BOOM! Lumini power!
BOOM! Lumini power!

The enemies in the game are very familiar to our wildlife, and creatures, only with minor exaggerations to their features, fish with huge fangs take up chase when you near them, weird plantation fire needles at you in what’s possibly a defensive measure on their part, and sometimes, it isn’t just monsters, it can be natural causes, like fast streams blocking an area off for example.

With each level that passes, your Lumini start finding other Lumini that have powers. For example, stun, sprint, and some defensive tactics. The bigger your Lumini swarm becomes, the more they evolve. Although keeping them alive isn’t always that easy, especially when they become harder to control when you split them up.

That’s right, splitting them up invites a new aspect to the gameplay where you split your Lumini into two groups and overcome puzzles to progress. Sometimes it’s just a simple pushing of two buttons with each swarm, but other times it can be more complicated, like pressing a button whilst simultaneously spinning a cog wheel. I won’t lie, this was quite a challenge and felt very hard to manage both areas at the same time…at least on a keyboard and mouse, maybe this is where the controller would shine.

Dual operating cogs is actually really hard if you're using a keyboard and mouse.
Dual operating cogs is actually really hard if you’re using a keyboard and mouse.

The game is a single player experience, although it feels a bit saddening that it isn’t two player, as either side-by-side gameplay, or even online multiplayer gameplay would go really well with this. Having said that though, I do enjoy the seclusion and the game can calm you, but with the addition of another player, I’d imagine that magic would change.

A beautiful sunset, a painful blast of wind

So all in all, It’s a game that has made an environment an absolute marvel to explore as you progress along a path riddled with puzzles. It’s probably advised that you play with a controller, as the game itself says on the splash screen, but even with a keyboard and mouse it’s still quite fluid to play, until you split the swarm of Lumini. If you want to relax without the frustration of constantly failing really hard puzzles or battles, then this game is one for you. So get your headphone, crank that volume and chill.

Update:  To gather more screenshots, I played the game again, two hours later I realised it was 2am and I had zoned out. Get this game.


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