One of the last people I met at EGX was Tyrone Walcott, PR Manager for Rising Star Games. We had an interesting chat about some of the games they had on show and the first thing that struck me was his barely contained energy. He spoke in a calm tone, but I could feel how excited he was about it all. I could almost picture him jumping up and down in excitement over them, much as I was on the inside.
The first thing he asked: “Which ones have played?” To which I replied Lumo and Lumini, two titles that got me hooked instantly. Lumo filled me with childlike joy and made me feel like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, the bumbling apprentice in the Wizard’s Tower. Lumini was just relaxing. In the bustle of EGX, it was a title that was just about chilling.
It was surprising to me then when Tyrone filled me in on these games and I realised what I felt was pretty spot on.
According to him, Gareth Noyce, the man behind Triple Eh? Ltd and the sole developer of Lumo, after all his years involved in the AAA arena in games such as Crackdown 2 and Fable II (a game I have yet to finish, but someday I will), decided he wanted to make a game but he wanted to focus on the game itself, going “back to basics” as Tyrone said, using community assets for his environments and music, and taking care of just the game itself.
For Noyce, Lumo is a love letter to classic games but also to British (Pop) Culture. There are dozens of references to British media, from television and film to technology. There are hundreds of collectibles in these devilish trap rooms, and it’s up to the player to collect them all. What I played I enjoyed. The puzzle rooms weren’t exactly complicated but as I said, there was pure innocent joy in going through them.
According to Tyrone, when he game ships there will be around 400 rooms to go through, and if the first few I played are any indication then I have a few hundred rooms of fun waiting for me.
Lumini, by Speelbaars, as I said was very relaxed. In the game you play as a swarm of nearly extinct Lumini, fish-like creatures flying around crystal caves. Your job is to repopulate your species by collecting motes of light and using them to give birth to new Lumini. All while exploring the wondrous caverns littered with ruins of past civilisations and avoiding the dangers living within.
Your swarm has Lumini of different colours, each with their own unique abilities such as fast flight or a powerful attack. These reminded me of a game I love, Overlord, where your minions come in four different varieties, each with strengths and weaknesses. It’s not surprising then that switching between Lumini types was instantly familiar. And I loved switching to the Blue ones and just dart around at high speeds.
Over the past year I’ve grown fond of the exploration genre and as many of you will know, I’m a bit of a crybaby and there have been some to make me cry and I have to admit, there was some element of loneliness to the Lumini that was really getting to me. And the music, oh god the music, it has wonderful harmonies that still feel haunting, an edge of sadness to them. It’s good that my time with Lumini was short, or I’d been a weeping mess while talking to Tyrone…though I suppose that would’ve made the developers very happy.
One Upon Light was a pleasant surprise. Tyrone mentioned students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design are developing it as part of their Game Lab. The game features a scientist with an experiment gone awry. Now he’s trapped in shadows and if even a single shaft of light touches him, he’ll disintegrate. But now he has some nifty skills of his own, like the ability to create shadow echoes. If an object casts a shadow under light, he can call that shadow back, opening a way through for himself.
The first moment you see this ability is with a moving box in front of light bulb, the moment the box enters a marked square the character can create its shadow echo.
As someone who loves puzzles, and things having to do with lights, shadow and perception, One Upon Light was ticking a series of mental boxes that meant I was getting excited. I love the monochromatic style of the game, makes it feel like an old 1920s SciFi film. The fact you’re avoiding light patterns sometimes made it feel like a stealth game, where visibility cones mean death.
In many ways One Upon Light reminded me of the many NFTS Games projects I’ve seen. Extremely ambitious and creative, and that just makes me even more excited about it, especially since they have a publisher working with them!
I want to be Human was the last game I saw (because I’d already seen Poncho before) and this was the game I knew Tyrone loved. Pointing at it he simply said, “[The developer] is a genius. He had his art style, made some drawings and decided to make the game. The guy taught himself development and coding and made this game!”
I want to be Human is a platform shooter puzzler. If that sounds confusing just imagine a cross of Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania, but with a Shotgun. Sounds awesome right? Add some dark humour, plenty of hand-drawn bloody bits falling off enemies, and a funny story about a Vampire girl trying to rescue her boyfriend who’s been turned into a hat by evil forces, and you can see why Tyrone was excited about this one. And after looking at it, I was looking forward to it almost as much as he was.
Also, the character is so damn cute! I have to say I’m not a big fan of Techno, which is primarily what the soundtrack of I Want To Be Human is, but it works!