The world is dead, poisonous clouds fill the air and the only thing that remains are the dwindling predators and what’s left of the world’s natural beauty. It’s about time for the Lumini to return!
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Release Date: September 2015
Played Full Story
Purchase At: Steam
Lumini is one of the games I saw during EGX at the Rising Star Games booth. I played this relaxing game for a few minutes but the music, the environments and the lonely Lumini started getting to me, as tends to happen when I play exploration-focused games. Tyrone Walcott, when I spoke with him, mentioned the game was very Zen, all about the journey and enjoying yourself. After the event, I received a press code for the game, and I can tell you Tyrone was only half-right.
There isn’t much of an intro to the game. Starting a new one immediately shows a scene where a dead creature drops a crystal shard down a crevice. The crystal shard hits a giant crystal cube at the bottom, causing it to react and spawn some Purple Lumini, small flying fish-like creatures that make cute noises when they spawn and can emit small shockwaves to stun predators. You don’t have much of a goal at the start but soon you realise you need to collect motes of light growing on certain plants and take these to the next crystal cube, to spawn even more of your kind. Between you and the next spawn point are environmental dangers, such as spikes, and giant Lumini-starved predators.
The story and the significance of the Lumini for this world you learn over the course of the adventure. Early on you find a shrine to the Lumini, and the statues around the shrine look much like the dead creature holding the crystal shard at the start. Through the structures and art left behind you learn more about this world and how important the Lumini are to it and its major civilisations. As you go beyond the starting cave the cubes start to have effects on the world around you, dispelling vicious storms and poisonous clouds, restoring nature and life. It’s a beautiful tale of restoration and rebirth and you’ll want to reach the next cube so you can see more of the Lumini’s power over this world. At the start however, there is a sense of loneliness, of being forgotten but as you find more of your buddies, and they start making beautiful sounds together, it’s a bit uplifting, like finding a long-lost friend again. I told you, exploration games get to me.
I mentioned in my EGX coverage that this game reminded me of Overlord, in that the different Lumini colours each have their own strengths, much like Minions have their own unique skills. Blue Lumini were my favourite, because they give the swarm the ability to fly at high speeds for a short time, I spammed that ability quite often, not because I wasn’t enjoying the environments, but because I love watching the Lumini dash proudly around. The Red ones make the swarm’s pulse ability deadly to enemies, which is a blessing considering how persistent these predators can be. Sadly, those are the only useful colours. The yellow ones have a ranged pickup ability, to collect motes from afar, but it’s rarely useful. A shield to protect your swarm would’ve been better and it would’ve offered some contrast to the Red ones. Finally, the starting Lumini, the Purple ones, are completely useless and in fact stop spawning altogether after the first cube, making them feel rather pointless.
Whatever their type, Lumini are extremely frail and one hit from enemies will kill them. If a predator gets a few of them in its maw, consider them dead and gone. To use each of the types’ powers you need to select them, making them the lead group. You can also split the swarm in two, controlling each half independently, something useful right from the start when you need to split to hit or turn fan-switches. These puzzles increase in number and complexity the more you progress, offering a welcome change of pace.
Visuals and Audio are superb. The environments, Lumini and other creatures are gorgeous, especially those you only see in the background, such as the giant dinosaur-like beings that stalk the surface. Crystals shine in the caves, pulsing with unnatural light and beauty, trees sway in the wind, water rushes from falls and rivers and you’ll often see plants grow near the spawn cubes. Those moments when cubes change the world are awesome. The soundtrack is beautiful, with beautiful melodies that rise up to powerful pieces whenever you reach one of those ‘milestone’ cubes, changing the music as the world changes with your actions.
Visuals are also where some of the technical issues lie, not in the game itself but in the settings. I often had the game crash if I even attempted to change the visual settings, be it resolution or even switching from Windowed to Full Screen. Worse still, the moment I loaded a game or started a new one, all my settings would reset and of course, crash the game again. Thankfully for me, I didn’t even attempt to change settings until my second playthrough. And trust me, there is so much to see and find that you’ll come back to it.
Lumini is a beautiful game, filled with wondrous environments and creatures and an amazing soundtrack. It has some faults, but they don’t lessen this outstanding experience.
4.5/5 – Amazing!