What is the meaning of life? What am I doing with MY life? LUMO PLS!!! Oh, look at that, I have a wizard hat … YET I CANNOT MAKE ANY SANITY POTIONS!!!! I failed as a wizard, nonetheless I am one so 10/10 … there you go! Lumo review … done.
Okay sorry, but seriously, this game drove me nuts, like sincerely loco. The endless nights of rage, oh jolly good times. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not because the game is bad or anything … it’s just that I SUCK at platformers … like really, really, really much. The game is good, I’m just bad at it, but I did push it to the end … somehow … and effin duckz! But I will complain about them later, don’t you worry your pretty little hide, dear reader! Anyways, let us proceed to the actual review.
I have actually decided to write something different this time. Like, it’s gonna be a review, don’t worry, but I’m mostly going to showcase my experience and thoughts with the game, as I progressed through it (or should I say failings, but oh well). Before I begin though, there is one important thing I want to mention. Thank you, Triple, Eh? for making the default game with infinite lives. Like seriously, the amount of times I died, coupled with my short temper when it comes to platformers, would have ended in a natural disaster, if I had to restart the whole game every single time I ran out of lives. Trust me, platforming is challenging enough to begin with, lives don’t need to make my life worse. There is, however, a mode in which you can play with finite lives, but I leave that to oh you lucky souls you, who choose to tackle it willingly.
Kay, now that I expressed that gratitude, let us move on. First of all I wanna mention the music in this game, so let us make it the first topic of conversation. The music in Lumo is relaxing and beautiful, I kind of enjoyed the beat … well, when I had the time to listen to it. Now, as fascinating the music was, and the relaxing style was consistent throughout the whole game, I was forcing myself to completely turn off all game music and sounds consistently throughout my playghtrough. “But you said you like the music, why is that?” you might ask … well let me explain. OST aside, the game of course has default sounds, like for example the torch fire flickers, water bubbles floating and popping, the water’s movement, etc. However, there was this annoying sound my character makes every time she died … like, this “ah” sound that by the end of the game I felt like I wanted to rip my ears out. I know, naturally she would squeal, she dies after all, but when you die over 500 times, it can get annoying to listen to. Furthermore, the sound in this game cannot be regulated in any way. Well, you can turn off the music, but that’s where the bottom line of control hits us. Can you adjust the volume? No. Can you turn off sounds, not music? No. So naturally, when I wanted this annoying squealing to stop, I had to manually decrease the volume of the whole game from my windows menu. Furthermore the game’s sounds are pretty loud, I found out, as at 10% volume, I could still hear them through the music I was listening to, while playing the game, which was 50% windows and 50% player volume. Advice here: put a sound menu option and regulation bars … please, because sound and OST are like 30% of the whole experience.
Now let’s go over the main menu. The game’s menu is actually very beautiful. It has this space background (and I am a huge sucker for that), the logo and its font are beautiful and I fancied the magician hat on top of the “L” in Lumo. There was, however, one thing, which bothered me. The flags at the very beginning … yes I fiddled with them, don’t judge me, k? I felt like they were kind of ruining the beauty of the main menu, I know they have a function there but I think it would have been better if there was a separate menu for languages. Also, I’m not entirely sure whether this is part of the actual soundtrack or not, but there is this really weird (almost creepy, I would say) “Hello” at the beginning. At first I thought that it just says it when I select a language, because I clicked the flag for English first, but I was kind of disappointed when I found out that wasn’t the case, by clicking all other flags.
In-game menu was also actually kept quite simple and nicely styled. You have your general menus and the little music note for turning off the sound. The menu itself is actually a wizard book, which you pick up pretty early in-game and highlights your progress, like for example how many things you’ve collected (ducks, coins, tapes, main story items, etc.). And since we are talking about menus, I’ll take the opportunity to complain about the map (jolly gosh I feel like I complain from game maps very often). Now, the map in this game is level-divided, meaning you have a separate map for each “area” if I can call it that and there are a total of 14, if I remember correctly, which you have to find throughout the game. I found something along the lines of 11/14. However, I felt as if the map was confusing me more than it was helping. Every time I opened it, either I was on a roll and I actually managed to figure out where I was and where I had to go, or I was utterly confused so I closed it right back up again. Not to mention that towards the end of the game, I was so lost and confused as to where I was going, what I was doing and where I had to go, that I didn’t bother even searching for the last few map pieces. The only thing I would have wanted to have in the map actually, was something indicating to me, where I was at the current moment.
Okay, moving on to my actual gameplay experience … oi, developer guys! Can I ask you a question? When you woke up one day and said “hey, it’d be nice if Lumo was a 3D game!” did you actually think this through??? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad idea, but it caused so many frustrating issues for me, that I just wanted to strangle myself, when I kept dying because of the camera angle. Basic issues, like for example I cannot tell how far one platform is from the other or which direction I actually have to jump, is it forward-up or forward-down? Or when I have to move through some spikes, but I don’t actually see where I’m passing, because of the spikes in front of the free space. Like there was this one level, which I will give as an example, because I died so many times there, just cause I couldn’t see where I was passing. There was this huge room with spikes and fans, blowing some wind up. Now I had to get inside a bubble and pass through the maze of spikes, which were on pillar walls by the way. There was this particular opening, where there was fire turning on and off (this is the place I died over and over again) and this happened because: 1) my vision was obscured by the pillar wall with spikes; 2) because I couldn’t actually tell how much space I have between the wall and the spike for the bubble to pop. And this is just one example of many, I don’t really know if this was deliberate or not, in order to make the game harder, but … it’s not nice, bro! So many times I wished the camera was front view or top down. I remember thinking something along the lines of “make the platforming more challenging, not the camera angle”. It’s good at least that the developers allow you to choose an input control method and you can actually test it in the main menu, before making the wrong choice and having to restart the game to choose another method, so thank you for that too. Also some platforms had really wonky controls, like for example that yellow levitating block, which you control by walking in the direction you want it to go … let’s just leave it at “it didn’t work as well as it should have”.
Speaking of challenge in this game … okay, I’m probably not the best person to speak about platform game challenge levels, because of how much actually I suck at them, however, let me put it this way. At first the platforming was easy, like really easy. I had absolutely no problems with it, maybe another death here and there, but the more challenging thing was collecting the actual ducks. Finally, the time has come for me to rage about these ducks. Thank you Triple, Eh? for making me hate rubber ducks for the rest of my life! Like seriously, I will never look at another rubber duck the same way. When I see one I will immediately remember the torture I went through when collecting them. If I have a kid one day, I will never buy him/her a rubber duck. By the way, for those of you, who are confused about what the actual f*ck I’m talking about, rubber ducks are one of the collectables in Lumo and there are a total of 32 and mind you, I collected them all!!! Which by the way, I consider as a personal achievement. Back to challenge levels. So platforming was easy – collecting the ducks was hard and if I had to spread my death count for the game between dying from ducks and dying from failed platforming, it would probably be something along the lines of 80%-20%. Took me about 30 tries on the first duck to realize I can jump off them (even though jumping in this game reminds me of me trying to jump at sports class back at school … that was not pretty). Well, it’s not like I have no fault too … why can I play safe and just complete the game, nooo I must collect everything! … Thank you brain, you suck. You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I collected the 32nd duck. Kay, all is good, except not! Why? Because the game’s platforming from normal, suddenly rocket to nightmare mode. Just when I thought the game couldn’t f*ck me more … well it did! ;_; Death after death after death, cuz of platforming and camera angles and frustration … I feel like it’s a personal achievement for finishing this game.
Actually, there’s one thing I wanna add here. Like, I know I died a lot, but I was actually curious to know how many times exactly did I die and since the game doesn’t have anything like a death counter or statistic, I would’ve like if it did. Furthermore, this game should be given to prisoners to complete (I’m sure they’ll repent for their actions after doing so).
But besides that I had lots of fun with this game … raging pulsating fun … of death! Tun, tun, tun … no I’m just kidding. I’m glad that it was challenging, otherwise I would have been disappointed. And for some reason it just kept making me wanna come back to finish it, no matter how many times I rage quit. I do wanna complain about something else too though. At some point of the game, you are given a staff. Now beforehand I had met spiders (of course, it always has to be spiders) which were basically a way of the game telling you “sorry brah, but ya can’t go there yet, mon”. When I received the staff I was so hyped up, thinking I would finally be able to kill the spiders (muahahah, serves them right for blocking my path), saying things like “yes, I finally has a staff now” and my confusion in how to use it (the game does tell you later, no worries) … well yes but no. THE POWER OF LIGHT COMPELLS YOU!!! Yep, this is what the staff is for, it just emits light, which scares the spiders off … really. “Okay, maybe the game wants to avoid violence and I respect that” is what I thought, but my overall experience with the staff is kind of disappointing. It was nice, I felt like Gandalfina the Pink (since I was playing a female wizard and I chose to be pink), cuz you know, a wizard is not a wizard without a staff, but I used it so little in the game. It was only used to scare spiders off and occasionally show hidden platforms. I also used it to highlight my shadow in those wonky camera angles, so that I can predict my positioning, but I felt as if I wanted to do more with the staff … you know feel more powerful.
There was another annoying glitch, which actually falls in the category of technical bugs here. First of all, I fell off the wall and floor a couple of times, which left me like O_O wtf happened?!? So yeah, I did get a few deaths off being sucked into space from the floor. The second more annoying glitch was things not working as they should. Examples: those teleport thingies. Most of the time, they wouldn’t teleport me at all. I questioned why they appeared if they won’t work and will make me backtrack through all of those platforming sequences I managed to pass (I hate backtracking). Restarting the game fixed them, but not always. I was so confused as to why they didn’t work and they suddenly do. Or another example, where I had to lead a box to a button in order to open a barred door (the game has these little cute crates, which fall in love with you and follow you around, but some of them have spikes and I was like “bro, if you love me, why do you have spikes on you, but oh well and they had really weird creepy eyes, like dafuq, please no). Anyway, yep, you guessed it, it didn’t work. I actually spent a good amount of 30 minutes running around 3 rooms, thinking I was stuck, until I decided to pull up youtube and cheat, only to find out that what I was doing was right, but it wasn’t working (yes, I cheated a few times, don’t judge me, kay! I’m stoopid).
If there was one thing, I didn’t expect in this game, it was probably the presence of a jumpscare. Like, it probably wouldn’t have been one, if the sound didn’t decide to explode in my ears (rip headphones users). It was at the point where I had to retrieve a green crystal for a grim reaper statue and then it went bawonkers on me (I don’t even know what that means but to hell with it) and here I thought I was friends with the grim reaper, I even gave him a nice crystal so why? But anyway, then my character decided that instead of just getting the item, which is right in front of her, it would be a genius idea if she tries to crumble a bridge “you shall not pass” style so that the grim reaper could fall. Yeah … except HE LEVITATES, YOU STUPID!
Lumo has a really nice level design though. It mainly has a dungeon appeal, and background changes, based on what is needed for the actual level. For example, I really liked how on the ice levels, it was snowing or at those dark levels with levitating platforms, I was using my staff to light the way (but it wasn’t in-game using, rather than default using … wut … I mean you waste no resources). Also it’s not just walking platforming, but there were a few “mini-game” levels (for example one in mines with a cart and one sliding section).
Also the game features a lot of cameos, which are mentioned all at the end credits and I love this. Because Lumo is inspired by old gaming and games, putting cameos from such games is an unarguable plus for the game. Like those secret game levels, which you need coins to unlock and reward you letters (I completed one and tried to complete another one 2 times, but that failed). There was this little robot cameo (it really escaped my mind at the moment), which as an obstacle itself, posed nothing, like it was patrolling a path where I didn’t even need to go, but just because it was a sweet little cameo, I decided to die to it once, just for the sakes of fulfilling a purpose. Or that one dungeon labyrinth level, where 4 grim reapers are chasing you around … that reminded me of Pacman. Speaking of end credits, I love when at the section where the studio thanks people, they also thank the player for playing the game … HELL YEAH, I suffered through this whole game, you better thank me!! (okay, suffered is a bit harsh, but you get my point)
As a final paragraph, first of all I’m giving this game a 7/10. It’s a nice game, has its positive quirks and I have to say it really is addictive. It challenged me enough and at the same time managed to motivate me to keep going, no matter how many times I died (and trust me, I died a lot). However, there was still some things, which could be improved to make the experience better, combined with the technical bugs, which made me restart the game every time I started doubting whether something should be working or not and camera angle issues, prevents it from reaching a higher score. I know this review seems full of criticism and angry ranting from my part, but his, however, does not in any way mean the game is not worth it, trust me it is, especially to those “old 90s” gamers, which know exactly these types of games from the old days. But if I have to be completely honest, I’m glad I was done with it, when I finished it, because damn, this game knew how to pull my strings one by effin one.