If you’re of an, uh… certain age, you might recall a television show called Knightmare. A sort of Dungeons and Dragons/gameshow hybrid, it involved a team of youngsters guiding one of their friends through a dungeon laden with traps, tricks and challenges. It deserves a remake, but that’s by the by – Lumo (that’s Finnish for ‘enchantment’) is a warmly nostalgic reminder of such glorious children’s programming.
Alas, as is generally the case with puzzle-related games, eventually there are spots in Lumo where a challenge becomes an outright irritant. One particular moment that sticks in the mind is spending 35 minutes trying to balance on a ball, whilst running it along a narrow path, then trying to keep it in the middle of a moving platform to get to the exit. We’re sure you can visualise that - many bad words were uttered. Despite those grievances, however, Lumo‘s many levels are for the most part well laid out and thoughtfully designed. In the majority of cases, it isn’t difficult to figure out what you have to do to get through them – even if actually carrying out those tasks can prove difficult. The sound effects and music fit the game’s old-school feel well, and the animations of mini-wizard-you are cute as a button.
Lumo is a love letter to a time when games were (technically) simpler and in that respect it has certainly hit the target.
Let’s talk collectibles for a moment: whether you love or hate them, it’s a given that the majority of games have them, and Lumo is no different. Coming in the form of cassette tapes (remember those?), maps, coins and rubber ducks, the former three are relatively easy to get your kleptomaniac mitts on – the ducks are a different story. Have you ever sworn at a sweet little rubber duck? You will. In fact, you’ll never want to see another one ever again by the time you get to the end of Lumo. It’s not that they’re difficult to find, in fact, they’re glaringly obvious, the bright yellow deviants. The issue is you have to jump on them, bounce off of them and land safely; if you lose a life while you’re still in the room, you have to collect it again. More often than not this involves jumping, bouncing off the duck’s head, then landing precariously on a moving platform. It’s a distraction that Lumo doesn’t really need, especially in the latter levels where merely getting from room to room safely is challenge enough.
Lumo is a love letter to a time when games were (technically) simpler and in that respect it has certainly hit the target. For every part that feels like it needs improving slightly, or where it feels like you’re just outright being trolled for being pants at it, there are plenty of moments where you find yourself genuinely enjoying Lumo; especially if you can remember when games like it were the norm rather than an exception.
Ultimately, it feels like Lumo is going to be quite niche – some will love it for the older style of gameplay and the nostalgia that invokes, whilst appreciating more modern usability in the likes of an auto-save system. Others will probably play it and wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s not going to blow you away, but there are certainly worse ways to spend a few hours than revelling in the past with Lumo... Just try not to lose your patience with those #*%@ing ducks.
Score – 7/10