What is Lumo?
Lumo is a retro-inspired isometric puzzle adventure, that sees you making your way through a variety of interconnected, maze-like rooms, each of which contains a puzzle. Playing as an unfortunate child who got sucked into a retro games machine, it's up to you to find a way out, by solving the game's many, many puzzles.
How do you play Lumo?
With almost every room you enter having its own puzzle to solve, Lumo is a game that'll really test your grey matter. Sometimes, what you have to do is obvious - maybe you've got to shuffle some mirrors around to deflect a laser beam, or perhaps you've simply got to jump from crumbling platform to crumbling platform before they fall to pieces under your portly self. But other rooms are much more complex, and often, you'll have to pause for a few seconds before you enter each room to take stock of the situation - looking at what objects there are, where they're scattered, and what you might have to do to get past them. Sometimes you'll come across a locked door, which has to be opened by activating a switch in another room, while at other times, the challenge is simply in the timing, and the accuracy of your jumps, as you leap from chain to chain across a room.
How easy is Lumo to pick up and play?
Designed to be a blast from the past, Lumo has another thing in common with its retro brethren - it's chuffing hard. While the game does flash up the odd quick prompt to tell you how to use any new powers or abilities you gain, there are several factors that make Lumo a challenging one to pick up and play.
First off, there's nothing in the way of hints for the puzzles. While some puzzles are fairly straight forward, there are some real stinkers in here that'll leave you either not really being sure what you're meant to be doing, or how you're meant to do it. Without a hint system, you're left to simply experiment until you figure it out - which is always possible, of course; it just makes the game a lot trickier.
Secondly, the game itself is a real maze. The rooms you make your way through are all interconnected, but there's no on screen map telling you how they all fit together. While you will collect pages that work as a map, you have to open it separately, and it doesn't show you where you currently are. With some doors being locked until you've flicked a switch or started a conveyor belt in a room that could be a dozen or more rooms away, you'll either have to keep a very good mental map of where you are, or spend a fair amount of time backtracking trying to find the room you haven't yet been in.
And, thirdly, the game has a devious requirement for pixel perfect platforming. Requiring you to get your character moving in exactly the right direction, at exactly the right speed, and press the jump button at exactly the right time, there are some really tricky jumps to make in here - some so tricky you'll wonder if you don't need a new power-up or something similar first, in order to make it across - but almost always, the only thing it takes is a heck of a lot of patience and practise.
On the plus side, Lumo does feature very regular checkpoints, often creating a checkpoint at a safe place mid-puzzle, so coming a cropper all of a sudden won't send you back several rooms - and often won't even send you back to the beginning of the room you're in. Either way though, this is one for those with plenty of patience.
With nothing in the way of bad language, sex, or violence, there's nothing for parents to be concerned about in Lumo. While your main character can die, he simply disappears in a puff of brightly coloured smoke.
Format Reviewed: PC