Lumo review for PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: PS Vita, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Triple Eh? Ltd / Gareth Noyce
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly how important good controls are to a game (not that this was ever in doubt for most people), you only have to look at Lumo. Right at the game’s outset, you’re given a choice of three different control schemes. If you pick the wrong scheme, the game becomes almost unplayable, as you’ll be destined to walk into walls and jump to your doom every step of the way.

Pick the right one, however, and you’ll have set yourself up for a fun retro experience. There aren’t too many games nowadays that look to the likes of Q-Bert or Knight Lore — or even Sonic 3D Blast — for inspiration, but as an isometric platformer, that’s exactly what Lumo does. Room after room puzzles, weird little characters, 2.5D graphics — really, everything about it will strike a nostalgic chord for anyone who ever played any of those old, pioneering titles.

lumo 2

Then again, I barely touched them, and that didn’t prevent me from enjoying Lumo. It undoubtedly helped that, while it draws inspiration from those older games, it doesn’t require a thorough knowledge of them in order to succeed here. Really, as long as you’re able to think things through in a logical, holistic manner, you’ll be able to get by. It also helps if you’re at least a little prone to going off on sideways explorations — in Lumo, that’s the key to discovering some cute little secrets.

And I do mean cute. For a game where your character is constantly at risk of getting impaled on spikes, drowning in acid, or getting burnt to a crisp, Lumo really knows how to keep things adorable. Maybe it’s the soft, dream-like music, maybe it’s the fact the main character looks like (s)he’s wearing a little raincoat and hat, maybe it’s the way you simply pop out of existence the second you die (rather than the game lingering on your fresh corpse for a few moments): whatever the reason, this is a challenging platformer than isn’t constantly trying to remind you of how hardcore it is.

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And that’s really all it takes to be a game worth checking out. It’s not a complex formula — cute characters + logical puzzles + intuitive controls (provided you pick the right ones) — but, as Lumo shows, it is a winning one.

Grade: B+