Monday, March 9, 2020

Lumini - Nintendo Switch Review

So, there's been this trend in indie games lately to present the player with as much challenge as possible. Making your game brutally hard will get you views on Twitch after all. And I for one, am not a fan. I don't have time to die in Hollow Knight and re-do an entire section of a game. There's enough stress in my life already.

Lumini is a refreshing change of pace. Your one goal is to reach the end of this extremely linear adventure. You'll encounter a puzzle or an enemy every now and then, but everything is designed to move you forward. you won't get lost, you wont get stuck, and the only resistance you'll face is searching for secrets, and learning how to pilot your character.

It's an interesting blend of Pikmin and Forma 8. You control a small heard of flying rock bugs through a series of caves, corridors, and open areas. There are 4 different types of bugs with varying abilities, and you can swap between them on the fly. Blue goes fast, Red damages enemies, Purple stuns enemies, and Yellow has a magnet ability that helps you collect these blue dots.

The quantity of bugs serves as a sort of heath bar, as there's no hud to speak of. There's a bit of a trade off though, as the more bugs you have, the easier it is for enemies to take out the tail end of your heard. It gives a nice balance to the game which for the most part moved smoothly, barring a few performance hiccups.

The first 20 minutes or so we're fairly frustrating while I was getting my footing. The lack of a real tutorial left me experimenting a lot. Which lead to dying a lot. But checkpoints are frequent, and once I got the hang of things, I started to really enjoy what Lumini had to offer. That is, eye candy, upon eye candy, upon eye candy.

This game has a ton of gorgeous environments all woven together, cinematic orchestral beats, and somehow they were able to tell a compelling story, even with the lack of exposition or text. These elements made me WANT to learn all the Lumini's intricacies, which are unfortunately presented rather vaguely. It took me a while to learn how to deal with enemies efficiently, by quickly switching my bug types.

By the end of my first 3 hour play-through, I was ready for more. Which the game generously offered me in the form of a hard mode. I'll definitely be diving in for a second run.

In many ways, Lumini came along just in time for me. I had just finished The Witcher, and I was ready for a stark contrast in a game. Something serene and etherial to cleanse my pallet of all the killing I had been doing. Lumini is just $10 on the eshop, and I wouldn't think twice about picking up this emotional, yet easy going work of art.

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