By Jakeums / March 3rd, 2020
|Release Date||January 24th, 2020|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Windows, Mac|
The marketing for Lumini on the eShop states that it’s “designed to be one of the most relaxing games ever made.” Well, if nothing else, I can conclusively say that statement is indeed true. Lumini uses every trick in the relaxation playbook to create a soothing, yet consequently low energy adventure. If you come away from it not feeling this intended feeling, it’s definitely not for lack of trying. It might suffer from slight technical oversights and a general sense of slog if you’re not looking at it in the right frame of mind, but once those small mountains are traversed, Lumini comes out to be a really enjoyable and relaxing experience.
Gameplay is pretty straightforward in Lumini, relying on most of its predecessors way of motion. You control two of the games titular creatures, the Lumini (is it spelled differently if it’s plural?). Using the control sticks allows you to separate however many Lumini you have in your swarm in half to allow you control of both at once to solve puzzles and such. The greater number Lumini you attain, the more abilities you earn. Such as dash, which I found particularly useful, sonar and just a myriad of ways to interact with the world and help solve more puzzles. The more Lumini you obtain the more powerful you become.
The story is fairly straightforward as well. You resurrect as Lumini in a world that’s been ravaged and is no longer habitable. Your job is to bring balance back to the world that clearly hasn’t had it for quite a while. It’s pretty simple, but effective. It gets the environmentalist point across while also providing adequate motivation to propel you through its story. However, I did find that because the story is kept so nebulous, you don’t really get a feel for the pacing sometimes and you’re not really sure if you’re still in the beginning, middle or are nearing the end. However, story isn’t where the game is intended to be strong. It’s serviceable as a backdrop for the game’s gorgeous art direction.
Visuals is where Lumini really tries to stand out, and I think it excels in this aspect. The game boasts beautiful hand drawn environments and a flow-like system of movement to help create a more soothing experience. The game’s ultimate purpose is to be relaxing, so keeping things slow and steady is a part of the experience, but at the same time failure is possible. Because the world has become more dangerous, the Lumini can die.
The music is pretty much what you’d expect from such a claim of “one of the most relaxing games”. Very soothing soundscapes with low hums and whispery synths. It aids greatly in tandem with the fantastical art direction. Lots of bells and chimes help accentuate the overall mood of the game as well.
My biggest contention with Lumini really isn’t anything about the game itself, in a sense. Unfortunately, I encountered numerous errors and oddities on my Switch when I played it. One of the biggest issues is the opening studio logos when you initially start the game from the Switch’s home screen, the studio logos last on screen for, I counted, over a minute of an image. It gets the point where I would press the menu button to make sure that my entire Switch didn’t freeze up. I’m not saying game devs shouldn’t get the credit they deserve, because they do deserve it, but I can’t help but feel like this might be a bug or a simple mistake that can be fixed with a patch.
Unfortunately though, the above problem is only made worse by the fact that the game also crashes sometimes and usually had sound lag that I needed to pause to fix. A little more severe than the problem mentioned before, but it’s just small little technical things that got in the way of my full enjoyment. It could very well be that I was an isolated incident, but that was my experience.
But other than that, Lumini is a very nice surprise in a deceptively small sale package. It’s beautiful, interesting and in its quest to become one of the most relaxing games of all times only falls short in the technical details. For the asking price of $10, you really couldn’t go wrong here. Especially when it goes on sale. It took me around 2 hours to complete a play through, it’s perfectly adequate for your relaxing game needs. Huge props to the art department with this one, you’ve all outdone yourself!
Review copy provided by Publisher, thank you!
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