Luminosity | Logo
Title Luminosity
Developer Windmill Games
Publisher Windmill Games
Release Date April 9, 2015
Genre Shmup
Platform Steam
Age Rating N/A

Luminosity isn’t your ordinary kind of space shooting game. Normally in these kinds of games, you’re surrounded by enemy ships on all sides. You’d shoot them down to destroy them in order to progress, avoiding projectiles of all kinds to stay alive for one more level. But in Luminosity, you are your own worst enemy. Instead of firing lasers that destroy your enemies, your laser acts as an impenetrable barrier that doesn’t allow a single thing to pass it. The objective in Luminosity is to cover as much space on each level as is required of you in order to pass by forming rectangles to conquer areas. The catch is, if your laser happens to hit an enemy, you die. You can entrap obnoxious enemy ships in order to prevent them from bouncing around freely on the map. Motherships are particularly annoying, as they relentlessly pursue you, shooting at you and your beam, and generate clones of themselves.

The trick with Luminosity is to fire your laser at just the right time so that it doesn’t come into contact with a single other object. This is easier said than done, because as you progress, the ships you will face will get faster and there will be more of them. You will end up dying a lot on the higher difficulties until you get it just right. Each level is like a puzzle to solve as you try to ascertain what the best method to attack and surround your enemies is so that they can’t escape your entrapment.

Luminosity | Campaign Mode - Cautiously avoiding a tough enemy.
Watch out for when these circular ships turn red – they’ll bounce around and come after you if you try to fire your laser.

Luminosity‘s campaign mode serves as the tutorial for the game, introducing you to the various ship types and enemies you’ll face throughout the game’s randomized arcade mode. There isn’t any plot; it’s only there to teach you how to play. Since you don’t get to change the ships you’re assigned throughout the levels, you’re forced to learn how each one works. Every ship has different abilities and characteristics. I’ll give a few examples to you. The Tank has high health, but low speed and maneuverability. The Ancient has a high speed laser, but the speed diminishes every time you fire it, making each shot more of a risk. The Boomerang can’t rotate vertically or horizontally like the other ships, it only does so when you fire a shot. To sum it up, you’ll want to get a feel for each ship type to find one that suits your play style.

The points you earn by playing can be used to upgrade your ships in the Factory, giving your ships more health, a longer time limit for each stage, increased laser speed and improving the chances for power-ups to spawn in levels. The strength of these buffs aren’t too significant, but they might be just enough to give you the edge you need to clear a stage. The stages themselves also can have nasty tricks inside them, like making most of the stage dark so that you can’t see anything other than your ship, or turning everything into silhouettes which makes objects almost indistinguishable from each other.

Luminosity | Campaign Mode 2 - Surrounded by cross-shaped ships.
Time your shots right in situations like this with lots of enemies. If the laser hits even one, you’re dead.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, Luminosity keeps things very simple and clean, resembling a retro arcade-styled interface like the ones of yesteryear. All the action takes place in the center of the screen, with your power-ups on the right hand side, and your score and required coverage of the screen on the bottom left. All of it is accompanied by an ambient electronic trance-styled soundtrack, which only has a few songs but is nonetheless calming and pleasant to listen to. A larger variety of music would have been welcome here. The campaign took me around 2-3 hours to complete on Normal difficulty, but you could spend endless hours tackling the Arcade mode again and again to try and beat your best score and reach the top of the leaderboards. For $4.99, you’re getting a pretty nice replay value for your money.

I recommend Luminosity for those who like casual, inexpensive arcade games, as well as shmup fans in general.

Review Score

Review Copy provided by Publisher

Joe Sigadel
Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.