Developer: Gareth Noyce
Publisher: Rising Star Games
System: PS4 (tested), PC, Xbox One, PS Vita
We’d love to take Lumo’s coder, Gareth Noyce, out for a drink – he clearly loves old games as much as we do. If you’re looking for a game that will have your nostalgia glands firing on all cylinders then Lumo is perfect. Although Gareth is known for newer titles (he’s worked on everything from Sudeki to Crackdown) he clearly knows his old games and Lumo is as loving a tribute to retro as you could expect to find. Monty Mole, Bubble Bobble, Jack The Nipper and Marble Madness are just a few of the games referenced here, but there are many, many more and that’s before you move over to the obvious isometric titles such as Knight Lore and Head Over Heels. Hell, we even found an awesome Ghostbusters movie reference.
Lumo’s story may be slight – you’re sucked into a videogame and must escape – but so what? Knightlore wasn’t exactly high fiction and it was still amazing fun. Lumo is a game where action speaks louder than words and as a result there’s always something to do. Some rooms are so throwaway they’re almost completely pointless, but others are ingenious little puzzles that will give your grey matter a serious workout. It’s a little more linear than we’d have liked, but in a way that’s indicative of the games it’s based on. Lumo excels in continually offering you new experiences and for the most part they’re handled incredibly well. Bubbles can be jumped on; water can be swam in; certain blocks can be pushed; giant balls can be rolled around as a mode of transport; minigames can be discovered; your wand can scare spiders away and reveal hidden pathways; chains can be swung on – it’s a never ending series of new things to try and it ensures Lumo constantly feels fresh and exciting.
Lumo’s certainly not perfect – some rooms require pixel-perfect jumping that simply should exist when such a tricky perspective is being utilised – but it’s not far off. A stunning love letter to the days of yore, improved by modern day execution. It really is quite brilliant.