Explore the Puzzling World of Lume

Lume is one of those rare puzzle games that you just can’t put down once you start. The design and background music are impeccable in setting a somber yet elegant tone. The puzzle challenges inside are also fun and quite the brain teaser.

The app was created by State of Play Games who have already begun work on the sequel, Lume 2. The popularity of Lume is not unfounded, as it certainly offers a unique mobile experience. There are some iOS users who just hate buying games and do not enjoy playing them, but if you like complex puzzles or even enjoy colorful app interfaces Lume is an amazing example.

Music & Visuals

I have to point out the game’s visuals before anything else. The whole world is created using paper and cardboard coupled with tricky lighting effects. It sets a tone of surrealism and really gives off a naturally creative vibe.

Opening Lume forest and visuals

Opening Lume forest and visuals

And another big contributor is the musical tone. When first launching the game you’ll be presented with a colorful intro piece. This is where you can pickup from a previous save file or start a new game from the beginning. Their music is both spooky and enchanting, which is a very mysterious combination if you think about it.

On the graphics and music alone I’d have to say Lume blows the competition sky high. There really aren’t many other game developers working on a similar idea. The Lume dev team at State of Play Games put together their own demo video, and it goes over this interface and some of the internal game screens. Check it out directly on Vimeo or find it on the Lume project page.

Simplified Gameplay

I have to admit that lacking any system of controls was a bummer. It doesn’t take away from the game’s overall feel, but it does make everything way too simple. There is almost no replay value after you’ve completed the initial puzzles.

New Game/Continue Menu Buttons

New Game/Continue Menu Buttons

The only interaction is created by tapping on a section of the screen to target that area. Your character will run to the spot and interact with the object if possible. This is also the same setup for creating a new game file and scrolling through text bubbles in the menu system.

It’s definitely a puzzling experience compared to some alternative mobile games. Objects which you can use are not always evident right away. There is a lot of guesswork involved and frequently results in breaking down to find a walkthrough guide online. But if you dig these insane puzzlers then these controls are right up your alley.

Complex Puzzles

Speaking on these crazy puzzles, they actually follow in a similar visual style as the game world. You are often found interacting with different pieces of the game world in a closer view.

Unlocking door knob puzzle

Unlocking door knob puzzle

In the early stages of the game you need to rewire her grandfather’s solar panel. It appears as a jumbled mess of wires with rotating squares to form a 2-dimensional picture puzzle. Another example is the doorknob and lock combinations found inside the house. Each piece uses the same answers on every new game, so they are difficult at first but quick to memorize.

Lack of Replay Value

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to Lume. Unless you are sharing the game with your friends it’s unlikely that you’ll ever play through the series 3 or 4 times. The puzzles are so easy that once you understand what to do there is practically no challenge left.

Lumi outside grandpa's house

Lumi outside grandpa's house

Additionally, the game has a built-in help system if you are ever stuck. The tips are pretty obvious and you’d be hard pressed to still be missing the solutions. And there are even online guide walkthroughs to help you the rest of the way. But I have to admit that without any idea of what to do, Lume is extremely challenging. You won’t regret spending the $1.99 and having this game around to kill some time.

The Future of Lume

I find the game can be completed in 2-3 hours at most. If you have some idea of how to go about the puzzles you can move quickly in about 1 hour, but the pace picks up in rapid succession so it’s worthwhile to move slowly and take your time.

It’s a great puzzle game and very creative for the genre. In the App Store I’ve seen Lume featured plenty of times and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. I would be really excited to see their designers crank out a second game with a bit more incentive. Many of these puzzles could have been setup with random values at each new game file.

State of Play Games logo

State of Play Games logo

Granted, it is understandable that the developers would have wanted to quickly get a product into the store, and Lume 2 promises to be an even broader expansion of the idea. It’s difficult to say exactly who this game is targeted for, but I feel Lume has entered an untargeted niche with plenty of room to flourish, and maybe even breed some other exciting ideas.

Final Thoughts

I’d have to highly recommend Lume to anybody who is interested in iOS apps, especially developers or user interface designers. The music is simply stunning and the visuals are beyond anything I’ve seen before.

I was not disappointed with the game at all — in fact, I’d argue Lume has given me a whole new perspective on what mobile gaming could be about.


Summary

An intense puzzler for iOS created using stop-motion video. It follows a young girl named Lumi whose grandfather mysteriously disappears after the house loses power.

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