The Nardio Review
Is Lumo Worth Your Time?
How it Plays:
How do you feel about classic isometric platform games? How do you feel about a fixed camera in a 3D plaformer? The first question sounds fine, the second unfortunately is the problem for me. Sure giving the player control of the camera might take away from the isometric design, but after spending hours playing Lumo, I don’t think that design works.
Lumo is a 3D platformer with charming art and interesting level design. The music is really nice and the sound effects are fine. Unfortunately Lumo was just not a fun experience for me. I’ve spent over six hours playing through Lumo for the sake of this review. I honestly mean that, just for the sake of this review. It quickly became clear to me that platforming with this fixed camera angle was just not fun, it’s frustrating. I’d honestly say 95% of time I spent playing Lumo was me failing and frustrated thanks to the camera. Lumo is just not fun. In the end I finally gave up when I got to an area where the ground was covered in ice. I had to deal with ice physics on the floor along with the regular problems thanks to tricky jumps and the camera. The dev also seemed to make the jumps even trickier at this point.
I just can’t spend anymore time trying to like this game or master the camera system. it’s just not worth it for me. If there was a better camera system in place that gave players control then I would love this game. But then again it would make Lumo just another 3D platformer. I’m fine with that, but I guess the dev wants to serve a niche crowd. It’s a shame because there was some really great level design here. When the camera wasn’t driving me insane with hard to get jumps I found myself really admiring the level design.
I really tried to like this game. I really, really wanted not to give this game a bad review, but damn. Ice physics and bad camera? I can’t. The game is marketed as retro with regard to the camera. But the “retro” camera angle feels like an outdated concept. A design decision that makes everything else artificially difficult and more so tedious. It occurs to me that players in the 30-40s range grew up on hard games that weren’t hard because of mechanics, but by design limitations. We see that clearly here with Lumo. Bad camera and memorization jumps worked back then because that’s all we had. We made it work and by overcoming it we felt accomplished. Getting a new game back in those days was rare. We made bad game design work. Now, no. Now games that recreate the “retro” failings of the games of our you feel badly designed to me. I shouldn’t have to overcome these artificial problems. Fixed camera 3D platformers should not be a thing anymore. At least not a camera position that makes platforming hell. Now I expect and want games with intuitive cameras and controls. Visual cues that work. I expect more from my game besides artificial problems like this camera system.
Lumo has two gameplay options, one called “Old School”. Its a retro option that gives players a finite number of lives and no map. That sounds like pure hell to me. I’m glad I choose the other “Adventure” mode that does away with that nonsense. I can’t say the map was of much use as I played. For some silly reason your current whereabouts aren’t shown on the map. Making it totally useless when you really need it. I needed the infinite lives of Adventure mode. Many, many, many cheap deaths were endured.
Lets not forget the first puzzle of lumo that had me so stuck I had to watch a damn lets play with some annoying guy to get by it. This box moving puzzle made no sense to me whatsoever and I was stuck on this for over an hour until I broke down and watched a vid. I never had to do that before for a game. I soured on Lumo very quickly after that. The screen shot for the answer is below:
I could go on and on but it’s pretty clear that there isn’t anything redeeming about this experience for me. I tried, I really tried, but I just don’t like Lumo, nor can I recommend it. I see the hard work that went into the game, and I appreciate it, but with the crappy camera system in place kneecapping it all I have to say:
A Steam game key for Lumo was given to me for free for this review.
- $19.99 for the base game on Steam
- 24.99 for the deluxe edition
- Full Controller Support
- Steam Achievements and Trading cards available
- Keyboard Support
- Single Player Game