14 June 2012

Lume: Part 1

Gaming Genres: Graphical, Puzzle Adventure
Story Genres: Drama
Graphical Styles: 2D, Hand-Drawn, Cartoon
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, OnLive
Pricing Model: Pay $
Developer(s): State of Play
Publisher(s): State of Play
Initial Release Date: May 9, 2011
Website(s): Homepage, Homepage (dev), Dev Blog (depreciated), Facebook (dev), Twitter (dev), Steam, Desura, iTunes, iTunes (iPad), iTunes (Mac), OnLive
An illuminating puzzle adventure!

With a set built entirely out of paper and cardboard, all filmed in glorious high definition, Lume is a game with a style unlike any other.

As Lumi, an inquisitive young girl, you discover that power to your grandad’s house has failed. What’s more, he’s nowhere to be seen. Immerse yourself in Lume’s photoreal world, solve perplexing paper puzzles to help restore the power, and uncover a deeper mystery behind the blackout.

Immerse yourself in Lume’s photoreal world, solve perplexing paper puzzles to help restore the power through ingenious eco-technology, and uncover a deeper mystery behind the blackout. Beautifully animated with handcrafted care, this illuminating puzzle adventure game will put visual, aural and memory skills to the test.

Lume is the first part of a larger adventure which is in production now, so keep an eye out!

The first chapter in this paper and cardboard adventure was released in 2011. It is currently going for $6.99 on Steam, which considering its length of 1 to 1.5 hours is a little on the expensive side.

The graphics are what really define Lume. In Lume, beautiful 3D scaled sets are constructed out of paper, cardboard, and a few other building materials and props. These sets are then filmed, with some panning and the like for entering and exiting a scene; But really there is very little movement, which is my only real complaint; They just do not put the 3D set to much use. The minimalistic characters are then superimposed on-top of these scenes. The result is quite visually striking and very tactile.

The game has you in control of Lumi, a bright young girl visiting her grandfather's house. He has gone to town to investigate a recent power outage and left you a note asking you to finish setting up the alternative power generators for his house. As such, you must construct a wind turbine, finish setting up a solar panel system, and connect them both to the house to restore power (but first you are going to have to figure out the combination to the lock on the door).

The gameplay is enjoyable but not of a very consistent difficulty. Some puzzles are straight forward and very easy, others require the use of some ambiguous clues. In particular, there is this one puzzle that is very ambiguous compared to the others. The game otherwise comes off as casual, but if you are not paying close enough attention and are ready for some lateral thinking then I could see many simply never getting this one. Not that I would warn the casual crowd away; I think in this particular case a casual adventurer has just as much chance with the puzzle as anyone, as it can be easy given the right thinking.

I love Lume's graphics, I liked its gameplay, and its plot was surprisingly enjoyable; It is a charming game from top to bottom. I am eagerly awaiting its sequel, and particularly if you can find Lume on sale, it is worth your time.

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Hints/Tips/Walkthrough (+):
Indieness: Indie
Play?: Should Play

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