Lumino City is the sequel to Lume, a critically acclaimed puzzle platformer from a few years back which, as the game at hand, was created not through digital rendering, but entirely by hand out of paper, card, miniature lights and motors. The result has been released and it has not disappointed.
The story revolves around a young girl who goes in search of her grandfather, who apparently gets eldernapped right at the story’s inception while she’s downstairs preparing some paper tea. What follows is a trip through multiple handmade locations, each with its own theme and puzzle.
The characters the girl meets along the way are comical, representing different types of people who would coexist in such a city. We have a grumpy old man who runs the winch, one entrance to the city, a couple of older women who have nothing better to do than to exchange impressions and gossip out of their windows, the flag fancying, cat enthusiast ex-mayor and a bunch of others. Their dialogue (purely text) can sometimes help you, but most times it’s just adventure-like dialogue, like in the olden days of the genre.
Because the city is actually physical in its entirety, sprawling on a set as you see it in the game, it makes sense for the progression to be structured like it is. You arrive by some means in a certain location, go around solving a few puzzles in order to advance, interacting with the people who live there and then carry on. Gameplay-wise, you have your standard point & click mechanic, to move and interact with objects (which are not highlighted, I’m glad to say) and an inventory. That’s pretty much it: minimalistic and functional.
The puzzles, I’m happy to announce, require some thought. They range from finding objects which are not obvious to use in puzzles to the puzzles themselves, which require you to think logically (for example, in your very first serious puzzle you have to use lemons, whose juice is an electricity conductor, to connect negative and positive points in a circuit). They are quite enjoyable and they can stump you for a few minutes if you don’t pay attention. The graphics… there are none, really. At least not in the usual sense used on this site. The paper models are simple but look quite nice and serve to give life to this weird world.
In conclusion, this game is a good callback to the old adventure genre, which combines hand-crafted environments with smart puzzles and witty characters. If you like adventure games and miss their golden age, this is a sweet reminder of those days.
Rating: GOOD (shite, cash grab, mediocre, good, excellent).