[Review] Lumini

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Speelbaars strikes out with their debut title Lumini, but will this young studio based in the Netherlands impress?
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I started up this short demo with the same restrained mindset I have with most Pre-Alpha projects. I don’t expect much from such underdeveloped pieces, like how I don’t expect grape juice to get me drunk, but I expect to get a taste of whether or not it will make a great wine. Sometimes, there’ll be something that hits all the notes that you want, that you never knew you needed. Lumini struck this cord with me, still so young, it managed to provide for me what I thought Spore failed to deliver.

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In Lumini you control a small swarm of quasi-fish creatures in an underwater and fluorescence environment, filled with dangers. Although the demo had no tutorial to speak of, one was not needed, because button prompts were given. You lead your swarm through a labyrinthine maze of tunnels, collecting small glowing orbs whilst avoiding sharp protrusions and hungry creatures.

Your swarm can develop, to a degree. You start off small, one member, then as you collect the glowing spheres atop small plants and sacrifice them to bizarre crystalline formations, you gain followers. Some with peculiar and useful differences. You can swap what Lumini leads the swarm, lending it’s unique powers to the group, which may aid in it’s survival.

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Lumini is presented in 2.5d form, and just by watching the video below, you’ll get a good taste of their style. It’s characters are bright, brilliant and perfectly juxtapose the natural backgrounds. The glowing ‘cave-drawings’ on the environment are a lovely touch. The movements are smooth and not jerky, and it was incredibly fun to play. The controls are easy to adapt to, and being able to break up the swarm into two smaller shoals was an interesting touch which enabled the team to add a few puzzles in. It’s great fun to share the experience with a friend, but even if you’re not ambidextrous you won’t fail at splitting the swarm.

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For fans of soundtracks that enrich and add to games, such as Bastion or Swords And Sworcery, Lumini also delivers. It’s soundtrack is rich and somewhat raw, it’s something I could expect to hear from a cinematic adventure, at once engaging, exciting and totally engrossing. The music transitions from soft and playful background music to urgent percussion sessions when your swarm is in danger.

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All in all, it’s a fantastic start, my only gripe being that I wanted to play more. Despite being in its infancy it seems as polished as some of the games that I have seen out on steam. If you’re the sort that enjoys a good action/adventure side scroller, this will be right up your street. I for one, cannot wait to sink my teeth into it, once it’s fully formed.

Thoughts? Comments? Fish phobia?
Use that comment box below.
Escapingirl.

You can have a browse of Speelbaars at their website: http://speelbaars.com/
or hit them up on twitter: https://twitter.com/Speelbaars

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