By Stewart Sutherland
A charming little labour of love, Lume is a game that comes with just the right blend of fun visuals, soothing sounds and clever puzzles. An indie game by State of Play, the title revolves around Lumie, a granddaughter on a mission to turn the lights back on, one at a time.
Lume’s story is relatively brief, but is only the first step in what the developers hope will be a longer, continued story. Lumie, our little protagonist, visits her grandfather to find he’s left for town and the power’s off. A note asks her to do what she can about the power and to let herself in, if she can solve the lock on the house.
Throughout the brief gameplay, Lumie will notice that the power in the faraway town also looks to have been switched off. As Lume’s tagline is actually “An illuminating puzzle adventure”, I can only guess how many lights will power on by the time the series concludes. By the time the puzzles are solved and the lamps do start to glow, Granddad has returned from his trip and says he has quite a story to tell. Roll credits.
Before talking about the puzzles, I just have to draw attention to the game’s visuals. Like Media Molecule’s flagship title LittleBigPlanet, Lume is set in a cute little craft world. The difference is that Lume actually is a full, constructed scene that State of Play have filmed and edited. 3D scenery and rooms have all been built with care – it’s the little live touches like the string of fairy lights that really give it that final touch of style.
Lume’s soundtrack is a continuous soothing melody that fits the atmosphere perfectly. There’s no sense of urgency or stress to solve puzzles in a time limit, but if you find yourself growing frustrated the music definitely helps keep you grounded.
The puzzles of Lume are a mix of clever item usage (not unlike the Telltale Games titles) and real brain teasers. You’ll be using a few items around the house in your short mission, but working out how to open the closet to get them will have you straining your ears and scribbling notes down as you go.
My only real complaint is Lume’s length: it’s so short! It might take you a few minutes to work out each puzzle, but if you know what you’re doing you’ll scrape out about fifteen minutes of play time. Again, I really class this as a prologue of what I hope will be a much bigger game. For something that was actually constructed and filmed, it does its job of leading into events well. I’ll still keep my fingers crossed that State of Play will be pumping some of the money made here to building a bigger set to play with.
Lume is available now, and has been for some time. It might cost a little much for such a brief indie game, but it’s the first step in a much larger, ongoing adventure. Get it now and get in on the ground floor, then wait eagerly for Part 2!
8 OUT OF 10