Remember Lumini? Sure you do – I covered it less than a month ago! Although unlike this article, that one was based on details provided by the developer, rather than hands-on experience. While still in a rough and unfinished state (pre-alpha, ya know?), so far it’s every bit as interesting as I’d hoped.
Following a brief introductory cut-scene, which didn’t explain much of anything, the lives of a small lumini swarm were placed firmly in my hands. Or more precisely, my Xbox 360 controller, which the game recommended using. Playing this game with a keyboard can be tricky, with the whole ‘swarm flowing’ (that will be an official genre at some point) mechanic. You just don’t have the same level of maneuverability with digital keys, as with analog sticks. That’s not to say precision and speed were ever of the essence, but there were times when I had to make sharp turns, dodging hostile creatures, plants, and other environmental hazards.
If you’re not careful, these could easily end up snatching one or more lumini. Don’t let that slow you down though. Along the way, you’ll come across more than enough eggs(?) to acquire replacements from specific locations, indicated by large glowing cubes. This can be incredibly helpful since keeping as many alive as possible is rather important; strength in numbers and all that.
See, some of the aforementioned hazards can be neutralized by targeting their weak spot, ensuring safe passage… but if you’re not careful, it could also result in the untimely demise of an entire race! You’re the lumini’s only chance at prosperity after all, and should the last one perish, it’s game over. You’ll be able to respawn with a full team at the last visited cube though, and, well, let’s just say that death isn’t easily accomplished.
While the experience felt incredibly relaxing, almost zen-like, there were times when the pace came to a grinding halt. In order to pass through gates, the group had to be split in two and activate whatever mechanism opened them (like your average pressure plate puzzle). These were few and far between, however, and most of my time was spent guiding lumini through narrow caverns, with rarely a thing to slow me down. Fun times!
At first, I figured each lumini was expendable, and that its replacement was waiting at the nearest cube. Turns out, that’s not exactly how it is. There are in fact several different types available, and from what I can tell, only the basic sort gets a replacement. Couldn’t quite figure out where the ‘boost’ or ‘shield’ lumini came from either, though I suppose that could just be a case of pre-alpha. Work-in-progress, and all that.
In spite of that, this slice of Lumini certainly made me eager to see where they’re going with it, so I’d say that’s a ‘mission accomplished’, for Speelbaars. The only downside is that I can’t tell you to “go play it”, since the demo isn’t publicly available. I’m sure one will be available at some point ahead of launch, though. Until then, my impressions and the trailer below will have to do.