Mobile Game of the Week: Lumi HD (iOS)

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Mobile Game of the Week: Lumi HD (iOS)

Lumi HD

Platform: iOS
Developer: Kydos Studios / Foundation Mobile
Publisher: Foundation Mobile
Release Date: 12/20/2011
Price: $.99

I am of the personal persuasion that the opening training levels of iOS games tend to be a little too timid. I understand the desire to attract casual audiences, but when I boot up a game for the first time, I am looking to be wowed by something right off the bat. In Lumi HD, it was easy enough to see what foot the developers were first putting forth. As much as I can be a stickler about games that look pretty but lack substance, there’s something to be said about visuals as beautiful as those in Lumi. Lush environments fill each world, abstractions about light and dark function beautifully and animations are silky smooth. This is, quite simply, one of the best-looking 2D games in the iOS App Store right now, and that’s no easy feat.

If that weren’t enough, the game feels as easy to play as it is easy to look at. Playing as a little Pikachu-like creature, your job is to bring light back to your world that has been overtaken by a sinister darkness. The concept might sound a little predictable for game this cute, but Lumi pulls it off with both charm and grace. Although the indie game was developed by the French designers Kydos Studios and released on Xbox Live Arcade back in 2010, Lumi’s emphasis on playing with gravity and Angry Birds-like catapulting make an iOS port seem like a no-brainer.

lumi shot.jpg

Thinking back to those first moments in the opening training level of Lumi, I remember trying to jump on the little creatures before me only to find that you could not kill them. They were just there — just to be cute. While it made me a little uneasy at first, the pace of the game quickly picked up. In the relatively short ten levels of the game, I explored a variety of beautifully rendered natural environments, collecting fireflies and bringing light and life back to the world. Lumi clearly draws inspiration from games like LocoRoco, but has an undeniably fun play style of its own that works great on the touch-sensitive iOS platform.

Although early on I had a few complaints about pacing and difficulty, I was truly hooked at Level 4, where I found myself running from a giant bird-like creature stomping forward in the blurred-out foreground of the screen. That’s when I knew Lumi wasn’t afraid to be more than cute. It wasn’t afraid to be ambitious — perhaps even risky. That’s also when I knew this wasn’t going to be just another physics-based platformer for the iOS: It just may be one of the very best out there. All I could ask for is more.