By: Ted Chow
What do you get when you mix real paper models with a captivating story of a granddaughter looking for her grandfather? Lumino City of course! In what is considered an impeccable feat of craftsmanship in creating the entire game’s environment in real life, the melding result of two different mediums is awe inspiring.
The love and care is apparent in Lumino City and the warm interpersonal story of a grandfather and her granddaughter makes this game wholesome and a worthwhile play experience for people of all ages.
The controls are as easy as they come. With all actions requiring just the click of a mouse, the game gives ample time for the player to enrich themselves in the scenery. The camera angle is also unique as the game world will rotate in a way that showcases the entirety of the real world replica.
These instances only occur when you move to new sections or get into areas that require a camera to naturally pan. Overall, it is an interesting take to work the controls around a real replica even if the controls and interactions are simple in nature.
If there’s one thing that stands out in Lumino City compared to other games, it would be the visually interesting choice of incorporating a real replica into the game’s design. While the characters feel more in line with animated sprites, the interaction of the game characters with real assets give off a sense of novelty. The only game that comes to mind that attempted to go about world creation to the level of Lumino City would be that of LittleBigPlanet.
This game is difficult to categorize into any modern game art style, and that is why it instills a greater appreciation of the intricacies and time to create something so riveting and genuine. The soundtrack is also light-hearted and mellow to the themes of the game, and much of the ambience helps to reinforce the allure of the world’s happenings.
Lumino City is strictly a puzzler that will put up some challenging obstacles that may require some time and thought. The varying difficulty may be OK for those that enjoy the effort of solving puzzles, but it may not be the friendliest towards casuals or little children.
The handyman’s manual does provide helpful pictures to guide you to the right solution, but flipping through hundreds of pages can be daunting to say the least. Still, for those that like to immerse themselves in tough puzzles and don’t mind trial and error, Lumino City is a great title in that respect.
The game’s story will put you in the shoes of Lumi, granddaughter to the Handyman, a genius mechanic now retired. The Handyman is kidnapped during tea time, and it’s now up to Lumi to rescue her grandfather and bring him back home.
While the story is cliché by all standards, the heartwarming quest does melt the ice this holiday season. The story’s epilogue also ties up nicely and provides some food for thought on some larger social issues if you wish to infer further down that path and the sprinkles of symbolism.
Aside from the puzzles and story, Lumino City is exclusively a single-player experience that will vary in length and play time. However, that doesn’t cheapen the title, as it goes to show that even great games can come out of modest budgets, game direction and dedication.
Despite some difficult challenges and rummaging through an encyclopedia of text in the handyman’s manual, Lumino City is a great game that will warm the soul with its narrative and inspiring visual aesthetics.