When we saw Lume’s cardboard cutout visual style, we were instantly drawn into its unique world, and we weren’t the only ones; the game was an IGF finalist for best art direction. Unfortunately, the experience doesn’t last long, as the game ends almost as soon as it begins.
Lume is a point-and-click adventure focused around solving puzzles. You control a girl whose grandfather goes missing. The game has you completing puzzles to bring power back to his house. The puzzles are interesting, often requiring you to explore the environment before uncovering the answer. For example, to solve one puzzle you must first uncover a melody found on a gramophone and then play it back on a lock made out of piano keys. While not every puzzle is original, all of them are well designed and help move the story forward.
Once you turn the power in the house back on, which takes at most an hour, you’re left with an ending that leaves much to be desired. You wouldn’t know it by the name alone, but Lume is just the first part of a story. We understand the need for the developers to put out a product in order to fund further development, but there’s just not enough here to make Lume worth the asking price, especially without any incentive to return.
There’s also the issue of Lume’s controls. The game is perfectly responsive, but there’s no option to highlight what areas of the environment you can interact with. The girl can only move to certain locations, and figuring out exactly where these are can be a little frustrating. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it’s an oversight that we would assume could be easily fixed in an update with an optional highlight system.
Lume is not a bad game; in fact, what there is of it is very engaging. The length is jarringly short and leaves you wanting more, especially with an ending that makes the entire story feel pointless. Hopefully State of Play can up their game on the next chapter and bring us the beautiful experience Lume could have been.