Lumote is the first title by Luminawesome Games, and it certainly lives up to the company’s name. With its vibrant visuals, relaxing atmosphere, and clever color-based puzzle mechanics, Lumote is a great way to start 2020 for anyone looking for a new puzzle-platformer to add to their collection.
Developer: Luminawesome Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: February 20th, 2020
In the game, players assume the role of Lumote, a squishy little jelly-like creature on a quest to overthrow the Mastermote. To do so, you’ll need to descend a sprawling, mazelike series of floating platforms, turning the pulsing powerlines that lead to the Mastermote from red to blue.
The game’s “story” is conveyed through visual cues, and the various squeaks, squeals, bloops, and other vaguely word-like vocalizations of Lumote and the bizarre creatures you’ll encounter. There’s no understandable spoken dialog, or even text outside of the tutorial’s button prompts.
Lumote‘s world is one giant, continuous environment, completely devoid of loading screens, aside from the brief transition to a new layer of floating platforms and puzzles. You can even see future or past areas by looking up or down. Despite this, the game is exceptionally smooth and well-optimized, and I never encountered any noticeable performance dips.
Lumote‘s bizarre, bioluminescent world and visuals are definitely one of its strongest features. This game and its environments look absolutely gorgeous. Vivid red, blue, or purple lights strobe all around you, and the environments are full of various strange, jelly-like creatures.
The visuals and creature designs feel inspired by the alien-like lifeforms that live in the darkest depths of the oceans, with a hint of surreal, biotech structures and architecture.
This is complimented by a soothing soundtrack that helps to reinforce the game’s chill atmosphere. Despite being a puzzle game at its core, Lumote is an extremely relaxing experience that invites players to explore it at their own pace.
The actual gameplay of Lumote involves solving a series of self-contained puzzle rooms. There are around 50 puzzles altogether, interspaced with “towers” that gradually take you closer to the Mastermote’s core.
The puzzles all revolve around changing the colors of the bioluminescent world around you, from red to blue. Each puzzle area has strobing powerlines that lead to a flower, that acts as the locking mechanism to the door to the next puzzle. Each powerline has a switch that you’ll need to activate to turn it blue.
To do all of this, you’ll need to possess creatures in the world around you, by jumping on top of them, and moving them around. The most common of these are squishy translucent cubes that absorb color, and are most often what you need to place on the switches to turn them blue.
Typically, most puzzles involve trying to figure out how to get to these creatures, and once you get to them, figuring out how to get them to the puzzle’s switches.
Opening up the pathways to each switch all involve exploiting the game’s color trinity. Red and blue push against one another, while purple is a neutral color that can work in conjunction with one of the other two, though not at the same time.
Lumote‘s puzzles are very well paced, and do a great job gradually adding new mechanics and creatures, as soon as you get comfortable with what you’ve learned so far.
Some of the first creatures you’ll encounter are collections of long, plant-like growths reminiscent of tube worms. These grow or shrink based on their current color compared to the color of the object currently sitting on them. They can be used to make bridges, elevators, or to push an object.
You’ll also find two types of floating platforms that follow laser pathways, pufferfish that can create said pathways, and flying jellyfish. Each creature has their own little quirks and uses, and the game comes up with some really clever puzzles about manipulating them based on how they react to colors.
For example, the large square jellyfish shock creatures of the opposite color, sending them flying forward. Several puzzles involving these creatures revolve around figuring out how to use them to send yourself, or another object, flying across gaps or other obstacles.
As someone who is only a casual fan of puzzle-platformers, I found Lumote‘s puzzles to be just right in terms of difficulty. I was never stuck on any of them for too long, and found the game’s pacing and difficulty curve to be fairly well balanced. I finished the game in just under six hours, and imagine that people who are better at puzzles could probably beat it faster.
While I have very few complaints about Lumote overall, I did encounter a handful of bugs. There were a few specific puzzles where the creatures you need to get to spawned in the wrong places. You can see what I mean below.
Luckily, you can easily “reset” a puzzle by throwing the creature you need off a cliff, causing it to respawn where its supposed to be.
On the other hand, the reset function can be a little too aggressive at times. There were quite a few instances where the puzzles would reset for seemingly no reason at all. Several puzzles involve placing the cube-shaped jelly creatures on the floating jellyfish to carry them to higher areas.
Barely clipping a piece of the environment will sometimes cause the jelly creatures to “die” and respawn, forcing you to go all the way back to the beginning of the puzzle to reclaim it. There were some puzzles where this happened to me several times, making a relatively straightforward puzzle take longer than it should have been.
Glitches aside, Lumote is a wonderful and relaxing puzzle-platformer. It has a fantastic, vibrant aesthetic that helps create an interesting and creative world to explore.
The puzzles strike a nice balance between being clever and unique, without being too complicated or difficult, though this could be a turn off if you are looking for a really challenging experience.
However, for those of you who just want a cute and calming puzzle experience in a beautiful and atmospheric world, then Lumote might be just want you are looking for.
Lumote was reviewed on Windows PC using a review copy provided by Luminawesome Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.