Lumo is an isometric puzzle game aiming to emulate retro puzzle games of the past. While it had released in mid-2016 on PC, a recent port to the Nintendo Switch allows players to solve puzzles while on the go. This can give players something that could potentially be a relaxing puzzle game to play on the go, if you can excuse some of the shortfalls of what comes with emulating a genre of the past. This is our Lumo review for Nintendo Switch.
Lumo sees the player start outside of an arcade as what looks like a teenager, though no real narrative is given. After doing a bit of wandering around the area, you’ll find yourself digitized into the computer in what seems to be a quick reference to Tron. Afterwards, you will take control of a wizard and begin wandering around a giant dungeon, both figuring out how to play and where to go. There is no indication if this was an expected event, though it is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.
The environment and ambiance of the dungeon in Lumo is surprisingly bright and light-hearted. While you are controlling a mage who is trying to find his way out of a dungeon, the cartoony art style and fun sound effects help to keep the player entertained and having fun. The world also has some silly easter eggs in it, such as an elevator ride with Whistlin’ Rick Wilson’s Hold My Hand Very Tightly which caught me so off guard I had to stop and laugh when it started to play.
While the controls are simple, picking a control style that makes sense to the player is crucial to playing the game. Three different control styles are offered, two different isometric directions and normal directions, each determining if moving the joystick around is oriented to the character or the controller. Precise movement and platforming are required in all puzzles, which is part of what can make the game so frustrating to get a handle on. Without practice learning where your character is within the confines of the room, judging your movement can be difficult due to the isometric perspective causing you to over- or under-estimate your movement around the room. This can lead to a lot of unfair deaths during the learning curve, as well as objects are hidden behind others causing problems with judging depth during jumps.
While Lumo is a charming throwback game to the puzzlers of old, many of the issues with the game’s older design rear their head again here. Those who are fans of the genre will enjoy the game, while those going in blind will most likely find themselves frustrated with the game.
Note: Our Nintendo Switch copy of Lumo was provided by PR