Lumino City

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Lumino City App Poster Image
Stunning visuals and tough puzzles delight and challenge.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn critical-thinking skills, inductive and deductive reasoning, logic and pattern recognition, sequencing, musical technique, and much more. Though it isn't explicitly a learning game, its rich inquiry-based gameplay brims with experimentation, hypothesis testing, discovery, and logic puzzles. While it's not social in a traditional sense, it frequently requires players to work with the characters and get them to help each other, which introduces the idea of cooperation. Kids will become immersed in the narrative, grapple with the puzzles, and practice perseverance as they travel through the beautiful world of Lumino City.

Ease of Play

Occasionally it takes a few taps to get where you'd like to go, but that's a minor and infrequent annoyance. Otherwise, everything is fluid, smooth, and intuitive. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lumino City is a mysterious adventure puzzle game in the classic style of The Room Three, Zoombinis, and Monument Valley that features a lush, vibrant world created entirely with physical models that were photographed and animated. The protagonist is a wily young woman named Lumi who embarks on a quest to save her grandfather after he's mysteriously kidnapped. To guide her through the city, players must complete numerous tricky puzzles; the challenge might frustrate younger kids, but with some adult help kids can practice persistence, pattern recognition, and hypothesis testing. Note that there's no privacy policy available at the time of review. 

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What's it about?

LUMINO CITY puts players in charge of Lumi, an adventurous young woman, as she journeys through a fanciful city in pursuit of her grandfather who was mysteriously kidnapped in the game's opening moments. By collecting items, applying them in clever ways, solving extremely tricky puzzles -- which require a huge array of critical-thinking and reasoning skills to complete -- and carefully sequencing actions, Lumi makes her way from one unique part of the city to another. Gameplay is similar to other puzzle adventure games involving point-and-click (or tap, on mobile devices) to steer Lumi or manipulate puzzles, and Lumi has to help characters or get them to work together to get things working again.

Is it any good?

It's no exaggeration to say that this unique puzzler is one of the most interesting, beautiful, and delightful games in years. Kids and adults alike will be blown away by its gorgeous visuals, captivated by its haunting ambient music, and reeled in by puzzle after mind-bending puzzle. The game's big draw is its amazing visuals: Every environment was physically built by hand as a scale model with real-world objects, photographed, and filmed with extreme precision to make the experience at once totally immersive and technically astounding. Beyond the appealing graphics, the characters and dialogue are memorable and funny, the mechanisms connect one screen to another in unexpected ways, and the mysterious story keeps players guessing at every twist and turn. Young kids will love watching the game as an interactive storybook, and older kids will get hooked on the puzzles. Aside from problem solving, kids also watch as Lumi helps characters and works with them to solve problems. It's well worth the cost -- a small price for an unforgettable experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about persistence and patience with tricky puzzles and confusing situations. Which strategies do kids use to solve problems? If they get frustrated, what can they do?

  • Discuss ethics and moral decision-making. Lumi sometimes sneaks past guards, steals items, or tricks people on her way to save her grandfather. These choices could be confusing to kids as they present tricky dilemmas: Is it ever OK to break rules or laws in pursuit of a broader goal, no matter how noble it may be?

  • Talk about how the game was made. Both the game itself and its companion "making of" video app might inspire kids to pull out those popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners to build their own beautiful worlds. 

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For kids who love puzzle and adventure games

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