A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lumo is a downloadable single-player adventure-puzzle game. Players take control of a character pulled into a retro-themed game world and have to figure out how to maneuver through various obstacles. It's a relatively simple game to play, though timing and precision are a major factor and can prove a bit frustrating. There's not any in-game dialogue to help players along or move the story forward, but that also means there's no offensive language for younger players. Violence in the game is mild, limited to interactions with obstacles such as spikes as poison. When the player dies, the character vanishes in a flash of light and restarts the current room.
What's it about?
The day seems to start like any other in LUMO, though this one involves a trip to a vintage gaming show. While looking over the various tables and exhibits, you come across a strange computer sitting along in a corner. Suddenly, the computer fires up, hits you with a strange beam, and sucks you right into the screen. You wake up as the hero in a fantasy-themed puzzle game. As you explore the rooms that surround you, looking for a way back to the real world, you quickly discover that there's even more to this strange adventure than meets the eye. One minute you're in a medieval dungeon, the next you're surrounded by space-age electronics that looks like it's been ripped from any sci-fi staple found in an '80s arcade. You'll need to use your wits, your surroundings, and a few extra tricks to navigate your way through this retro-gaming mash-up and hopefully find your way back home.
Is it any good?
A little taste of nostalgia can go a long way, and sometimes it's great to pack up your expectations and enjoy a little road trip down memory lane. That's exactly what you get with Lumo, a fun little retro-style isometric puzzler in the vein of old-school games such as Solstice and Marble Madness. The game is a gorgeous-looking title, with a lot of charm and quirkiness not often found these days. The combination of visuals and music works great to create a sort of Zen-like state of calm and peace of mind you'll need when facing the obstacles ahead.
While Lumo is a unique experience and can be a lot of fun, there's also a lot of frustration. The game basically throws you in the deep end of the pool without teaching you how to swim. There's absolutely no tutorial, no in-game directions, no dialogue, or anything else to help you figure out what you're doing. Each of the interlocking rooms is a new case of trial and error as you rack your brain to figure out what you're supposed to be doing. There's no hand-holding here. You're either up to the mental challenge or you're stuck. More maddening are the rooms that require pinpoint precision and timing to advance, which can be a bit awkward to figure out, especially considering the game's isometric view. Despite this, Lumo still offers up a solid, enjoyable brain-teasing experience, filled with plenty of old-school appeal and tongue-in-cheek references to keep you coming back for more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about solving puzzles. How can puzzle games help to develop critical-thinking skills that will be useful outside of games?
Talk about the evolution and legacy of video games. How have games changed over the years, and how do games from the past influence more modern releases?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Rising Star Games
- Release date: May 24, 2016
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Robots
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Violent References, Comic Mischief
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.