iPad Game Review: Lume HD for iPad
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Lume HD is a beautiful point-and-click puzzle adventure game with unique visuals and first-rate music. As Lumi, an inquisitive young girl, you discover that power to your grandad's house has failed. What's more, he's nowhere to be seen, but appears to have left you some intriguing clues.
Lume HD, like its iPhone/iPod Touch counterpart Lume, is a point-and click adventure game where you take the role of Lumi and try to solve the mystery of your grandfather's disappearance. To accomplish this, you will solve a variety of paper puzzles and manipulate what the developer describes as eco-technology. This is a cautionary tale of the importance of conservation, but, thankfully, the game never gives up being fun in order to hit you over the head with its environmental message. In addition to the puzzles, every location hides a variety of objects that can/must be interacted with in order to succeed.
Please note the intentional use of the word hides in the previous sentence, as this is one of only two complaints that I have with this unique and well-crafted game. While the environmental puzzles are clever, and even make sense according to this game world, the lack of "mouseover" information like that available in the desktop versions means that you may find yourself randomly clicking on the landscape until you find that last tiny interactive piece needed to progress. This is unfortunately compounded by the lack of a hint system. This is issue is not unique to Lume, however. Even the amazing Machinarium suffers from it, and there doesn't seem to be any workaround for touch-based interfaces... Yet. This isn't anywhere near a gamebreaker issue, and it actually serves to extend gameplay a bit, as you tend to progress a bit slower; which brings us to my other gripe.
The game is pretty short, clocking-in at about an hour. Chapter two is promised, however, and the $3 price tag means that you would be pretty hard-pressed to convince anybody that you aren't getting your money's worth. For those of you who found the game to be even shorter, please know that there was a bug that was recently squashed that made it possible to complete the game early. If you were one of those affected, it's probably time to give the game another try.
Ah, the graphics. Here is where Lume truly sets itself apart. While we iOS gamers have gotten pretty desensitized to good 2D and 3D graphics due to the high quality of the games available, Lume has gone a completely different direction. Instead of rendering the environment the traditional way, State of Play Games chose instead to build their world entirely out of cardboard and paper, and film it. The final effect has been described variously as sumptuous, exquisite, and dreamlike, and I'm here to tell you that those words aren't too very far off the mark. This graphical style will especially appeal to children, and the game's gentle story goes very nicely with it so be prepared to share your device with your youngsters. Until recently, there was a graphical bug that allowed the game to rotate to portrait mode when the device was turned. This has since been fixed, and now the game will only display in landscape.
The music and sound of Lume are also quite delightful. In fact, you might just want to break out the headphones for this one. They match the visuals perfectly, and truly enhance the gaming experience.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
Lume HD currently offers no in-app purchases. Buy it once, and own it all.
Lume HD is a uniquely beautiful adventure game. In addition to its one-of-a-kind visuals, it also sports fantastic music and sound. The game is short, however, and the one-two punch of no mouseover information and no hint system means that it's quite possible to become terminally stuck.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Amazing and unique environmental graphics that live up to the hype.
Sound: - 5 - Great music and sound effects that really pull you into the game.
Controls: - 3 - The interface is plenty responsive, but the lack of mouseover info means you'll be doing a lot of random tapping.
Gameplay: - 4 - Needs some sort of hint system and runs a bit short, but it's a well-crafted and fun adventure.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Save early and save often as there is no autosave. Without mouseover information, you're going to need to do a lot of tapping to find everything that needs finding.
Lume - iOS & Mac OSX Trailer from State of Play on Vimeo.
Developer: State of Play
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Buy App: Lume HD
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