Welcome to the first installment of Kairi’s Katch-Up Thursdays.  The results were tallied and the clear favorite of the first vote was the 2010 Dream-Build-Play winner Lumi by Kydos Studios.

I hate you guys.

And obviously the feeling is mutual, because anyone with love in their hearts would not subject anyone to the sheer torture that is Lumi.  I’m guessing it won the vote for the same reason that it won Dream-Build-Play: it looks good, and to most idiots, that’s all that matters.  Game play be damned, if the graphics are pretty, we’ll line up to buy it and then spend hours convincing ourselves that we didn’t just waste perfectly good cash.  I bought both the Xbox Live Indie Game version and the port to iOS, so I’m doubly dumb.  Full of more DERP than a “Bring Back Knight Rider” convention am I.

I get it guys. It's got good graphics. Who cares? The game SUCKS!

At first, I figured Lumi would be a generic 90s style mascot platformer.  You play as what looks like a premature, still semi-embryonic Pikachu thingie that has to save his species and the world when a race of invaders steals all the light.  Your Pika-thingie has the ability to create red and blue electric currents that cling to various spots on the screen.  Red will cling to red and repel from blue and vice-versa.  Sounds great, except that you have to press a different button for each.  Blue is done with the left trigger and red with the right one.  This is an unintuitive nightmare the likes of which you can’t believe.

But I didn’t really care all that much over the first few levels.  They were nice and breezy.  You just had to collect a few fireflies, load them into a couple arks, restore light to the stage, and move on.  Easy peasy.  But then you start encountering water traps, enemies that fire projectiles that kill you in one shot, and magnet platforms that fade in and out of existence.  Oh dears, Lumi is a punisher.

The juxtaposition of bright, beautiful, child-friendly graphics and tough-as-nails level design was completely out of left field, even though a few of my fans warned me about it.  After the first couple levels, I didn’t believe them.  Bunch of liars they must have been.  Well, there’s egg on my face.  Lumi gets so brutally difficult that it’s almost like it started its period.  But once again, we have to examine why its difficult.  Is it the level design?  The enemies?  Not really.  The fault clearly lies in the control scheme.  Using the magnetic red/blue powers to launch yourself from floating platform to floating platform is frustrating, because there’s so much you need to keep track of.  What colors point you in what directions, what buttons you need to press, and when do you then hit the opposite button to repel you to towards the next area.  This is like asking someone to take their driver’s license test while practicing sword-swallowing.  You know it’s a bad idea before you even start.  Surely someone at Kydos had played a video game at some point in their life and recognized the control scheme was unacceptable.

As bad as the Xbox version is, the iOS port is even worse.  And it really pains me to say that, because one major flaw in the console version is fixed: the whole “separate colors” thing.  On iPhone, you tap the screen and it sucks you into whatever is the closest platform.  It’s such a no-brainer of a design choice that I feel like I should sarcastically type DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, but I’m too classy for that.  Unfortunately, movement is controlled with one of those fake iOS joystick things they map to the corner of the screen.  They suck.  I call them “Joyshits.”  I don’t care what anyone says: those fucking things never work, they are not accurate, and they need to be abolished by any means necessary.  I don’t care if we have to pull eggheads off of curing cancer to do it.  Joyshits have got to go.

On iPhone, I made it to the first level that its possible to die on.  And trust me, I sure realized it.  At least on Xbox, if I push the analog stick to the right, the fucking dude moves right.  Here, if I try to push right, I’m just as likely to not be pressing anything at all because my thumb is not properly lined up.  And NO, I’m not going to buy some peripheral that lets you suction-cup an actual joystick to the screen.  It would be like surgically grafting a tumor onto it.  Can’t we all just accept that not every game belongs on iPhone?  I know those precious iBucks are tempting to make a play for, but do the right thing.  If your game requires the precision of a control stick, you should probably put it on a platform that HAS A FUCKING CONTROL STICK!

The iOS port. I seriously doubt anyone has actually beaten it.

My overall Lumi experience ended during the first boss encounter.  Some giant rhino-bug thingie started chasing me through a forest and I had to make a run for it.  The stage is laid out like a hopping puzzle, sort of like the boss encounters in Super Meat Boy.  Only that game had something resembling responsive controls.  In Lumi, you cannot afford a single wasted second or misstep.  One mistake and you will have to start over.  After at least a dozen tries at this, I came to two realizations.  First, I was having no fun at all and hadn’t since I started Lumi.  Second, I must have really pissed you guys off something fierce for THIS pile of shit to win the vote.  Rage quit, console off, controller thrown, and you guys are now officially on my shit list.  I hold grudges, and I will remember this.  Pay back will be mine.  Oh yes.  I have plenty of free time and access to Africanized Bees.  Be afraid.

Lumi was developed Kydos Studio

240 Microsoft Points and $0.99 think Lumi is really just run-off of aborted Pikachus in the making of this review.

Don’t forget to vote for next week’s game on Twitter.  Votes earn you a place in a drawing for 1600 Microsoft Points.  Check the original post for a list of games you can choose from

Thanks to Michael Wilson for the banner.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

15 Responses to Lumi

  1. Pingback: Introducing “Kairi Katch-Up Thursdays” « Indie Gamer Chick

  2. You should play Decay next thursday, I found it not to be a glowing piece of fairy dust shit like Lumi is.

  3. Starglider says:

    It is well known that the criteria for winning Dream Build Play are ‘cute, colourful 2D platformer’. Shooters never win, 3D games almost never make it to the finals. As such Lumi was a home run in terms of pandering to the judges, but I really thought they still had enough integrity to pick a fun, playable gamd over ‘cute graphics’. I guess not…

  4. Kairi Vice says:

    Decay seems to be running away with the vote early. Anyone have an ETA on what each part of the series takes to finish, so I know how much time I’ll need to play through them? I take it the mechanics are the same from entry to entry, that’s it’s like Oozi: one game divided into four parts?

    • David says:

      If I remember well, it’s around 1 hour each part except the last one which is a bit longer because it has harder puzzles (to be honest, I didn’t finish the last one because I got bored trying to find out what I had to do)

    • Well it really depends on how good you are at point and click adventures really, if it’s anything to go by it took me about two hours to play through it all(for memory, I played this aaaages ago). Part four adds in some new mechanics(other than the obvious change in puzzles) such as turning 360 degrees compared to static images and achievement-things.

  5. Mike T says:


    I totally, totally disagree about the gameplay, difficulty and control mechanism, but it’s interesting to see someone with an alternative point of view go absolutely apeshit over it. 😀

    Now, I need to buy some materials to build an Africanized Bee shelter…

  6. Pingback: Arkedo Series « Indie Gamer Chick

  7. fjfg says:

    “Unfortunately, movement is controlled with one of those fake iOS joystick things they map to the corner of the screen. They suck. I call them “Joyshits.” I don’t care what anyone says: those fucking things never work, they are not accurate, and they need to be abolished by any means necessary. I don’t care if we have to pull eggheads off of curing cancer to do it. Joyshits have got to go.”

  8. IndieMario says:

    I need to check these reviews more often. Unfortunately I bought Lumi before reading this review. And wow… a fake joyshit is worst than a bad toupée. Things like these should be obvious during game development!

  9. Pingback: Indies in Due Time: Dream-Build-Play 2012 Episode 3 « Indie Gamer Chick

  10. Mataeus says:

    I really enjoyed Lumi. I like the in-some-ways-similar Kaleidoscope better (re-clouring the world instead of relighting it) but I still enjoyed the concept. I also enjoyed the way you had to press the right button to make you repel / attract.

  11. Pingback: Magnetic By Nature | Indie Gamer Chick

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