Hands-On Lumo: Bringing Back the Isometric Adventure

Hands-On Lumo: Bringing Back the Isometric Adventure

Spring Equinox arrives later than usual

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Previews on

If you've been gaming for as long as I have then you're probably familiar with isometric adventure games. Although they haven't been popular since the '80s, this new title looks very promising for the genre's future.

Lumo screenshot 1
This fellow in the giant blue hat sure looks familiar...

I grew up obsessed with Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos for NES. Being thrust into a mysterious world without any clue of what to do or where to go really captured my imagination. I would spend hours aimlessly traversing the open-ended world while drawing maps as I discovered previously unvisited locations. I wasn't aware until somewhat recently that a sequel for SNES came out called Equinox. After buying a copy online and playing around with it for a bit, the magic just wasn't the same. It's still a great game but it simply didn't live up to its predecessor. However, my fondness for the genre recently returned because I had the opportunity to play a short demo of the upcoming Lumo. I can thankfully say that it captures the essence of Solstice beautifully. Heck, the main character even wears a similar big blue hat. So, let's explore this experience more and discuss what to expect in the full game when it releases in just a few short weeks.

Lumo screenshot 2
Quirky moments like this make exploring the game world even more enjoyable

Right off the bat, it's obvious that Lumo is much more straightforward than its inspirations which is a good thing for today's gamers. Even I would probably be put off if it was as convoluted as Solstice. After a little exploration as the pint-sized hero, he learns the ability to jump. I'm sure that'll come in handy... right? Upon uncovering a handful of rooms, I realised that I could rotate the camera slightly and this helped making jumps between floating platforms a lot easier. It wasn't all walking around and jumping, though, since there were a few puzzles to figure out. Besides the stereotypical block-pushing scenarios, it was awesome to come across a glowing block that you can pick up after jumping from it. It's a strange mechanic for sure but it'll be very familiar to anyone who has played Solstice.

Lumo screenshot 3
Good thing I found that wrench, now I have more crates to jump on!

One thing that Lumo accomplishes exceptionally well is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. For example, I came across an elevator and cheesy music started playing once I entered it. My wife from the other room suspiciously asked, "Is that your game?" It was completely out of left field yet somehow it felt right at home in the bizarre world. The area where the lift took me to was futuristic complete with a robot pacing back and forth and toasters on the floor. I didn't know what the heck was going on so I grabbed the golden wrench and went back to familiar territory. The full game appears to have many more moments like these. What I'm most excited to play are the handful of mini-games that include classic isometric genres such as skiing and shooting. In the end, it's fantastic to be taken to a world that remains mysterious at its core yet breaks character from time to time to allow for lighthearted fun to be had.

Lumo screenshot 4
I'm not sure, but I think that box is in love with me...

Even with a few huge games being released in the near future, I can't help but be excited to play through Lumo. It arrives on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, and PC on April 22 so be sure to clear some memory to make room for one epic adventure.

Gameplay video for Lumo 1:39

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