Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles
If anyone gave me the choice of an open-world 100 hour epic or a short puzzle game, I would choose the puzzler every time. It’s not that I don’t like sprawling epic games, but I find playing Tetris or word games utterly relaxing. I love challenging the greymatter in my noodle with problem solving and sometimes that’s more satisfying than making my own story in an RPG. So when Wired Productions got in touch to play Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles from Luminawesome Games, I jumped at the chance.
At A Glance
|Positives||+ Seamless transitions throughout the world|
+ Beautiful visuals and sounds
+ Possibly the best protagonist in a puzzle game
|Negatives||– Some head scratching puzzles towards the end|
– No backtracking available
– A little on the short side
|Price (When Reviewed)||£15.99|
|Our Playtime||6 hours|
|Available On||PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC|
Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles tells the story of an oceanic habitat that’s become corrupted. The world is seeped in red lights and everything is out of whack. Enter Lumote, a triangular blob I’ve named Squishy, heads out to restore the environment to its former thriving glory. Squishy must bounce through the underwater wonderland and solve a trail of puzzles in order to turn everything blue and bring life back to its home.
The premise is pretty straightforward to the point where Squishy is plonked in the world and you’re left to get on with it. It’s a simplistic approach to puzzle games that I love – a thinly veiled plot that is told through puzzle solving rather than a forty minute cutscene explaining the intricacies of the world that the developers have created. This simplicity continues with Lumote’s moveset; move with the stick, one button jumps and another controls things.
The simplicity of the game’s story and control scheme certainly doesn’t spread to the graphics, and they can be summed up in one word: stunning. Even on my launch day Switch, the blues and reds contrast wonderfully and pop out of the screen. On the TV the experience is somehow even better, with colours filling every inch of the screen. Our little Lumote is an ambient green blob and as it bedaubs through the environment, it never gets lost amongst everything else that’s going on. To top off the visuals, Luminawesome Games have somehow managed to cram the whole game on one screen, with no load screens except for the initial load when you fire up the game. This was seriously impressive because the moment I took control of Squishy, I could see the goal below – a shining red light.
To begin with, this seemed a million miles away but as I guided Squish through the world of Lumote and I got closer, it genuinely felt like I was making progress and I wonder why more games don’t show everything up front. The puzzles themselves were nothing too taxing, most were solved by moving a box or jellyfish into position and moving through a checkpoint to progress. Seamlessly moving from one puzzle to the next felt natural and the game instantly clicked. As with any good thinking game, they start off nice and easy but as I progressed through the gamut of sixty or so puzzles, they did ramp up in difficulty.
There were a couple of puzzles that did leave me scratching my head, and after bouncing Squishy around for a few minutes, I manipulated everything I could to force an answer. With these specific onesI did feel that I cheated the system somewhat but since the game let me progress, it wasn’t about to dwell on my success. What frustrated me the most about Lumote was that after an area was cleared, the gate closed as soon as Squishy went through it. In any other puzzle game, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but hidden throughout the levels are tiny collectables and if you miss one, you can’t just nip back and collect it. As there’s only one save file per player, I was forced to start again to collect it. Lumote isn’t the longest game in the world, so this wasn’t too much trouble and added some replayability, but I still found it an annoying quirk.
Along with the easy going approach to gameplay, Lumote has an equally relaxed, lofi soundtrack. It doesn’t impose on the ears and I found it as relaxing as being in a hotel spa. Accompanying the electronic chill soundtrack are the effects from the environment. Everything has a sound, from the whoosh through some weeds or thunk of landing on an item block, and even Lumote has a cute “Hooray” when a collectible is found, making it even more precious. There were times I rushed through puzzles, touching multiple things in succession and this did get annoying, but taking a more calm approach spaces these sound effects out and leaves a pleasant experience.
Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is a charming and thoughtful puzzler. The protagonist is adorably loveable and while the premise is simple, it is well executed. Some of the puzzles did leave me questioning if I broke the game or was doing it correctly though. The quirks to the game’s design, such as being unable to backtrack, were annoying but not much of a distraction, and what really sells the game is the visuals and sound design. The plinky-plonk soundtrack coupled with the vibrant visuals pull you into a world I wanted to live in.
In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.