Our several years ago on PC and now just released on consoles, Lumini is the very definition of a hidden gem of a game. If you enjoy relaxed games that trade high stakes drama for serenity and grace – then you are in for a treat.
Lumini is a game of birds – well they are more like cute faeries but I’ll go with birds for easiness. You’ll be playing as a flock of them and they come in four different colours – each with special abilities. The birds can move around together with the left analogue stick in a satisfying conga line. You can also split them into two groups by using both analogue sticks on a controller together and this is how a lot of the puzzles are formed. Your objective is to help restore some life back to a desolate landscape and make your way home.
You’ll do this by solving puzzles either your two groups of birds or your four abilities. Blue birds dash, yellow have an electric spark, red can attack and so on – they all have passive abilities too. Puzzles are usually quite simple and involve blasting open a wall, dashing through timed doors and pressure plate puzzles. Occasionally the game throws in some light dexterity puzzles too such as moving multiple wheels at the same time so being able to move both hands together is an advantage.
You aren’t alone in Lumini – the world has become aggressive. Enemies from dagger throwing spores to giant hungry flying fish will come after you and you’ll need to react accordingly. Sometimes sprinting away is by far the better option but you may be outgunned or outnumbered and need to fight. You sort through your fish using the face buttons on the controller and that rearranges your flocks order. Your current front bird will be the ability you use but you can make things difficult by letting the birds at the back be eaten. It is quite possible that all your birds of the same colour get eaten and that means you’ll have to find alternative ways to continue or restart from the last checkpoint. Checkpoints rebirth birds for you again but you’ll need to deliver silver spores to it before you can be rewarded. It never feels unfair or overly challenging and even though there is plenty to do (and avoid) you’ll rarely break into a panic or sweat.
Lumini works best when you get to enjoy the flight of the birds. The conga line feels satisfying and the flying controls are simple and effective. The backgrounds show other animals living in the barren world behind you and when coupled with the crystalline and gentle soundtrack, the game feels magical. It is quite short and you’ll have seen it all in a few hours. There are collectables hidden away to find which unlock some concept art extras. If you need a challenge, try a no deaths run!