Wot I Micro Think: Lume

By John Walker on May 10th, 2011 at 7:41 pm.

See, I already love it just from one image.

My goodness, I’m a bit overwhelmed by loveliness of late. After the delightful Tiny Bang Story comes this gorgeous mini point-n-click adventure, Lume.

We’ve seen a few short games, but this is amongst the shortest commercial PnC adventure I think I’ve seen. If it weren’t for one peculiarly obscure puzzle, I think it would have been over in a few minutes flat. But wow, what a completely adorable few minutes it is.

Lume’s distinct style is by far the most outstanding thing here. While the equally impressive looking The Dream Machine may have gazumped it for the handmade design, but Lume gathers its own deserved thunder via the utterly wonderful way it’s filmed.

The set for the game is completely handmade, crafted out of paper and cardboard. It’s then been wired up like a school project, with little dolls house bulbs. And then it’s been filmed. So far, so The Dream Machine. But the crucial difference here is how it’s filmed. Moving from one area to another initiates a camera movement. Which is literally a camera movement. The guy holding the camera moves it over to the next area. And the effect is breathtaking. To get it, you need to see it. So have a look at this:

It’s hard to explain why, but I found this quite moving. There’s something tangible, visceral about it. Interestingly, it’s an effect that wears off after a few back-and-forths around the game – something that could be resolved, I think, by filming a few different transitions, and randomly selecting one of them. Once you’re used to the bob and jolt of the film, it becomes expected, and routine.

The game itself is cute, if extremely basic. You play a granddaughter, visiting her grandfather’s house while he’s out, helping him to fix his electricity by solving a few puzzles. The puzzles are overtly obscure, designed by the cheeky grandfather to be deliberately awkward. Most are relatively simple to solve. One, however, is utterly mystifying, and I cheated my way past it with a walkthrough, and I’ve still no idea how I could have arrived at the answers.

While it’s very cheap at £5, it’s also extraordinarily brief. It’s part one of an ongoing project by State Of Play, although there’s no announcement yet when we’ll see more, and whether it will be added in for free or cost more. We’re in touch with the team, however, and should have some answers, along with some behind-the-scenes footage, tomorrow.

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39 Comments »

  1. dartt says:

    I don’t see how they expect to compete with Witcher 2 which, I hear, is 2000 hours long!

  2. Inigo says:

    Is this one of those “Oh, look how cute everything is – are you enjoying yourself? Because OH NO SUDDENLY EVERYTHING IS MUCH DARKER THAN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS AND IT TURNS OUT THAT FROM AN ALTERNATE POINT OF VIEW EVERYTHING YOU DID THUS FAR WAS ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC AND YOU ARE SUCH A COMPLETE BASTARD FOR PLAYING THIS GAME” kind of games?

    Because I’m really getting fed up with those.

  3. J-Han says:

    I’m a big grumpytrousers who likes to insult things I haven’t played!

    • Pemptus says:

      I’m a lover of cutesy things even though I haven’t played them in the first place saying that you should be ashamed of yourself!

  4. juv3nal says:

    Picked this up because it looks charming and was inexpensive, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to get it to resize to full screen. I mean it’s “full screen” as opposed to windowed I guess, but at least 60% of the screen is just black borders on all sides.

    • Jake says:

      I wondered about that, if the levels are filmed rather than rendered I guess it can’t go to very high resolutions without losing picture quality. Maybe it refuses to get larger than the resolution it was filmed in.

    • Trilby says:

      On my machine at least, I can get it fullscreen by right clicking and choosing “Show All”.

  5. felisc says:

    mh, this game would make a perfect steam present for a birthday.

  6. vandinz says:

    This looks very … what’s the word I’m looking for … Shite.

    • John Walker says:

      Thank goodness you contributed!

      Imagine if we’d all gone about our days without hearing your comment. Without you the world would be a bleak, grey place.

    • J-Han says:

      But you’re very right in a literal way, John — the world WOULD be a bleak place if every single person had to pretend that this game is visually cute and mechanically lovable — that is, if no one expressed their honest opinion about this grotesquely ugly game made for cavemen. After experiencing the delightfulness of real games — complex, beautiful, unforgiving, epicly immersive games — games like this are like hideous paint splotches masquerading as high art. It isn’t even worth a penny.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Well one would also say that modern games are incredible cowards repeating the same formulae over and over again, not really caring about the industry and, frankly, not as immersive and fun as they would want to be. My best gaming experiences are rarely blockbusters, which i grew tired of and now almost only enjoy in the way that i enjoy B movies, and not even the best ones (Or the worst, depends on the point of view)

    • vandinz says:

      Hay! I says it how I sees it. No point in 20,000 word essay when I can do it with one word. It’s wot I think about this game. :)

    • adonf says:

      vandinz’s avatar is not a picture of a panda

    • Zanthoroctu says:

      @ vandinz, Yes, we get it. You are cool and edgy with your concise commentary. More power to you.

      In other news: not everything appeals to everyone. Meanwhile, I tend to like things that are lovingly handcrafted and cute to boot. So, I may very well pick this up to encourage people to do new and interesting things. Need to take a break from being a nigh-immortal, man-shooting death-god every now and then.

    • phlebas says:

      And in the game.

  7. Jimbo says:

    That guy looks like Gustavo. COOKIE!

  8. Eight Rooks says:

    ‘Camera movement’ isn’t that impressive. I am disappoint.

    On the other hand, easy as pie or otherwise, this is far, far better looking than The Dream Machine, but then I find your love for that game fairly inexplicable. (Although the comparison’s not meant as some kind of oblique putdown. Dream Machine obviously took a lot of effort, but was artistically so-so for the most part. Not bad, just a bit dull. This looks gorgeous.)

  9. CaspianRoach says:

    Why is the far right key on the music lock not working? I know nothing about music writing thingies but it felt kinda backwards to what I’ve expected. And the drawer lock, seriously? I was banging my head against the wall thinking i’m some kind of magic retard and finally gave up to the shameful walkthrough reading… the codes made zero sense whatsoever, I don’t know how anybody is supposed to guess that.

  10. RagingLion says:

    Love the music and tone to that trailer.

  11. Boozebeard says:

    Yup, I had to use the walk through for that too. Also if you keep clicking on the books long enough, you get one that things written in it: “#9″ and “one” underlined in the word gramophone, but these numbers don’t seem to be used anywhere :S

    • Alamoria says:

      The 9# and one are actually part of the cabinet lock. The cabinet lock is a 9 number lock…and the book says there’s 9 #’s on the page. The underlined one is one of them.

      Edit: Yeah, I had to cheat to get past that part too…it’s a bit on the obscure side compared to the other puzzles. If the lock had three sets of numbers maybe…

  12. Synesthesia says:

    reminds me of the neverhood. Im fucking sick of the 3d fetish in videogames. Anybody got Doug Tennapel’s number anywhere?

  13. Billzor says:

    Loom! Oh, wait. Damn.

  14. Shazbut says:

    John, for someone who makes such a fuss about Myst, you’re showing a lot of weakness for prettiness these days.

  15. Ankheg says:

    More handmade games in industry, yay!

  16. BatmanBaggins says:

    I don’t know about this one… I played it, but this really, really should have been a free game. Or been close to it. It’s about 15 minutes long (discounting one completely arbitrary, nonsensical puzzle that everyone who plays it will look up hints for).

    It was cute and all, but meh. Not much else to it besides its overplayed cutesy factor.

  17. kyrieee says:

    The Wicher 2 link in the banner at the top directs here

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