Have You Played… Lumiere?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

You know that bit at the start of Mass Effect 2 with the space and the destruction and the fragments of tech lit up against the void? Imagine that far larger and without any context or goal, and you have sinister space disaster Lumiere [official site]. It’s a free drift ’em up made by Orihaus, and my mind still drifts into its shattered megastructure around a dark star.

Wherever we are, it seems a mess. Aside from a few flickering lights and still-moving fragments of machinery, it is still – and all is silent. Whatever this place was, it’s so large the eye can’t take it all in or understand the sense of scale. Glass panels, metal supports, and arching lines emerge from the blackness, light up and glimmery. Pick a point you can see, try to reach it, and a few minutes later it’ll still barely be growing in your view, and that’s if you can avoid being distracted by something else strange. Once you finally reach that point, you’ll likely briefly understand the form it’s part of then discover it was only part of something larger.

It is a strange and special and sinister place.

Last year I pointed out Lumiere developer Orihaus’s Césure as an example of the kind of vast, alien space that video games often pretend they’re exploring, if only the technical constraints of characters and AI and animations and needing spots to crouch behind with your assault rifle didn’t squeeze the wonder out as the idea is crushed down into a video game level. Same goes for Lumiere, obvs.

5 Comments

  1. Dominare says:

    ‘Drift ’em up’ made me laugh out loud, well done there.

  2. Ben King says:

    Feels like moving through tar in that one. I like the aesthetic of lumiere less than cesure, but there’s more to see and experience in this one with it’s elevator and vertical spaces plus distant islands to visit. It think Orihaus has a txt adventure up on their website now as well but I haven’t looked through it yet. I keep waiting with baited breath to hear more on “For Each Their Roads of Winter” but haven’t heard much about it in a long time although it looks like they released some kind of elaborate UE4 texture tool that they built for it.
    Alice, can you explain what exactly Orihaus IS? My best guess is that they’re some kind of blend of artist collective and game production, but I don’t really know what that even means…. but I like what I’ve seen.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Hm. I’ve played other games by Orihaus and found them fascinating, but this one is doing nothing for me. It’s just too incoherent.

    Also, while looking up the “Orihaus” tag under the article, I got a little sad that “Alice’s Evening Walk” never took off.

  4. Ben King says:

    arg-I was apparently actually running my mouth about Cesure and Xaxi, NOT Lumiere, but Lumiere is also stunningly beautiful and more to my liking than either of those two visually. Cesure is still my favorite place to wander, but this ethereal space wreck is pretty splendid. I’m also secretly waiting for Orihaus to hook up with Limasse Five of NaissanceE and make terrifying architectural game babies.

  5. SunshineDeathray says:

    It seems all download links from the official site 404. Are there any alternate links available? Googling just kept bringing me back to either here or there.