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.