Android Review: Lumena

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A while ago I got a sneak preview of the Lumena soundtrack which left me eager for the game to be released. Well now it’s out, is the game as good as its music? Absolutely. But good is the wrong word. Evil, maybe. Cruel. Vicious. Hypnotic.

Let’s start by saying it quickly develops the same relentlessly addictive, thumb-cripplingly “just one more try” grip on you as Super Hexagon, and then resist mentioning Super Hexagon again.

Playing Lumena is EASY. Fling the colored disc toward a matching colored light. Succeeding at Lumena is… NOT EASY.

Fling!Lumena throws you into the game with only one instruction. “Fling”. Your ball sits in the middle of a ring of waiting lights. You obey the order, using your finger to flick the ball at one of the lights and the game is on. The lights start to flash on and off in a pattern as the music plays. At the top of the screen are your two drivers – a timer ticking up and a white bar ticking down. The ball reappears. You flick it at the lights again and the white bar resets. So, survive as long as possible and touch the ball to the lights to stop the game ending. Then the pattern changes unexpectedly – a rotating hole is replaced by the whole ring flashing on and out. The ball sails on through and it’s game over.

Three seconds, the scoreboard says mockingly. Try again, it sneers. Look, score high enough and there are more levels. And they’re not as easy as this one, mortal.

And that’s the game. It’s hard and it’s unfair, and it’s totally unashamed of either. Even if you have the best twitch reflexes in the world you’re going to be tripped up. Like the hardest bullet hell scrolling shooters Lumena can only be beaten by memorisation, learning the cycle of patterns, knowing when to hold off and let the bar creep down, and when to spam throws. Knowing when the pattern will change, when the game is about to trip you up. Short of actual prescience the only way to beat the game is to wear it down in a war of attrition. Your weak, human thumbs versus the cruel sadism of the computer.

Try again

Lumena was created by Elevate Entertainment and is out now on Android and iOS. It’s free. All it wants are your thumbs.

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