Generally I’m not a fan of mobile games. At all. I’ve had my iPad for over a year now, and short of ZORK, my games folder is empty. Lums is the first true iOS game I’ve played, and I’m proud to say it probably won’t be the last.
Before you read my dissection of Hyperbolic Magnetism’s title I need to point out that the gameplay concept is essentially that of Angry Birds. Lums are little orb-like characters that you shoot around by swiping your finger on the screen. Unlike Angry Birds, however, Lums can be dragged around the screen until they come in contact with the fortresses and floating islands that make up their surroundings. The goal of the game is to save the Lums and their planet from invading vampire-aliens. That being said, despite this game’s cute, jujube-shaped villains, Lums hardly has funny undertones.
Lums is a simple game, and the developers must have taken that into consideration when they sketched out the opening level. The game offers very little instructions to begin with, but that’s just fine. Even a newbie like me (whose only real interaction with Angry Birds has been spotting them on cheap Wal-Mart lunchboxes) easily figured it out. Vampires can be destroyed by shining light upon them, which coincides with everything I already know about the mythological beings. Sadly–and here’s where the challenge sets in–the vampires have managed to plunge the Lums’ home planet into complete darkness. To make matters worse, the invaders are holed up in little forts to hide themselves from lights scattered throughout the levels which you, the player, have to expose.
Lums’s uncanny resemblance to Angry Birds is not a drawback, however, as Hyperbolic Magnetism has elaborated on many of the game’s features. Angry Birds features an arsenal of unique birds whose individual abilities allow players to break blocks in different ways. There are different classes of Lums too, such as the Light Lum, who transforms into a spotlight when swiped onto a solid surface, or the Transparent Lum, who transforms normal bricks into glass.
My favorite thing about Lums is definitely the atmosphere it projects. With the game’s dark foresty backdrop, its rolling fog and rainstorm foreground effects, and its uninterrupted rainfall soundtrack, Lums makes for a brilliantly blustery experience.
My biggest turn-off with mobile games is usually their hyper-casual nature. I’ll play casual games to pass time, but only if it’s really a last resort. Games like Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride lack severely in story and true gameplay progression, which makes me lose interest fast. Lums does include a small backstory that takes the form of comic-page slides between stages. It doesn’t provide much of a plot, but the drawings are quite cute and definitely don’t take away from the game. Overall, it isn’t enough to dismiss the app’s extremely casual feel, but I was able to finish all 48 stages while feeling like there was at least some story progression to keep me engaged.
Lums only took me several hours to complete. As far as puzzle games go, it’s rather easy. I was able to finish most levels with a single try. I’d have to say the real challenge lies in collecting the three stars in every level. A minimum number of stars must be collected to move from one stage to another, but being the overachiever I am, I aimed to collect all of them. I didn’t, but I came relatively close.
One thing that bugged me about Lums was that while booting up the game I was constantly being asked to rate the game in the App Store in exchange for game-changing bombs. I don’t think Lums needs bombs. I don’t think Lums needs anything to make its gameplay any easier. To be honest, I probably would have preferred a short, “We’d really appreciate it if you took the time to rate our game. Thank you!”