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For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Light up the night

Product: Lums | Developer: Hyperbolic Magnetism | Publisher: Hyperbolic Magnetism | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Lums iPhone, thumbnail 1
Humans tend to shy away from the dark and all that crawls within it, but philosophers and deep thinkers like to remind us that there cannot be light without the darkness.

That's all well and good, but let's be honest: when there are vampires stationed in the murk, you should do whatever's necessary to bring out the sun.

by Hyperbolic Magnetism, is a physics-based puzzle game that challenges you to light things up for the sake of your own survival.

They came in the night

The Lums are soft, sprite-like critters that glow with their own gentle light. They live in a dense forest that has only a few fingers of sunlight poking through the tree canopy.

Some vampires from outer space decide that the dim forest is a perfect place to settle, and they make themselves at home. The Lums are not cool with this, and they elect to do something about their bloodthirsty guests.

Lums's closest relative is Angry Birds, but there are some distinct differences that make it its own animal.

For one thing, brute force isn't going to do you a whole lot of good in Lums - with the exception of the dense "cannonball Lum," none of the Lums is physically capable of knocking over the wood-and-stone structures that shelter the vampires from what little light peeks through the trees.

Strategy and forethought are necessary to get you ahead - though that's not to say the game lacks instances of glorious destruction.

Float on

At the start of each level, you're allotted a certain number of Lums, each with different abilities. The cannonball Lum can smash through wood and knock over concrete blocks. The light Lum creates a spotlight when it smashes against a surface. The transparent Lum can turn stone into glass, which lets in the sun and flash-fries sheltered vampires.

IAPs explained
Lums offers in-app purchases, but they're unnecessary. There's a "NUKE" button that fries every vampire on-screen, which obviously comes in handy when you've had enough of a level. You get one free nuke, and each subsequent bomb costs 69p / 99c.

You can also pay 69p to unlock each level set if you don't feel like collecting the requisite amount of stars.
Best of all is the anti-gravity Lum, which touches objects and sends them flying upwards. And what goes up must come down, in a deadly shower of wood and concrete.

You need to evaporate all the vampires with sunlight in order to complete a level and progress to the next, but collecting the stars in each stage is what allows you to unlock each set of levels.

You can bodily collect the stars (which is made possible by the fact the Lums can float indefinitely and will follow your finger as long as they don't touch a solid surface), and knocking debris onto a star will nab it for you too. Collecting stars takes patience, partially because they're tiny and difficult to see.

Can't see the path ahead

Another problem with Lums is the inability to scope out a level before you start bouncing around it.

You can slide your finger around to get a very limited view of the playfield, but the only way to really see what you're up against is to scout ahead with a Lum. This is a risky venture, since your Lum blinks out if it hits a solid object (and there are plenty).

Lums is a highly enjoyable and creative variation of the Angry Birds formula. It might not win you over if you've had it with physics-based puzzle games, but it may well light up your heart if you give it a chance.
Reviewer photo
Nadia Oxford | 30 July 2013
Lums demonstrates that there's still some originality left in the dark corners of the physics-based puzzle genre
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Jul 2013
Post count:
Filip Kunda | 16:48 - 31 July 2013
hey, I
Jul 2012
Post count:
Contest Chris | 08:40 - 31 July 2013
Mr High,

The three points you raise are moot. Similar aesthetics? Meh, SBD is a pixel game. SBD is also a stealth game. And characters look similar? Less said the better...
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 21:25 - 30 July 2013
I know they are totally different games Mr 'C', I said as much in the last paragraph. You wonder what made me think they're similar? Once again just for you:

Like I've said already, although they use them in entirely DIFFERENT ways, both games use light/dark based gameplay mechanics. Then there are some similar aesthetic cues, and lastly, the little fella on the Lums app icon looks pretty similar to the clones in SB.

I'm sorry C, but I don't know how to simplify that any further for you? I guess if you really need it, I can always draw you a picture.

Once more for you:

1 - some similar aesthetic flavours
2 - although used in different ways, both focus on light/dark/shade
3 - characters look similar

There you go. Get it now?
Jul 2012
Post count:
Contest Chris | 20:07 - 30 July 2013
Dude, these are two totally different games. I've played stealth bastard and it's nothing like this. Wonder whatever made you think they're similar.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 15:19 - 30 July 2013
Originality you say Nadia?

Of course I do agree with you for the most part, but do you not feel that they've borrowed a little too heavily from new PSN platformer Stealth Inc (for who that don't know it, it's been knocking around for a while on PC under its original title, Stealth Bastard)? Such as...

The art styles of the two games share some rather incredible similarities, Stealth Inc's gameplay mechanics also revolve around light, dark and the shadows, and even the little face on the icon looks a little too like the PSN games clones. Stealth Inc launched last Wednesday, Lums the day after. Heck, even the games title is lifted from those shiny little buggers from Rayman!

My comments probably come across as a tad too negative, so allow me to redress that fact by adding that Lums is a great little game in it's own right, and your review Nadia is top drawer. There, hope that tips the scales back to neutral..!!