Puzzle games are tricky to get right. But when you find one which suits you the experience is glorious. Lume and Lumino city make an interesting example. The two games are puzzlers built with photographed paper models, lit using real lights and everything. The look is just as great as you might imagine.
Lume is pretty much a proof of concept for Lumino city, a short introduction to the world and style. Everything is in Lume and works, but once you play Lumino city it becomes clear just how much the team learned and adjusted for the "big" game.
Crucially, the puzzles are much, much better. More logical, better clues, more fun to work with.
Or, perhaps it just took the first game to bend my mind to the world? Be that as it may, with Lume I appreciated the style but sort of bounced off the surface when it came to the puzzles, the actual meat of the game. I did get through them, but I found them a bit too fiddly, a bit too unclear and just a bit … not fun.
This made me start Lumino city with some hesitation, was I ready for more of this? Happily, I got sucked right in and enjoyed pretty much every single puzzle. Not to mention the enormous, stunningly beautiful paper world. How great is it? So great that in the end, I sigh and ask myself why all games are not this well made, beautiful and creative. The one scary thing is what it might have cost in time and money to create it all …
The extra material
But there is more! Not only did State of play create this luxuriously detailed and beautiful game, they created a whole app about the making of Lumino city! This is extra material at its very finest, essentially a beautiful interactive e-book. There are texts, illustrations, animations, videos, pans and zooms, beautiful layouts and sounds. It even got an update this summer adding even more material. My appreciaion for the game and State of play just deepens the more I read. You get to see the whole world of the game, built up as a single huge model, that they moved a huge crane camera around over the course of a single day (budget limitations: no going back, no re-shoots!)