Lumen: Lasers, Mirrors, and Obstacles! Oh, My!

Lumen is a deceptively involving game. The premise makes it appear simple: use mirrors and colored filters to guide a laser beam through checkpoints with the appropriate color to win. However, you will quickly find yourself double and triple guessing your moves when you’ve realized that the path you have laid out for the lasers just isn’t doing it.

Available at $1.99 for the full version¬†or free for the lite version, Lumen comes preloaded with a slew of “local puzzles.” If you purchased the full version, you also have the option of a growing library of user-submitted levels, currently topping off at around 2,100. Once you’ve successfully completed a puzzle you can rate it a thumbs up/down if you enjoyed the game play and the level is subsequently given a check mark letting you know it’s been completed. Lumen is meant to be a true casual game: there is no timer or score, just a sense of accomplishment when you have completed a level. And with the vast online library, you can relive that sense over and over again. You can also design your own level to share with others if you are feeling creative.

The graphics, albeit subtle, are very nice for the game. Each piece is rather highly detailed with artful animations (which you can disable to conserve battery life) to add to the experience. The UI is fairly simple and seemingly intuitive, however, the game controls can become a bit infuriating at times. You can either drag the item you want or highlight it for quick dropping (i.e., tap any number of empty spots to place the highlighted item) onto the game board, but if you don’t make note of what is selected or what you’re doing you’ll find yourself adding the wrong piece over and over again. The game also boasts a level of intelligence that knows how to angle the mirrors when placing them in front of a laser, however, that did not work for me once.

In this latest version (2.3) the developers added support for colorblind players, which I spent a great deal of time trying to enable. It was quite some time before I remembered that some apps have their preferences under the Settings app and sure enough, Lumen was right there, despite having a menu screen in the game, with the option to turn off animations and colorblind support. Unfortunately, colorblind support left a lot to be desired in that it only gave the first letter of the color of the check points. There was still nothing to indicate what the color of the laser or the filter was on the board. Truth be told, this was a great idea and nice of the developers to try and add, but was poor in execution. It would be great to see something a little more thought out for the next update.


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