[Review] Lumena for iOS

  • Lumena
  • By Elevate Entertainment

Put your reflexes to test with this beautiful, simplistic and ‘no-nonsense rhythm game,’ as described by the developer Elevate Entertainment. Lumena’s minimalistic UI, simple controls and catchy electronic music makes you want to dance, but dance you shall not. The game requires your entire focus to show the best of your precision and reaction to succeed.

Gameplay

Lumena’s simplicity is in a way mocking users, showing how trivial the challenge is, and escaping you every now and then, even though the game gives you all the information and tools you need to win.

The game’s UI is a colorful neon ring with a dot in the middle; the circle consists of 8 inner sections that light up with the music. Your task is to follow the patterns and observe the dot that changes color because you must move it to the section of the corresponding color.

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Difficulty

Let the dot slip away from the ring, or move to the wrong sector – you lose. The challenge increases as the ring sections change color, so the green is never in the same place, and provided the dot changes color sometimes, too, you get a highly challenging task on your hands. In this respect, Lumena reminds me of a simplistic, yet cute Hopeless. In both cases, you are challenged with surviving for as long as you can.

Surprisingly, the colors do not follow the beat, or at least, the developers did their best not to follow the beat, but the more frantic the game gets, the more difficult it is to achieve the effect. There are moments you can just hold and wait for the right moment, but your life white bars will start shrinking as you wait.

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Perks

There are hidden, yet easy to figure out tips in Lumena – those shining lines running in between the ring sections show you which segment is about to change color, and what that color would be. However, it happens so fast you barely have time to notice them, especially when it gets really frenetic.

Yet another way to predict movement is to recognize the pattern because each level has its own peculiar pattern, according to which segments change color. Alternatively, you can ignore the patterns and tips, and just turn your analytical brainpower off, and focus on plain reflexes for a change. Moreover, you can even turn off the music and give yourself an extra challenge.

Pros

  • Simple rules, simplistic aesthetics
  • Great electronic sound score by Modbon
  • Neon lights
  • Frantic load on your reflexes
  • Tips and patterns to predict color switching
  • Music off mode
  • Difficulty level is sometimes maddening
  • Demands top-notch reflexes and focus, immersive

Cons

  • Sadistically addictive, or masochistically – depends on how you like it.
  • Steep learning curve, but that as well may be in the Pros section.
  • You will continue moving the neon dot when you go to sleep and close your eyes, your fingers still producing the swiping motions.

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Conclusion

Lumena is available on the iTines for $2.99, and you may want to consider it especially if you are a big fan of simple but sadistically hard-to-master games. Be warned, though, if you are the kind of passionate player who throws his iPhone flying against the wall when things don’t work out as planned, you might consider meditating before another Lumena round because you won’t be able to refuse playing it altogether. When you are done chilling, plug in your headphones and set your brain at ease with this maddeningly challenging and hopelessly addictive no-rhythm game.