Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles
The 3D puzzle platformer was released back in February 2020 for PC and was released a few days ago as a digital and retail version for the Nintendo Switch. Today I want to tell you something about the strange creature Lumote, with big dreams.
Storyline and plot:
Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is a 3D puzzle platformer, in this we accompany a small squishy creature that hops around like a frog and has to solve puzzles. There isn't really a storyline, however Lumote's goal is to reach the bottom of the Great Depths to become the Mastermote. To achieve this, he must first take control of the towers that wind through the world. This is easier said than done, however, as Lumote must turn this red, bioluminescent world blue, and doing so often requires solving some pretty tricky puzzles that will get your brain smoking (sometimes it takes a little longer to click). Lumote is part of a networked world that allows him to interact with creatures based on their current color adjustments. To flip the colors, Lumote must guide the blue path through the world using his creatures and platforms. For example, one of these creatures are the tethered jellyfish that swim around and give Lumote access to areas that are unreachable. They can also serve as platforms and energy sources if their colors match.
Puzzles that evolve
Platforms can help Lumote move through the abyss, but must have a path and power to function. Anemone boxes resemble platforms, but repel differently colored objects. Finally, battery-like creatures are the be-all and end-all of most levels, as they are the main power source. For example, there is a puzzle where a blue battery creature must be brought across a pit, but the anemone box repels all blue creatures. In World 1, Lumote can only turn things blue himself, so trying to move the battery ensures that it stays blue. So to change the color, we need to move it to a place where it can be moved without touching it, so the solution is to use a red jellyfish to turn the battery red and push it onto the anemone box so Lumote can carry it across the pit. The puzzles are constantly evolving, forcing us to think outside the box and use the creatures in ways we didn't know before, and without any assistance at all. The main problem, however, is that changing directions with the anemone boxes can be incredibly inaccurate. The control of these creatures is very spongy and imprecise, as you have to be right in front of a new path to take it.
From the beginning to the end
Looking around the strange world, you can see how much work is still ahead of you. It's really nice to look down into the world and see all the red paths that still need to be transformed by Lumote, and even more satisfying to look up at the end and see all the progress you've made on your journey. It's a cool way to track the player's progress. Once you've finally mastered all the passages, you can feel really proud of yourself.
There are a few nice little additions that the developers have included, such as a photo mode and collectible artifacts. Collecting the artifacts can be a bit annoying though, as they are often in places that require you to restart after collecting them, which also resets the level. This means that if you've just gone to the trouble of preparing everything to solve a puzzle, you'll either have to forgo the artifact or collect it and prepare the solution all over again. Due to the nature of the game world, there are no easily definable levels, so there is no level selection and no backtracking. This can make collecting the artifacts a bit frustrating if you want to reach 100% but don't want to collect them all right away.
Graphics and Sound:
Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles looks visually very chic, but becomes repetitive and a bit monotonous in design quite quickly, as the further we progress through the levels, the more noticeable it becomes that each room is the same. A bit more color choice would have been desirable, which could have been easily realized with the creatures and would have brought more variety into the game world. Unfortunately, the "wow effect" is lost very quickly. The soundtrack itself is really nice, but hardly audible in the game, much more you only hear the screams of Lumote, when he is once again stuck somewhere.