Luminux is difficult to describe, but consider if someone tweaked Tetris so that instead of blocks falling from the top of the screen, the blocks appear randomly, anywhere on the screen. Luminux is a simpler version of that, where instead of different shapes needing to be matched in a straight line, it’s 3 or more squares of the same color. Pelagic Games recently launched their latest title for iOS, Android, Windows phone and PC.
Players gain a score continually as they survive, but earn more points by matching blocks and performing longer matches and combos. They can move squares that have fully “spawned” onto the 5-by-4 square grid either left, right, up, or down along the screen, pushing any squares in the way in the same direction until you reach the edge. Same-colored squares that match disappear to clear up room, and the game continues until the score reaches a certain tier, ramping up the game to a faster-paced level.
Luminux provides six different modes of play, including the normal mode received at the beginning. These modes are unlocked once players reach the rank of Luminous Knight, which is about the third or fourth level. Each of the four remaining modes provides alternate rules based on special tiles, such as a mode where whenever a square with an electric symbol clears, it clears all of the squares around it as well. The last mode of the game is for strategy enthusiasts and does not require quick reflexes, since the game moves only as long as the player is moving a square. Each of the new modes offers a different level of difficulty, and encourages players to alter their strategy in order to successfully rank up.
The game is of a simple and very practical design, with simple shapes and bright colors. The game offers 2D graphics with a panning background of stars, and a score display at the top. Overall, the graphics are meant to be practical and add to the game by making it easy to understand. Similarly, the soundtrack is simple and upbeat in order to fit with the frantic pacing of the game. It’s unfortunately only one track, and does not add very much else to the game.
The game is short depending on how devoted someone is towards mastering a puzzle game. It feels slow at first, but it quickly picks up the pace and passes the time quickly. Even a successful playthrough that reached multiple tiers went between five to ten minutes.
Luminux is a fun game that kept me on my toes every level that I played. It does feel like there’s a steep learning curve, mainly when the game starts to pick up. At that point, players need to do more than simply react to a new piece and should plan out a strategy to try and follow for each different level. I’m normally not good at these kinds of puzzle-based games, but once I had a strategy that I followed, I was able to improve my score and keep surviving until I unlocked the next game mode.
The game is fairly similar to other match-3 games, but innovates itself by changing some of the format, namely where the squares spawn from. Because they appear randomly in the grid, and the colors are also random, it’s difficult to stay prepared, especially as the game’s pacing increases constantly. The challenge is new, and the different modes that alter the game subtly add to that.
Luminuxis available in the iTunes app store for $1.99. The price point for Android is $2.43, though I’m not sure why there’s a difference in price. In the end, the game is worth the purchase as long as the player enjoys spending time with puzzle games. Those that love mastering puzzlers will enjoy the many challenges Luminux brings, while those who get easily frustrated should likely avoid this game