First Looks// EGX First Looks: Lumino City, OlliOlli2, Pneuma

Posted 5 Nov 2014 19:06 by
Chris has been at it again, haunting the floor of any games show careless enough to leave an air vent accessible from the outside. Recently he was at EGX, putting his hands on any- and everything he could. Here, he reports back.

Lumino City by State of Play Games

When I was very young I remember watching stop-motion animation dramas that would appear in the mid-afternoon on TV. The topics of these animations were typically old fables that originated from Eastern Europe and were both entertaining and a teensy bit haunting as well. There was just something about them that made me feel as if there is something darker lurking beneath the apparent banality of them. Or maybe it was just me.

Either way, when I clapped my eyes onto Lumino City my thoughts were thrown back to those Eastern European tales that I watched as a child. So as I sat down to play Lumino City at EGX 2014, I did so with a little trepidation. But I need not have worried, as Lumino City is a wondrous point and click adventure everybody should experience.

The player takes on the role of a little girl whose grandfather has been abducted by forces unknown. The little girl is compelled to find out what has happened to her elderly grandparent and sets off across Lumino City, which is where the game starts off. As with any point and click adventure, there are objects to collect and use to manipulate the world around which the character finds themselves in. The player will have their progress stymied until they solve a set of puzzles in a very specific order. Many regard this aspect of point and click adventure games to have been their ultimate undoing in times past.

It wasn't, of course. It was the ridiculously abstract nature of the puzzles that almost wiped them out. Thankfully the days of Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned and the now infamous cat-hair puzzle (look it up) are very much a thing of the past as puzzle creation has done away with abstract by instead actually forcing the player to use logic to solve them. From the time I had with Lumino City it was very apparent that this design method was adopted for the many puzzles I encountered (and solved, I might add).

The inhabitants of Lumino City the little girl met did not appear to be terribly bright. They relied a great deal on the assistance of the player to do the most rudimentary of things. Everything from fixing a generator by installing cogs in a certain order to delivering a cup-cake from a baker to a disgruntled neighbour. But like the Eastern European animations described previously, Lumino City gave me the sense of a dark undercurrent of something being terribly wrong, while not being able to pinpoint what exactly it was.

side from the puzzles, the visuals of Lumino City do mark it out as something very unique. They are pictures of real world models with animated figures that are placed against. There is a soft focus to everything and the cardboard nature of it all reminded me of Neverhood. This was a clay-mation game that was released in 1996. It too was based on photographed models, only everything was made out of plasticine. Lumino City uses cloth and cardboard to represent its characters and the world they inhabit to amazing effect. While playing it I felt like I was controlling the creatures from those old Eastern European animations I spoke of earlier, and that's no bad thing.

Lumino City is due out in November 2015 for Windows PC.

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood by Roll7 Games

Skateboard arcade game OlliOlli came out of nowhere to become one of the most celebrated PS Vita games. Its mix of analogue controls and immediate restarts to get that ultimate combo made OlliOlli such a joy to play. At EGX 2014 British developer Roll7 Games announced OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood which builds on the sound foundations of the original and adds a great deal more, as any good sequel should.

Being shown for the first time at EGX 2014, an alpha build of OlliOlli2 demonstrated three new features that the new title is bringing with it. The first is the addition of 'manual landings'. This is a form of landing on a skateboard with either the front or rear pair of wheels. This provides the ability string yet more stunts as the player lands, but not without significant risk of messing up the landing entirely.
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