Visually Knight Lore was a revelation. So much so that the Stamper Brothers, that mysterious duo who created the highly detailed isometric look that started with 3D Ant Attack actually sat on the game for a few months after it was finished for fear of humiliating the competition. At least that's how the story goes. I'm not entirely convinced it's true, but let's pretend that it is for the sake of this preview.
Following the release of Knight Lore a whole slew of me-too titles appeared including those from Ultimate Play the Game (now known as Rare) and they remained a prominent genre throughout the '80s, only to fade into oblivion as technology progressed to the point where the simple puzzle platforming action of Knight Lore gave way to hack'n slash RPG epics such as Diablo.
'So what's with the history lesson?' I hear you ask. Well, Lumo is a return of the 3D isometric puzzle platformer that is inspired by those old games and it had me, as well as many other EGX attendees, in its thrall.
In Lumo the player takes on the role of a wizard who has somehow managed to get lost in his own castle, which is a bit rubbish. To overcome this he must jump, swing, run and dodge the myriad traps and pitfalls that riddle his vast home (for some inexplicable reason). It must be torture for him to get to the kitchen to make a cup of tea!
The demo at EGX was very long and the queue to play Lumo reflected it. Many EGX attendees were drawn to its bright and colourful visuals as well as the fluidity of the animation and the puzzle-solving that had many onlookers cheering players on as they conquered the demo.
There were many hidden elements in the demo that unless the player was very observant they wouldn't spot. An example was a crate that was lying in a puddle of acid that seemed to lead to nowhere. After jumping on it and jumping again into the wall a new area that contained an audio cassette tape was discovered. Once it's picked up the player is 'treated' to the wails and screeches of an old 8 bit computer loading sound, which is a nod to the origins of Lumo.
The visuals are a huge upgrade from the original 8 bit titles, with the closest comparison being Cadaver on the Atari ST and Amiga 16 bit computers. Having said that, Lumo has been written in Unity, which makes it a tad more advanced than its 16 bit forebears. The sounds and music are also of high quality and do much to provide player feedback to how they are doing.
Lumo is being developed by Triple Eh? and is due to appear in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, and Linux.