We put the App Store's latest physics puzzler under the spotlight.
You might be tempted to take one look at Lums, roll your eyes, and assume it's just another Angry Birds knock-off in a long line of Angry Birds knock-offs. Well, appearances can be deceiving sometimes, and while it's true that this is physics puzzling as we very much know and love/hate it, there's plenty that's new about this game that makes it worthy of a second look.
Let's start with what's familiar about the game. Across each scrolling level, the designers have spread a collection of nasty vampire creatures hiding away from the bright shafts of sunlight strategically pointed around the screen. Your job is to fire the Lums into all of this scenery, and cause enough platform chaos to ensure that the vampires become evaporated by the light. Frankly, if it was just another platform puzzler you were after, this is as solid an offering as any other.
What makes Lums special, however, is its very refreshing take on this familiar gameplay. Rather than flinging your heroes around the screen, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, you need to take direct, continuous control of each creature. A tap of the screen sends your next unit into the fray, while tapping on it again allows you to latch on and gently swoop it into position - giving you much more precision control over proceedings.
Different Lums offer very different advantages on the playing field. Some are pure cannonballs that do a great job of clattering through lots of scenery. Others provide shafts of light when planted, allowing you to pick off a particularly stubborn vampire. Want to cause some gravity-shifting chaos? There's a Lum that lifts any scenery it touches into the sky, before what goes up most certainly comes crashing back down onto the landscape, causing just as much chaos as you can imagine.
All of this is weaved into some very imaginative challenges, spread across the game's 50 or so levels. If there's a flip-side to all of those surprisingly original gameplay, it's that the difficulty of the game can be just a little too challenging at times. You're given too many tools to get the job done on occasion, and it can take a fair amount of trial and error - not to mention pure luck, even when you've stumbled upon the solution - to get everything ticking over correctly.
Don't let that put you off too much though. Overall, Lums is a fantastic addition to the crowded physics puzzle genre, and packs in more than enough originality to put a smile on the face of even the most jaded physics action fan.
What's Hot:Familiar yet refreshing gameplay that will stretch the ability of any physics puzzling fan.
What's Not:More content would not just be welcome, it would help assure Lums' position as a bona fide classic of the genre. The difficulty spikes can be a little frustrating.