Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is a puzzle platformer published by Wired Productions and developed by Luminawesome Games Ltd. Having said that, thanks to both for providing me with a review code.
It features a cute and squishy little creature named Lumote, who is on a quest to overthrow a being called Mastermote. Think the Brain Slugs from Futurama but more adorable and glowy.
Almost immediately after creating a new game on the title screen, the player is dropped straight in without much story or context to begin with. The main goal of the game is to head to the bottom of the map, solving puzzles to progress. What is the purpose of doing that? Unless a trailer has been seen, or a review has been read, the answer is probably unknown. I don’t think puzzle games need ingame commentary, so that’s fine.
The biggest draw to this game for me is the gloriously bright bioluminescent world. This is mainly red lighting to start with, but as the player progresses this steadily changes to blue. After each puzzle is solved a flower-esque door opens up, more blue light takes over from the red, and the player can move on. The red light represents Mastermote, and the blue represents Lumote.
The controls to accomplish Lumote’s task are devilishly simple. The left analogue stick to move, a button to jump and double-jump, and a button to possess. What can be possessed? The various inhabitants of the world, called Motes. The powers of these inhabitants can either help or hinder progress so plenty of thinking must be applied to take advantage of them. Lumote is well animated, and movement is fluid. There’s no dialogue in the game, but Lumote and the aforementioned motes do communicate with lovely hums and squeaks. Some nice synthy music compliments the atmosphere too. Lumote itself is a very endearing protagonist despite being a amorphous blob.
The entire game is made of one gigantic continuous and connected series of 50 smaller puzzles. Right at the start, the player can tilt the fully movable camera and gaze down into the abyss. Hazy red light can be seen coming up from below, teasing the mysterious power of Mastermote. Each time a tower that marks the mastery of a specific Mote is reached, the camera pulls back to show off a much wider view of the world. It really is rather impressive.
There is plenty of variety when it comes to the puzzle, and the Motes that are used to solve them. I felt like there were some red herrings thrown into the puzzles, making them feel harder than they actually were. I spent some time messing about with a few contraptions for a while only to realise a much easier way of solving the puzzle. Maybe I was just overthinking it. I also felt like I solved a few of the puzzles by complete fluke, so throwing random solutions head first at the obstacles and cheeesing them can also work, if the player does get stuck. Although it was fun to move Lumote about, it was frustrating to accidentally get knocked off or fall off a ledge only to have to restart the puzzle.
Overall Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is a beautiful looking puzzle game, with an impressive scale. I played this on my PlayStation 5 through backwards compatibility and it looked gorgeous. For fans of games that engage the brain, I would definitely pick this up.