May 18, 2014 3:15 PM | Lena LeRay
Elevate Entertainment calls its recent iOS release, Lumena, a "no-nonsense rhythm game". It certainly has a minimalist interface, super-simple controls, and a soundtrack you can dance to. What that description doesn't really convey, though, is that Lumena requires top-notch reflexes and precision of its players.
Lumena's interface consists of a colored dot ringed by an outer circle that is divided into 8 sections. The 8 sections light up, and the player must flick from the center dot outward to a segment of the same color. If the player misses a lit segment and flings the dot out of the circle, they lose; if they hit a segment of the wrong color, they lose. The outer circle segments change color with the music and the dot in the center changes sometimes, too. Flick to play, miss to lose. Try to survive for as long as possible.
It's simple and simply sadistic, though it does many things to make sure the player has all the information they need to succeed. Although it's a rhythm game, there's nothing in the game that forces to work with the beat, though as the levels increase in difficulty they'd be hard pressed to succeed without doing so. The game also gives players some leeway to wait for a good opportunity, with white bars at the top and bottom of the screen (or left and right if playing in landscape mode) shortening gradually if the player stops. Lines running between the center dot and the outer ring give the player a split-second advanced warning about which segments are going to turn what color. And each stage has a set pattern of changes which can be learned. All of these things together make Lumena fair in its difficulty.
In terms of accessibility, Lumena is a little strange. The game can be played just fine with no sound, thanks to all the visual indicators, making it accessible to the hearing-impaired. There's no colorblind mode, though. When I asked the developer about a colorblind mode, it turned out that they hadn't considered a need for one. They weren't able to get one into the initial release build but have committed to adding it in a future update.
All in all, Lumena is a good addition to the family of simple but brutally hard games that includes things like Super Hexagon. It's currently available as a universal iOS app which is regularly priced at $2.99 but is currently on sale for $1.99.