May 29, 2014 3:15 PM | Lena LeRay
Lumini, currently in development, is the first game from Speelbaars. Speelbaars is made up of a group of six college students from The Netherlands, and although Lumini is still in pre-alpha, it already shows the potential to be an engaging action/adventure game.
In Lumini, the player controls a school of fish-like creatures (lumini) that float through the air. The goal is to explore a web of tunnels, seeking out and picking up the shining fruits of flowers along the cave walls. The lumini can be killed off by hostile creatures and environmental hazards, but the player will eventually come across things that look like altars which absorb the fruit collected so far and spawn new lumini to join the player's school.
At the moment, there seem to be three types of controllable lumini that spawn at random to join the player's school. Each is denoted by a different color and two of the types come with a special ability, a temporary speed boost and a shield from danger. The player can rotate through which type of lumini is at the front of the school and which ability is therefore available to use.
Lumini's aesthetics are very nice. A lot of the game has a very zen sort of background music and an underwater feel even though there isn't any water to be found. Gameplay is 2D, but the graphics are 3D, and as the player moves their glowing school of creatures around, crystals in the background light up when the creatures get near. There are hints in the background that there's a story built into the game, and Steven Honders of Speelbaars has told IndieGames that they want to "implement a narrative of the world and the part Lumini take within that world, without ever taking away the controls of the player (no cutscenes, pre-scripted events, chapterbased level systems, etc)."
The player's controls are what the game centers around in a lot of ways. It's possible to split the school lumini in half and control them independently. When using a controller, moving the right joy stick splits half of the fish off and controls their movement; to rejoin the schools into one, the player must simply stop controlling the second school and run into it with the first school. There are keyboard controls, too, though the game is really well-suited to controller use. Right now, that capability isn't used for much, but Speelbaars want to integrate puzzles into the environment better and otherwise give the player reasons to make use of the environment.
Speelbaars has a pre-alpha demo of Lumini available for download for Windows. Right now they are focusing on the Windows version, which is the only version they are advertising on Greenlight, but they have plans to expand to Mac and Linux in the future. There is a possibility of the game making it to consoles eventually, but that is still tentative.
"With Lumini we are trying to combine the atmosphere from games like Flow and Flower with traditional adventure aspects like Zelda, Pikmin, Aquaria, etc," says Honders. "so we can make a game that gives players from both spectrums something they'll like."