Tranquility and simplicity aren’t typically things we expect from video games these days. Yet, they’re exactly what Luminesca offers. There’s no list of objectives, no overblown story or annoying characters. Just your little amphibious avatar traversing through the deep blue waters, exploring the depths and feeling immersed in the beautiful atmosphere it provides.
Luminesca is in alpha and only the first very short chapter is available to play, but even with the limited playtime there’s a good taste of what Luminesca is all about. You play as a freshly spawned creature whose race populates the area and are concerned about an ancient machine that’s embedded in the foundation of the sea. You’ll have to explore and solve puzzles in the murky depths using the natural light emanating from your body, either from just your natural aura or in a moveable concentrated flashlight-like beam.
So far the puzzles have consisted of finding the way to make parts of the old machine work in order to open up more of the environment. Though in an almost cruel way, considering that you have to lure one of your brethren into a socket to power it up. And even in my multiple plays, I was able to find different places and secrets when I took a new route to explore.
Of course the most remarkable aspect of Luminesca is its atmosphere. From the contrasts of the dark shadowed sediment and many shades of ocean blue to your own natural light, it’s visuals are simple and very pretty, and doesn’t require much from your PC to run well. I did encounter a graphical glitch here and there but again, it is in alpha. The music is a major highlight as well. It’s sound is so hypnotic and trance-like with the sounds of your actions in-game blending in to keep it interesting.
While it may be shaping up slowly, Luminesca is definitely an impressive feat, especially when you consider it is primarily made by one man, the obviously talented Matt Glanville. The first chapter may have been short, but it certainly is sweet. It can be pre-ordered for early access as well as a reduced price.