Developed by 2Dynamics Games and published by Star Drifters, Lumencraft is a top-down, roguelike shooter and base building with tower defense elements. Alone in dark halls, we have to find the precious Lumen, humanity’s last chance for survival.
Lumencraft is surely an eclectic game. Tries to mix different genres with a dark and claustrophobic atmosphere. Alone in dark mines and armed only with a drill we have to collect resources, build defenses, structures and survive the lurking creatures. But the real question is: does the game achieve this?
Let’s find out and analyze all these elements.
World Building and Environments
For two centuries humanity struggled to survive without electricity and light.
In 2221 the survivors find Lumen: a crystal of high energy potency that may be the last chance for humanity. Miners established an underground settlement and voyage into the dark to reach the crystal. But in the darkness subterranean creatures threaten the miners.
In the map we are alone with an energy reactor, a drill and a flashlight. Surrounded by the dark we have to walk through the tunnels to uncover the map and dispel the darkness. The cave walls have metal veins and Lumen veins. The environment is fully destructible. It’s on a gray scale and quite flat, only the veins give a different look. The developers did a good job with illumination, dynamic lights and shadow positioning. Even the flashlight effect is beautiful to look at.
Unfortunately I can’t say the same thing for the character model and most of the enemies. Except for big creatures, there are too generic bug models. Regarding the gameplay they are well structured and have a good variety of attacks and types.
Instead the structures are well done and finished. They look rusty and oily, like an old assembly line.
Despite some flaws, all in all we have a pleasant glance.
Materials, Construction and Defense
As said before, Lumencraft includes a variety of genres in its gameplay. Mission starts with a wave countdown timer. During this time we have to build the necessary facilities for our survival. We have a good choice and a variety of facilities like turrets, walls, gate-walls, weapons manufacturing machines and other utilities structures. To Build we need two types of materials: Lumen and metal. Metal is required for all the facilities, weapons, walls and other physical stuff while Lumen is for the upgrades, a few stuffs like flares or reparation guns and for the reactor. Often both materials are required for upgrading turrets and other defenses.
To obtain the materials we need to explore the random generated map. Gradually discovering the map looking for veins to mine. But be careful, the corridors are full of bugs and monsters and if you are not armed you’ll be dead soon. So take a gun and let’s go digging.
Exploration and Monsters
Exploration is one of the most important phases because it is the preparation for the incoming wave. The player can collect resources in two different ways. Drilling the veins and creating new paths through the rocks so as to reach secret areas and rewards. The other is to follow the common path and kill Nests. These are monsters’ spawn points that once killed will drop a crate containing materials and weapons like ground mines, grenades, ammo and utility stuff.
Another collecting way is to build a shredder to put Lumen and metal chunks found during drilling.
But remember the wave countdown, before its end the player has to be ready to face the swarm incoming from a determined spawn point. After surviving some waves (it depends on the mission) you win.
Unfortunately the choice of only two materials is limiting and leads to the construction of only the most effective structures. Especially in missions with high waves, the player is forced to make the same choices to survive the most powerful creatures.
Game Modes and Strategy
Lumencraft has different game modes: Adventure modes, challenges, base defense and an editor mode.
Beside these we need to talk about the Campaign Mode and the Tutorial.
Let’s start with the bad news: Tutorial is completely useless and indeed creates much more confusion for the player. The player is thrown in a wave countdown with all the building possibilities and isn’t well guided through the mechanics of the game which he obviously can’t know. I personally recommend not playing it as a first experience.
It’s better to start with Campaign Mode. The first missions are an involuntary tutorial that helps the player settle in.
We start in a huge base and there’s an elevator with which we can access the mission tree.
There are 27 missions that can be gradually unlocked by completing some required steps.
Every mission has its Lumen reward and the unlock a facility or a weapon.
Some of them are short and give some variety to the classic wave routine, but the most important have the classic structure and can last even a couple of hours.
These missions have a red dot: it means that the map is randomly generated.
Speed is the Way!
Once completed a mission we return to our base and can spend Lumen for the upgrades. As the title says: speed is the way! Spending Lumen to improve drilling speed is a must. Drilling faster means collecting faster and more materials. You can even drill walls made of harder materials that cannot otherwise be excavated, this means that you can create your personal map shortcut.
The maps are very big and fully destructible, even your buildings are destructible too, so remember about accidental friendly fire!
In the main base you can upgrade your character. Increase its life points, speed, stamina and especially the backpack capacity. Yes, because if you run out of space you have to return to the reactor zone and empty it.
Stamina is important too: you can run and dash through the map and the insects are fast and dangerous.
Choose a weapon and upgrade its fire power. Powerful shots mean kill faster and remember the wave countdown.
Remember these upgrades because you have three attempts but if you die you’ll spawn near the reactor with nothing but your drill. So you have to do a corpse run to retrieve all your stuff, unarmed!
Monsters are attracted by the reactor, use all the resources to survive the waves and to not get killed. The Last waves can be really dangerous and all you have built can be erased in a few seconds.
The game is over when your reactor is destroyed or when you spent all your lifes in the mission.
My Two Cents
Lumencraft tries to mix different genres in one game. All these elements are present but none of them are explored in detail. This leads the player to always use the same strategy. The discovery and digging system are satisfying and the game has good ideas and mechanics. Even if in some missions the difficulty is set upwards.
If you love challenges, building, exploring and tower defense, give a chance to Lumencraft.
- Good lighting
- Satysfing drill system
- Good exploration mechanics
- Bad tutorial
- Unclear mechanics