Feb 13, 2014
An icy meteor crashes into the depths of the ocean, freeing an anglerfish that is naturally intent upon saving her species. This is Lumen’s story, and this simple backdrop launches us into the world of BioGloom.
This game is a mix of platform and raw adventure; the gameplay relies a good deal on the graphics, and this does not necessarily do the game a disservice. It reflects the depths of the imagined playing area well, with dark imagery being the main visual cue. Cutting through the enveloping darkness is the luminescence of Lumen’s (get it?) esca, which even gets adjustable colors. The fish is guided by a virtual joystick nestled to the bottom left, and this helps guide the fish through the cavernous paths that make up the game’s travelways. It is a stark environment, but it calls to be explored.
The gameplay, as noted, involes exploration, and getting from point A to point B in every level. Lumen’s esca serves as as a torch in the dark depths, and the brightness is maintained by consumption of smaller sea-dwelling creatures. Thus, eating is a key to survival. Since the playing area is so dark, the light pierces only so far, and navigation has to be performed carefully. Another feature is the ability to use the esca as a lure by switching the color. I found this fascinating, as it is a game adaptation of a real-world female anglerfish mutation.
The gameplay is leveled, and there is a brief tutorial that explains the basic gameplay: eat, stay alive, keep the light bar full, avoid bigger predatory creatures (and other dangers, like corals and jellyfish) and try to find a way to checkpoints and eventually the end of the level.
I think the graphics, while fun, could use a bit more polish; the animations felt a bit stilted in places. I also have to whine about the length, as I feel the game could use some more levels. Hopefully, the development team plans for that possibility.
It is a simple yet challenging game, and I, for one, would love to see more games that merge cool science with handheld gaming. Here’s to Rich Tomato (and more college students) making more games.