Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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I love words. I love games. If handed a thick tome of Will Shortz Saturday Times crosswords, I will tear through them with gusto. I was an English major. Words are my thing. Playing with them in endless fantastical, absurd, and nonsensical forms remains one of my most basic approaches to problem-solving.
So, given the opportunity to try Lumicon by UglyApps sounded right up my narrow, black and white, checkerboard newspaper alley. I install the app and give it a go. The instructions are clear and direct. I have no difficulty comprehending that letters will begin to fall off into the "gutter" of the screen like the elusive miniscule black type on those damn ophthalmological charts. I also understand Lumicon’s suggestion to use combinations for “powering up.” Again, no sweat.
When I start to play Lumicon in earnest, I have an exceptionally difficult time. I have a pretty firm opinion that games picked up for play on the iPhone should be easy and somewhat frivolous. I use games, apps, and other functions on my iPhone when I have limited or no access to my laptop, desktop, or even my iPad. If I’m waiting at the airport, I want to relax with a quick game, browse for information on my destination, and I’ll need to check my email.
Laptops and desktops are for more serious technology endeavors. I need to write a paper, do serious research, or send an involved email? My laptop and desktop are ideal for such tasks. I make this distinction because I fail to understand why a game designed for the iPhone is nearly impossible to figure out in the first few tries, especially for a consumer who is pretty familiar with the iPhone and who also adores word games.
Lumicon eventually met my expectations. At first I struggled to discern the rudimentary functions of the game, and I found its graphics outdated and lacking in panache. The colors are muted, the sounds too generic. Arriving at Lumicon’s home screen is like waiting in a queue during peak hours to ride Space Mountain. The dark, atmospheric lighting and electronic sound waves take me out of the blistering Florida heat. The air conditioning soaks into my scorching skin and parched lungs.
Thankfully, I reset my game of Lumicon, and the action picks up. I place the appearing and more quickly disappearing letters into rows of my choosing. Words I don't even recognize as words begin to form and spark beneath my fast-finger tricks and points start to pop across my screen. The speed is increased, and my inner rhythms attempt to keep up while beady sweat thwacks my temple.
Like a good thrill ride, Lumicon goes from banal and meditative, comfortable and easy to a tilt-a-whirl of tossing, screaming, stomach-flipping nostalgia. It's why I stand in line for 45 minutes in the first place.