Luminary, the first offering from new start-up Big Idea Games (BIG), provides a welcome spin on the classic brain-training genre. While retaining the core features that make classic brain trainers so engrossing and challenging, the developers at BIG have added a fresh social element that has been sorely lacking in so many of their stolid predecessors. From the opening screen, one gets the sense that Luminary is different.
Players are, of course, first greeted with the option to simply play the game, but beyond that, they are able to view their scores and ranking, send messages and virtual gifts, invite and challenge friends, create a fully customizable avatar, and view their hard-earned awards and recognitions. The innovative ranking system implemented by Luminary allows players to compare their scores not only with their online social circles, but also against everyone in their gender (I sense a new Battle of the Sexes brewing), as well as the world as a whole.
Don’t let the social features lure you into a false sense of security, though. Luminary packs a hefty intellectual challenge. 16 mini-games are divided into 4 categories: Memory, Numbers, Visual, and Attention. Each game is unique, and will keep even the most ardent brain gamer busy for hours. Each full game consists of one mini-game in each of the 4 categories, and will consume less than 5 minutes of a player's day. Even here, Luminary has created more nuance and choice than any other game of its kind. Players can let Luminary choose a randomly chosen full game, or design their own. One category proving a bigger challenge than the others? As even a further option, Luminary allows players to hone their skills by playing all of the games in that category, a perfect way to balance your overall score, and climb to the top of the leaderboards.
Come back often, as we will be taking a closer look at many of Luminary's features in the weeks leading up to its release, including: a closer, in-depth look at Luminary's innovative social offerings; a break-down of each of the categories, and an examination of each of the mini-games within each category; and, a look ahead at future releases from Big Idea Games.