Seed of Life
Developer: MadLight Studio
Publisher: Leonardo Interactive
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle, RPG
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 11/08/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Welcome to Lumia
Seed of Life is a semi-open world puzzle platformer from MadLight Games, published by Leonardo Interactive. The game follows Cora, the last known survivor on the planet Lumia, as she seeks to restore life to her dying homeworld. An alien race – the Namurians – had drained its precious Lumium resources and left the planet to perish. After her grandfather fails to return home, and darkness continues to befall the land, she becomes determined to follow in his footsteps and find the ‘Seed of Life’ – a device that holds the key to restoring light and life to Lumia.
Early in her journey, Cora discovers a wreckage holding an AI being called Nar. Nar not only provides her with an ancient device called a ‘Talisman’, but also directions and useful information to aid her in her quest to save Lumia. Together, the pair traverse the destruction caused by the deadly Namurians and seek out the Seed of Life. Along the way, Cora must collect various ‘capsules’ which grant her different abilities to navigate the treacherous terrain. These abilities are vision, light, regeneration, sprinting, magnetism, sprinting and manipulation. All of the capsules are powered by Lumium, which Cora must collect and store in the Talisman by draining Lumium plants.
A Difficult Journey
Cora’s journey is not an easy one, and is fraught with danger. As well as environmental obstacles to navigate, she must also avoid toxic zones which drain her life force and Lumium resources. There are also small Namurian enemies at various points, which if spotting her, latch onto her and drain her life and Lumium away. You can avoid them by stealthily moving by without entering their field of view, or if you’re the aggressive type, you can allow them to approach you and then throw them off and stun them by charging your Talisman.
It is crucial that you collect as much Lumium as you can, and use every plant you see to increase your maximum capacity. Lumium powers all of your abilities – including sprinting, much to my dismay – so it is worth seeking out the hidden plants which increase your capacity by 100, too. If you find yourself regularly losing health, it is also worth seeking out the various ‘Landmark’ tablets. Landmarks increase your base health in exchange for slightly lowering your maximum Lumium capacity. Each one requires a different base amount of Lumium for you to use it, so again, make effort to visit as many plants as possible.
Intriguing Concept, Disappointing Execution
The concept and gameplay of Seed of Life intrigued me from first glance. However, the actual experience of playing the game was unfortunately disappointing. Many of the controls and mechanics were clunky and unreliable, and given the emphasis on platforming, I was often frustrated to find myself missing jumps or not being able to fully control Cora’s movements. Having sprint as an unlockable ability rather than a default skill also felt largely counter-intuitive, as Cora’s default movement speed is incredibly slow. I would have much preferred to have sprinting available from the get-go, and have an unlockable long jump ability or similar instead.
It was also a little frustrating to have the toxic zones appear prior to being able to access the Talisman’s regeneration capsule. At this point, my brain is almost trained to seek out collectibles, so this led me to explore in areas that I couldn’t yet survive in without realising it. I also had to pass through such areas without much access to Lumium resources, which had a high risk attached. Having this capsule accessible earlier would have improved my experience greatly, as I could have risked exploring the world and seeking out its secrets without fear. Another criticism I have is with regard to how the controls for the manipulation capsule worked, as these were nothing but infuriating. Either those should have been more intuitive, or the manipulated objects should not have been on a timer.
A Brief Adventure
Even the redeemable qualities of Seed of Life have their own flaws. Visually, the game’s design is impressive, with a well defined aesthetic and UI to match. The game world is thriving with greenery, different environments and unique models. That said, the character model for Cora is somewhat underwhelming, with a static expression and limited detail. Her voice acting, and indeed that of her grandfather, seems forced and somewhat uncomfortable to listen to. The tendency of Nar’s voice to pop up to explain the obvious, as well, interrupted the ambient sounds and music playing in the background. Plus, the whole narration implies that there is a singular ‘Seed of Life’, while you spend the game seeking out two different ones. Mildly confusing, to say the least.
Reflecting on Seed of Life, it is a game with a lot of potential but poor execution. Its platforming and puzzle elements, if not thwarted by cumbersome controls, would have actually been quite fun. Similarly, its aesthetic and audio would have really impressed me if they had been consistent. Sadly, however, both exhibited noticeable issues. It is a short game, lasting under ten hours even with a completionist approach, which also makes its price point of £19.49 on Steam potentially questionable. If Seed of Life sees some quality of life updates in the future, I’d recommend it, but for now, give it a miss.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2.5 out of 5
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.