Chillingo’s Kumo Lumo is a unique, adorable, and (best of all) free mobile game available for iOS devices. Gameplay is simple and straightforward, which makes it perfect for casual play. It’s a universal app, so it will run smoothly on both your iPhone and your iPad, assuming they’re running iOS 5.0 or later.
Kumo Lumo doesn’t really fit into any specific genre, but it can be best described as a “rain ‘em up” game. You play as Lumo, a smiling storm cloud with a surprisingly deep, rumbly voice. Lumo’s job is to circle the planet and rain on things to make them grow. Trees become forests, hills become mountains, and small towns become cities with Lumo’s rain. Lumo is also responsible for disposing of nature-destroying enemies, such as flamethrower-carrying foxes, black smoggy clouds, and volcanoes.
Whenever a new gameplay element is introduced, there’s a short tutorial to go along with it. To navigate around the globe, you can either spin the planet, or you can tap and drag Lumo around the screen. To rain on things, you just tap Lumo. Lumo can only hold a limited amount of rain (and, being a cloud and all, will evaporate if he runs out), so it’s important that you fly around and collect water from other sources—like other clouds, puffed-up sheep, and whales’ spouts—to keep your water meter up.
There are currently 36 levels in Kumo Lumo, each of which has one goal and three possible stars to be earned, which indicate your level of expertise. (We’ve seen this mirrored in other Chillingo apps, like the hugely popular Cut the Rope.) To complete a level you must satisfy the goal, but to excel at a level you must fill your star meter, which is in the upper right corner of the screen. Goals can be anything from killing a certain number of enemies to growing a certain number of forests, and are usually quite easy to satisfy.
But getting stars is another story—you’ll have to grow and kill additional things to fill your star meter, and only then should you complete the goal to finish the level. In the later levels, getting the full three stars can be tough and tedious. If you wait too long to satisfy your goal, you may run out of water sources, and it often ends up being just a lot of busy work.
Overall, Kumo Lumo is an adorable game. The world is made of cute, Japanese-looking paper cutouts, which looks excellent on my iPhone’s Retina screen. The game isn’t perfect, however—the movement could be a little more precise, especially when you’re running low on water, and getting extra stars can be very frustrating—but it’s free in the truest sense of the word. There’s no push to get you to spend money, though you can certainly pick up some extra gold pieces to buy upgrades through in-app purchases, such as a larger water meter or more lightning power.
If you’re a casual gamer who likes cute, unique games (and who doesn’t?), Kumo Lumo is a great game for the price.