The following is a reader-submitted game review by Marcus:
Too often do we come across Flash games (especially shooters) that are either too brief or too repetitive. Luminara by John Cooney is a brilliant example of how to avoid those problems.
It's simple enough: you are a dot and you fire bullets. Use a combination of keyboard and mouse for control: cursor arrow keys move your ship about; aim and fire with the mouse. And like any good game, the premise always stays exactly that simple. What gets more complex are the subsequent waves of enemies that come at you.
Ranging from meandering green boxes and laser-wielding orange triangles to ominously growing orange squares, Luminara knows how to do justice to the concept of "increasing difficulty". It never gets too hard, but it never lets up on you either. There are no intricacies to level design, but the seemingly endless combinations of enemies and numbers is more than enough variation.
But to make sure that the game doesn't turn into a mindless exercise in "click-move-repeat", John has thrown in an absolutely wonderful host of power-ups, ranging from a boost in your bullet size to a powerful auto-lock laser that literally shakes the entire game environment to its foundation.
Despite being such a graphics intensive game—the sheer number of objects rendered at any given time is mind-boggling—the game engine handles the challenge well, automatically adjusting quality as needed to cope with the number of pixels moving about the play field.
The music that accompanies the game is also a huge draw, hectic enough to get you excited but not loud enough to make you turn off the speakers. Sound effects are finely balanced, as well.
Luminara is deceptively simple, needing no instructions to pick-up and play. But the minimalism here shouldn't be chalked up to paltry design or shoddy work. Instead, it's the practiced minimalism of good game design at work.