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Lumines has been out on PSP for a while. But like all good puzzle games it has great longevity and plays just as well now as when it arrived.
The game has similarities to Tetris but it different enough to play & feel differently. Coloured block of four squares fall from the top of the screen. The come in two colours & the four blocks always forma square. Sometimes the two colours are side by side, sometimes they are diagonal. They squares always land at the bottom of the page but unlike tetris if there is space beneath on block but not the other, half of the square will stop will the other will continue to fall. You don't get any gaps. The aim of the game is to join up four of more of the same coloured square into a square or rectangle shape. Once you've done this, the beat bar which travels from the left to right hand side of the screen will erase the square you made. The blocks above will then drop down.
I would like to comment on the 2 player game option. The game claims that this is possible if you both have a psp & a copy of the game. I'm not sure about this though as my wife has a copy as do I & we can never seem to get the 2 player game to work. Bit of a let down.
It is a very simple game to play as is Tetris. Just like the most famous of puzzle games it is very addicitive. You will be constantly playing over & over again trying to beat your high score. If you like puzzle games you will definitely enjoy this. If you don't like puzzle games you might want to avoid it. Although it's very cheap. Bonus!
If if you like tetris and music, and to sit for hours trying to beat your high score, you will love lumines. I got this game free with my psp, and played it alot on the train to uni.
The game is pretty similar to tetris, but you have to match up colours in squares for them to disapear. This sounds simple and easy but its not when you are 10 minutes in, as the game stops when you run out of space. The music in the background is a great accompanyment. There are also player versus cpu mode, which isnt as good as the normal mode, but still ok.
The menu layout is fluid, and looks cool, so does the game screen when you are playing. Although graphics aren't really that important in this game, but it helps.
This is a great game to get if you have train journeys, or tend to bored during the day... I would recomend it
thanks for reading
Lumines is a fast-paced puzzle game for the Sony PSP, however different versions have become available for many consoles, such as the Xbox 360 and on mobile phones too.
The gameplay is very fast-paced and extremely addictive. I'll admit that at first I didn't really get the point of the game as it was a bit slow and the score wasn't really rewarding to begin with. However I persevered and I was a very good decision to do so as with practice as well as a few visits to the puzzle mode you can learn exactly the way which the game wants you play, and with this new knowledge and skill you can gradually increase the pace of your gameplay and rack up higher and higher scores. In the process of doing this you also unlock "Skins" which are basically different backgrounds and music to cycle through as your run progresses. There is also the cool feature of being able to "battle" another player on another PSP by clearing as many blocks on your screen as possible and limiting the space in which they have to operate, this is a fairly simple format however with the innovative system of having cubes of four squares to rotate and drop as quickly as possible the experience quickly escalates into a flurry of combos and high scores.
The graphics are very colourful and bright as they aim to keep the player as involved in the game as possible whilst still maintaining the simple theme of the game and the way in which the player can easily distinguish between the various patterns and colours, which is essential to being able to play the game in the quick way to which it was intended. As previously mentioned there is also loads of skins to unlock so that the graphics and setting changes slightly so that the player doesn't get bored with the way the game looks, all of which are very colourful and nice to look at.
The sounds of the game are great and if anything they help to maintain the simple theme of the game. There is different music for each skin that is unlocked; each mysteriously suits the different colour scheme that is implemented by every single theme. There are a few effects to go with the rotation and clearance of blocks, however there aren't that many really. This doesn't detract from the experience though as if the creators had used too many effects they would have just over-complicated a game which already has a brilliant feel to it.
If you enjoy games such as Tetris and Bejeweled then you will certainly like this game, and what's better is that it is a casual game experience and that is perfect for a lot PSP gamers. This is one of the best puzzle games that has been released for a long time, and also one of the best, most addictive games for the PSP and because the sequel has now been released it is available at a cut price!
As I said in my PSP review, I am struggling somewhat with the selection of games currently available for Sony's handheld console. Out of my current, admittedly limited, collection, Lumines is by far the one I play the most.
So what's it all about then?
Well, to quote from the blurb on the Lumines website, it is "an addictive, hip and stylistic musical puzzler that promises to transcend any puzzle game to date", which "gives players the chance to bust blocks while grooving to evolving musical scores of rock, techno and pop grooves".
Or to put it another way, it's kind of like Tetris... ;)
In a nutshell, blocks fall down from the top of the screen, and you have to arrange them into certain formations which cause them to disappear, earning you points. If your stack of blocks hits the top of the screen, it's game over.
In Lumines, the screen is divided up into a grid and all the falling blocks are 2x2 squares - as opposed to the various tetrads you get in Tetris. The variation comes from colours. Each level features two colours, and each block is made up of one or both of these colours. The object is to create regular (at least 2x2) patterns of a single colour - which will then disappear, earning you points and freeing up space for more blocks.
It gets a little more complicated than that though, as the blocks don't disappear immediately. There is a vertical line that regularly sweeps from left to right across the screen, and the patterns that are highlighted to disappear will only actually disappear when this line passes over them.
Matters are complicated further by a special type of block (usually highlighted by a bright contrasting colour) that will cause all connecting blocks of the same colour to be removed. When any blocks are removed, the remaining blocks will drop into the space created - which can then create further patterns in the stack of blocks, and more being removed. You can rack up impressive combos with cunning positioning of your blocks, and especially with the use of special blocks.
Finally, at certain score thresholds you progress on to a different level of the game. This changes - the music, the background graphics, the block colours, the sound effects, the speed blocks drop, and the speed that the line moves across the screen. This obviously has a big impact on how you play the game. For example, different colour schemes have different levels of contrast, which can make it harder to make out potential shapes in the heat of the moment. A faster drop rate makes the game feel a lot more frantic. A slower-moving line means it takes longer for blocks to disappear, but will at the same time allow you to construct larger shapes for higher-scoring combos. And so on.
This can make the game quite tactical, as if you know you're about to progress onto a fast, frantic level you will be trying to wipe out as many blocks as possible to give you room to panic in, or if you're about to progress onto a level with a slow moving line you might try to set up a lot of almost-shapes that you can string together for lots of points.
And that, basically, is the game. As I said before, it's a very similar concept to Tetris - but that, as far as I'm aware, is Nintendo property these days, so is unlikely to be appearing on other formats.
There are several different game modes. The basic single-player game is as described above. Alternatively, you can select a single level out of the ones you've unlocked and just play on that. Then there's the time-attack mode, where you have to score as many points as possible within a set time limit. Puzzle mode requires you to build up specific shapes to match a template on screen within a time limit. Finally, there is a two-player mode, where you can either play against the computer or wirelessly against another person. In the two-player game, the screen is split vertically into two, and removing blocks causes your side of the screen to expand, giving you more room to manoeuvre and your opponent less space for his blocks.
Well, that's the game - what do I think of it?
There's not much I can say about the graphics. It all looks nice and clean and sharp and so on, but at the end of the day it's just coloured squares and isn't really going to be showing off the power of your PSP.
The sound is good. Each level has its own music, and its own complementary sound effects for block dropping, block rotation, block removal etc. The music that I've experienced thus-far doesn't really dwell for long on rock or pop, and leans heavily on the techno / dance. Which isn't really my thing. But I don't find it detracts from the game too much. I'm sure the average funky 20-something casual-gamer that I feel the PSP is aimed at (again, as mentioned in my PSP review) will love it though.
But these are relatively inconsequential - a puzzle game like this lives or dies by its gameplay. And it's here that the inevitable comparisons with Tetris really kick in. Don't get me wrong, Lumines is good, and can get seriously addictive. The basic single player game is compelling, and rewards you with unlocking new levels for the single-level game and new player logos. I also gather that, if a wireless internet connection is available, the game will automatically connect and download new content once you reach certain points.
For me, the time-attack version of the game is really where it's at. You can play for set time periods varying from 60 seconds through to about 10 minutes, and is ideal for a quick, intense burst of gaming. Well, it often starts out that way, but I've spent nearly an hour at times just replaying the 60 second game, trying over and over again for a higher score.
The two-player game is good fun too. I've played it briefly against the PSP and against a mate, and it works well, but I wouldn't say it'll keep you up into the small hours.
I have to say I don't understand the puzzle mode - it seems both pointless and impossible, and I've not even managed to complete the first level. Who knows, I may have an epiphany at some point and blaze through it, but I don't really try it any more so I doubt it...
So yes, Lumines is a good game. It's the only game my aforementioned mate actually owns for his PSP. But... For me, the added complexity has taken something away. It just doesn't quite have the purity and compulsiveness of Tetris. Now not quite measuring up to Tetris is no bad thing and Lumines still stands on its own two feet as a good game, but a small part of me is still left a little unsatisfied...
If you have an addictive personality, you might choose to look away now. If you like to be beaten and would rather give up than try and beat harder and harder targets, you're in the wrong place. If you have a short concentration span, you've picked the wrong product. Failing that, I may just have the answer to your gaming dreams. Enter Lumines Puzzle Fusion.
Exclusively on the Sony PSP (read it and weep) this is without a doubt the most compulsive, addictive computer game that I have ever played. Certainly, the fabulous capabilities of the PSP enhance the game playing experience, but the main factor is the fiendishly simple gameplay, startlingly energetic visuals and the basic fact that once you've started you can't put the damn thing down!
An Overview of Gameplay
The concept behind Lumines is actually very simple - I think that is pretty much the case with all good games. It's a simple puzzle game that is a little bit like Tetris. Square coloured blocks, in groups of four fall from the top of the screen at increasing speed intervals and need to be arranged on the game board, such that you keep the screen as clear as possible. You do this by creating blocks of four, six, eight or more even-numbered combinations of squares of the same colour. Unlike Tetris, the blocks are all the same shape - four little squares - but they could be one of two colours in any combination. Clearly a block of four the same colour is the easiest to eliminate because it is already in the desired state. So you would try and match a block of two of one colour so that they sat next to a block of two the same colour and eliminated one another. As the blocks fall they will slice, such that if one stack is higher than the one next to it and you drop a pair of blocks, one will fall on one stack and one will fall on the next one. You can use this to your advantage to create the single-colour formations that you need to clear the blocks of the screen.
Like Tetris, you can rotate the pieces as they fall so that they in a particular way that sets them up to clear off the screen. You can also move them across the screen from left to right, although as the game progresses you need to do all of this more and more quickly before they fall in the wrong place. Occasionally, a wild card appears, which is one of the coloured dots with a little bling of diamond in it. These are particularly useful because when you create a formation using one of these it will also eliminate every other square of that colour that is touching or touched by your formation, in any direction. In dire circumstances, thjs can suddenly clear half the board for you.
Sound simple enough so far does it? Well, it does get a little more complicated. When the blocks fall and form the formation that you want, they do not physically disappear straight away. A little rocket ship moves continuously across the screen from left to right with a laser line that scans the screen and disintegrates any of the blocks that have formed the formation you want. Until the laser hits them, they remain on the screen. Whilst this process is quite fast, if you are quick enough you can drop more blocks onto formations already in place to create bigger formations that, when scanned by the laser, will give you higher points. The drawback is that they might alternatively get in the way of new blocks falling or create formations that you had quite visualised when everything falls down into place.
It's one of those things that is really hard to describe clearly without complicating things, but suffice it to say, if you pick the game up, within a few minutes you will have mastered the basics. It will only be in the many hours of gameplay afterwards that you start to master your techniques and tricks .
It does, however, get a little more complicated. In certain modes, the background "skin" of the game screen changes as you reach certain score thresholds, as do the colours of the blocks on the screen. Initially, it feels like it's largely done for aesthetic purposes - and it IS very groovy! There is, however, more to it than that, because I quickly realised that my brain seems to respond better to certain combinations of colours than others. For example, when the blocks are silver and green, I seem to do very well. When they change to to orange and white, I fare rather more poorly. The design of the blocks changes too. With some "skins" the blocks are simpole, rounded boxes with no detail; on others they are squared; and on others they have details on the box faces.
As if all this chaos wasn't bad enough, the background also changes into a wild variety of different formations. There are some that have topographical maps and moving pictures; others have a big picture of a smiling mouth speaking silently to you. Another, particularly irritating, skin is one where words keep flashing across the screen. And the music? You guessed it - that keeps changing too. There are hard-edged techno tunes, funky house, disco and many other kinds of music too. As you discover new skins they are saved in your profile for future selection - you kind of collect them as you go!
Quality of Sound and Visuals
The quality of production within this game is excellent. Whilst the visuals are fairly simple and static, everything is crisp, clear and vibrant and some of the diffferent skins are simply fantastic. It makes anything that you can get on any other hand held game device look, frankly, quite poor. The quality of the music is excellent too. It is composed far too well just to be game music - some of the tunes are completely addictive and when you listen through headphones, you become utterly absorbed in the thing. It goes without saying that as blocks move, rotate or disintegrate there are various fantastical sound effects to go with them and they all work really well - though you'll certainly have your favourites within the different skins.
The Challenge - and the Appeal
The challenge of the game, of course, is to keep on top of things as the computer throws more and more at you. The objective is to score points. For every formation you clear you will score points and according to what you do and how there are loads of bonus points to be earnt too.
A shrewd game player will quickly work out the best way to assemble certain formations and how to set things up so that the points tot up quickly. For example, the more you can combines formations before the laser eats them up, the more you'll score and soon you'll be accelerating the speed with which the pieces fall on purpose so that you can maximise your score. High scores go onto a leader board, so from one game to the next you'll have a target to beat - although, like anything else, this will, of course, get harder and harder!
The appeal of a game like this, for me, is the ease with which you can dip in and out. Perfect for those short bursts of enthusiasm you get when you really want to play something fairly superficial. You don't have to progress through levels, follow a story, have fights or find missing artefacts. You can play for as little or as much as you like - you don't even have to finish a game because your progress is saved if you simply pause and turn the PSP off.
The other big appeal is the simplicity of game play. I'm not a huge fan of games with lots of different controls and instructions, more so if you have to pick up more and more as you go along. With this game, you'll have it mastered in a matter of minutes and then you can just sit back and enjoy the actual challenge of the puzzle not trying to remember which button does what. The very thin user guide is indicative of how little there is to pick up. This also means that it's very suitable for all ages. I would say that as soon as your child has reached the age where he / she is interested in computer games, then this would be great. On the same token, it's not childish though, which means that adults will genuinely enjoy it too.
Another thing that I really like is that you can save player names with their own little icon (I'm a giant alien called Doris). This means that different people can use the same PSP and have their own scores saved on the leader board. Dare I suggest that anybody should actually share something, but if there are old-fashioned households out there like that, then this game caters for you pretty well!
Although the basic premise is the same on every game, there are different ways of playing:
Challenge Mode - is the one where the background skins change as you accumulate points. There is no time limit to this game - it ends when your blocks reach the top.
Single-Skin Mode - is where you simply select your favourite skin and play within that constantly. There is still no time limit but it's not quite so interesting because the sounds and sights don't keep changing.
Time Challenge Mode - is fixed to an interval of 60, 180, 300 or 600 seconds and as the name suggests you only have a limited time to get a good score.
2P VS Mode - needs connecting wirelessly to another device and then sees you pitted against an opponent. Haven't played this yet because my friends are all too tight, too broke or too stoned to buy a PSP.
VS CPU Mode - looks the same as above but is you against the computer. Computer says no.
Puzzle Mode - is an odd one. You have to create a shape on the screen (outlined in the background) with blocks. Not something I'm keen on. It's hard to do and feels rather pointless.
I like the first three modes, all of which are good fun according to what mood you're in but generally stick to the Challenge Mode, if only to try and uncover more skins.
I think you know I like this game. I'm a big fan of simplicity (which doesn't mean "easy") and I like something that you can pick up and put down easily. Lumines is perfect on all counts and the vibrant, colourful design just about tops it off.
Best price at time of press:
£27.99 from www.cdwow.co.uk
The Dooyoo team has added this to the Playstation category - I presume because there is currently no PSP category. The game, however, can ONLY be purchased for the PSP.
Lumines brings a unique puzzle experience to PSP handheld system owners, offering gameplay reminiscent of Tetris while including new innovations and enhancements in technology that fuse music, puzzles and luminescence. Users are challenged to delete blocks from the game screen while grooving to evolving musical scores of rock, techno and pop grooves. Lumines offers numerous levels of graphics and music with single-player, wireless multi- player and bonus modes. Earn changeable skins and increase amount of collectible characters.