Like most puzzle games, this is simple to describe. Squares composed of two colours fall from the sky. Drop them so they make squares and they vanish, the more at once the better. As you play, it all gets faster and faster. Sounds good? Go play it. Goodness, that was an easy review. See you next time!
Except of course, it’s not that simple. Lumines isn’t just a snappy game mechanic - it’s a pretty face too. The action drips style - an ambience built in layers of rhythm, colours, pounding background music and fresh graphical skins, all blending seamlessly into each other as you rack up points and stay in play.
It makes all the difference, keeping the action moving, even when it’s just thunking metal crates fading into the plastic clink of smooth spheres.
The problem is that (inevitably) some stages are like a fork through the eye, a spoon down the ear, and a knife somewhere really uncomfortable. On these levels, the colours clash, the music’s horrible, but you’ve still got to play. It’s the only way to unlock new skins for the jukebox mode. Worse, they always come in the same order, and there’s no way to skip them - or the incredibly simple early levels. The only real variation comes in the alternate modes: Time Attack (how many points can you get?), Puzzle (make shapes), and Mission (simple tasks, like clearing a column).
Still, there’s one big bonus for this version over the Xbox and PSP versions - it’s free. If you wasted your money to play it on PSP a couple of years back, feel free to knock 20% off the score out of a sense of pique. Everyone else, head to www.wildgames.com. We’ve experimented, and you can safely ignore the short ad that plays at the start. That said, if you’re worried, you can either buy it outright, or buy a pack of game tokens that let you skip the ad with a clear conscience.
Jan 24, 2008