i’ve had a PS2 for a while, but nintendo fanboy that i am i really haven’t been motivated to spend much time playing it; it just doesn’t have many games that i’m interested in playing. the first one that i ended up spending a significant amount of time on was actually the PSP port of lumines, called lumines plus. i’m even less interested in the PSP’s library of games, but the original lumines got such glowing reviews that it piqued my interest, despite my lackluster response to the same company Q entertainment’s second puzzle game, meteos for DS.
i came across a review of the PSP version on living social that says the following, which i completely agree with (apologies to him, but living social doesn’t include links to individual reviews):
- There really isn’t any variety to Lumines’ gameplay. Every level is the same, just with different songs and rhythms (while these make the difficultly variable, it makes the game feel repetitive. There are very few ways to unlock new skins, and once you play until you lose it’s hard to beat your high score and open the higher skins. If you are a completion gamer like my self, you will find it hard to sit down for over an hour with your PSP just to unlock 1 or 2 skins. Also the Multiplayer experience, while innovative, is absolutely retarded. By dividing the same play screen in two and letting the players fight over who has control over the majority of the level, it effectively cripples the losing player causing them to crash and burn way too quickly.
i’m a fan of tetris-like puzzle games in general, so there was a lot i enjoyed about lumines. the gameplay is satisfying, much more so than its sibling meteos, and its presentation is successfully hypnotic. both games are stylish and have a lot of polish, but both suffer in terms of their core gameplay which just isn’t deep enough to sustain the lack of variety inherent in all tetris-like puzzle games. meteos is more shallow, but it’s helped by the amount of (mostly trivial) unlockables. in the end neither has nearly as much longevity as the games that have become the lodestone against which all other puzzle games must be compared, namely panel de pon and puyo puyo. both of those games have sophisticated combo systems that provide a depth that lumines just can’t match. lumines includes a puzzle mode, where you use the blocks to create pixel art, that is mildly diverting but doesn’t really add anything to the whole package. so all in all the game is enjoyable, but it’s definitely not one that inspires rabid devotion in me; i won’t be tracking down all the sequels to this one anytime soon. which is just as well, considering the ever-increasing stack of games i have to get through …
some luminous links:
– reviews of the PS2 version at 1up and IGN. for comparison, IGN’s review of the original PSP version can be found here.
– lumines plus doesn’t include any tutorial on puzzle mode, so if you’re like me you may be at a loss as to how they work. there are a ton of videos of that mode on youtube, and here’s one from the XBLA version of the game.
– the page at strategywiki.org has a listing of all the skins. not sure it’s completely accurate, though, b/c parts of it are inconsistent compared to this list of unlockables at gamefaqs.com.
– FAQ of the PSP version at gamefaqs, inc. the puzzles from puzzle mode
– review of the newest iteration, lumines supernova, for PS3 on IGN. doesn’t look like much has changed, though.