Lumines

Whenever a puzzle game is released onto the market, it inevitably faces an uphill battle. Do something too grandiose in scope, and the game could lose its “puzzle” feel. Do something too simple, and audiences will grow weary of doing the same thing in repetition.

Enter Lumines. Part block-matching, part virtual DJ, the game caused a frenzy amongst puzzle enthusiasts as one of the first games released for the PlayStation Portable back in 2005. Simple mechanics and a phenomenal soundtrack allowed the game to go beyond its niche, captivating casual and hardcore gamers alike. Its sequel, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, takes a tested forumla and improves upon it in every way possible.

The idea is simple: rotate a 2×2 cube to match up the colors with other cubes. As you frantically match up colors, a vertical line travels across the screen from left to right, eliminating the cubes that you have matched up. Easy-going gamers will appreciate its simplicity, but the devil is in the details. Each “skin,” or level, is set to a techno beat, and that line that travels across the screen is in sync with the music. If the matching of blocks is timed to match the beat of the music, bonus points are earned.

While the game mechanics are essentially unchanged, the addition of special powers for each of the game’s avatars can drastically alter the pace of a game. Playing with the starting avatar? Unleash the power to elimate all the blocks of the same color that are touching.

These changes may seem small on paper, but they add an entirely new way to play the game and form various strategies. And in the world of possibilities and puzzles that Lumines: Electronic Symphony offers, there’s never a wrong way to play this magnificent title.

9.5 out of 10

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