It made its debut with the PSP and now it’s back for the Vita, but how does it hold up all these years later? Kotaku reader Ben Latimore takes the new Lumines for a spin and shares his thoughts with us.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony
If you ask people to name a puzzle game on the PSP, they will probably say Lumines. The block turning, ear pumping Tetris-like puzzler was arguably one of the best games on the system, and now it receives a full sequel on the Vita. Do these fresh beats satisfy or do they fill the screen with boring?
Same Addictive Drug: Discounting one or two changes to the formula, Lumines is the same as it always has been on the PSP. Blocks turn, beats pump and the timeline swipes across the screen the same way it does in all previous iterations of the game, with the addition of a few new additions like the shuffle block, which modifies every block in contact with the landing position, and avatar abilities which can either save a horrible game or earn massive bonus points.
Bang Bang Bang: Electronic Symphony is just that, a plethora of techno and electronica, and it works incredibly well, providing the best soundtrack to exist in a Lumines game. Playing Voyage mode to hear all the tracks is just as fun as the old challenge modes of yore. Along with the returned skin editor mode, you can pop a few of your new faves into a playlist. Shove on a pair of headphones and bob your head to these amazing tunes.
Lacking in Longevity: Lumines II had a really good selection of modes. You had missions, puzzles, time trials, two-player duels with a line of AIs, and three different levels of difficulty in the main mode. In Lumines Electronic Symphony, there is…one main mode — the mode of time trials on a difficulty of hard. To add to the game’s longevity the developers added an XP system that rewards clearing lots of blocks during a game – but any good Lumines player can max out this XP system in a small amount of matches.
Social Elements: While I’m a fan of the idea that Lumines keeps you updated on your friends’ scores, it takes so long to load the entire high score list that you may think the game has crashed or just stopped altogether. Don’t try to load your friends scoreboard with a full friends list or you’ll still be waiting ten minutes later. “World Block” is a “mode” where players from around the world work towards clearing several million squares in their games, but it’s poorly explained in the manual how to contribute to it, and it’s usually gone for the day by the time you figure it out anyway.
Don’t get me wrong here, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is a good game. The classic spark is still here, but it’s just not as strong or satisfying as it has been in previous games. Don’t pay full price, but pick it up if you spot it in a bargain bin.