Reader Review: Lumines Electronic Symphony

Reader Review: Lumines Electronic Symphony

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.


  • Yay, I’m back. I sent 3 reviews to Tracey and let her decide when to publish what – Lumines, Wipeout 2048 and Rayman Origins. That leaves:

    -Dungeon Hunter Alliance
    -Hot Shots Golf
    -Dynasty Warriors Next
    -Modnation Racers (thanks Tracey!)
    -Unit 13
    -Super Stardust Delta
    -Mutant Blobs Attack
    -Motorstorm RC
    -Hustle Kings
    -Sumioni Demon Arts

    I’ll probably do the last five in one big review. I might pick up Escape Plan too if I play my cards right.

  • If you haven’t played Lumines before and own a Vita, this should absolutely be in your collection.

  • Despite completely Mission/Puzzle mode on the 2 PSP, 1 360 and 1 PS3 version of the game, I can’t believe it was omitted this time, sure they were lucky to be mostly the same designs again, but it should have been featured, probably end up being a dodgy DLC pack or something.

    My problem with the game was the small changes they made with the game, changing time trial scores to actual point scores and not completed blocks, as I started getting better my goal was to try and get 150% of the time in blocks, eg: so 60 = 90 blocks. Succeeded in all but the 10min time trial, but I was in the high 800s though.

    Speaking of that, they removed the 10min time trial and was replaced with a 30 sec one, and they can’t use the portable game excuse to justify it, if you are any good with the game then the main mode lasts well over an hour.

    World Block and the XP system are pointless, the high score change is also annoying, where it shows your total score across every mode and not individual scores for the modes.

    Shuffle block and the avatar abilities, I hate the shuffle block, when you start out and have your towers under control, having one of these pop up is a complete nightmare and the avatar abilities can be abused also, I would love an update to the game but just having a Classic mode, that would be nice.

    I might come across somewhat negative, but it’s true there are some really odd decisions in changing what this game offers and alot of them dont work all that well.

    There are 2 fantastic things about the game though, the first being the soundtrack is really quite nice, there are some diverse and subtle tracks to play along with. In game, the action is as smooth as ever and couple than with the Vita D-Pad (which I think is the best I’ve played with), it’s the best gameplay for the series.

  • I hated the previous versions of Lumines, but I absolutely loved this Electronic Symphony. Primarily because there were more songs that I liked in this version, along with the new avatar abilities and shuffle block.

    For some reason, the shuffle block always saves me from an impending Game Over.

  • I just cannot play this game: “The future of the future still contains the past.” When I hear those words I just have to turn it off.

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