Lumines Game Review
Lumines for the PSP is a game that at first resembles Tetris, but as you will find, is nothing like Tetris at all. The basic game is to drop blocks so that four colors make a solid square. When this happens, you gain points and after a sweeper comes by and cleans them up, they drop. But it certainly gets more complicated than that! This game is an interesting twist on classic drop block puzzle games which you are sure to enjoy. A must buy.
Like I said in the overview, the point of the game is to make squares out of the individual squares. What I didn't tell you is that when the squares drop, instead of dropping as a solid piece, it will break up if there is not a foundation below the small square. This makes gameplay much harder, as you must "unlearn what you have learned" as Yoda would say. Once you have a square, there is a sweeper line that goes across the screen, removing the completed squares. This gives you time to make combinations, when dumping similar colored blocks can easily make two, three, even four or more squares at once. These give you major bonus points. Failure is determined just like Tetris, where if blocks stack up above the top, you're out. Unlike Tetris, however, Lumines offers the ability to change the location of the dropping block before it even hits the playfield.
In addition to the standard blocks, there is a block every once in a while that will drop with a jewel. When the block is combined into a bigger square, it will knock out any blocks that are linked to the jewel block, up, down, left or right. Sometimes this can be a lifesaver as you can get rid of up to a 1/3 or half of the blocks on the screen.
As the gameplay progresses, you will gain new levels, with new backgrounds, new block colors and new music and sounds. The first level proves to be quite annoying when the music continues to blast "we keep shining, we keep shining" over and over. It almost turned me into Jack from THE Shining. Once you break into the next level, you will be relieved. The nice thing is that once a level has been achieved, you can always play the game with just that level, so if there is some music you really dig, you're not subjected to "shining" all day long.
The two player multiplayer mode for Lumines is great. It works with the players fighting a battle against space. Players are positioned on the left and right of the gameboard, and as each player makes combos, it will make the other player's playfield becomes smaller, eventually to the point where they cannot keep up with the falling blocks. Similarly, the player's playfield who made the combos becomes bigger.
The graphics of Lumines aren't much to shout about. You've got some backgrounds and some blocks. That's about it. You might enjoy the graphics on certain levels better than others. I found some to be annoying, while others were great.
The sound in this game is very good. The background music is like being at a dance club, and the block sounds make you the DJ. There isn't much to say beyond you'll enjoy the music, except for the first stage.
Blocks are controlled with the D-Pad or the analog stick. You can easily move blocks quickly across the board, which is great because you don't need to press right ten times in order to get it all the way across the board. The standard buttons let you flip the block one way or another, and that's about it.
Like Tetris, this game will keep you coming back, again and again. And when you're tired of playing against yourself, the multiplayer will bring you back .. well... again.