Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vidya Reviews: Lumines

Circa June 30th, 2005

Ok, if you haven't slit your wrists in anticipation, here's my review for Lumines, the ONLY game worth buying a PSP for. From the mastermind Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Lumines is an amazing puzzle game involving the matching together of two colors into squares or rectangles. Blocks of four drop from the top, and when you make a combo, it's cleared out when a tempo line crosses it. There's also special blocks that will clear out any blocks of the same color touching it. There's some pretty cool music pumping straight into your eardrums that is so awesome, it makes me want to throw up sometimes. The music changes as you play , and depending on how big your combo is, different sounds play (a four or more combo usually results in an awesome background noise). One of the cooler things about the game is that not only is the music unique per skin, but all of the accompanying sound effects are unique as well. There are a few modes: Challenge, Single Skin, Puzzle, Time Attack, and Vs CPU. Challenge mode consists of the player progressing through different skins (songs), unlocking skins for use in Single Skin mode. Typically a new skin is unlocked every five "levels," and ends at level 100 (well, doesn't END, but that's the last skin, and it starts over from there). I can't tell you how many times I played this game in 6-10 hour sprees, not even aware of what's going on around me. It's puzzle gaming bliss at it's finest. It's like you're in a trance, and it only gets better. There's only a couple of songs I don't like (I'm sure it's simply a preference thing), so don't expect EVERY song to be pure gold.

Another cool thing I enjoyed about Lumines is that you can actually tell when you're getting better. You start seeing combos you didn't see the first few times you played it, and where you may only get to level 30 or so for your first few times playing it, you'll find yourself getting farther and farther in subsequent play throughs. I rarely "die" before level 110 anymore, which is funny, because I used to think level 40 was nearly impossible.

Single Skin mode is what it sounds like, you just pick one song to play. So once you've played through level 100, you can just play that special song anytime you want, which is convenient. Also, there's a few skins you unlock just for playing the game a long time (one for 10 hours, and another for 20), so you'll HAVE to play those in Single Skin mode if you want to hear them.

Puzzle mode is kind of confusing to explain. Basically, you make these shapes that it tells you to make, but since there's only two colors, it can be very challenging. The shapes also have to be enclosed by the opposite color, so that can be pretty confusing. Basically, it should only keep you busy for a few minutes (not because it isn't cool, but because it's not that hard).

Time Attack is what you'd expect it to be. You simply play for a certain amount of time, and score as many points as possible. You can unlock new characters (purely a cosmetic change, nothing special about them) by accomplishing certain tasks.

Vs CPU is exactly that; you just play against the CPU. I have a love/hate relationship with the Vs mode, because it can be very one-sided. For whatever reason, both players get randomized blocks, so if one character starts off with an autocombo (a block with only one color), they've already got the lead. You see, the way you play Vs mode involves the players trying to outdo the other in combos, and if one gets a bigger combo than the other, it knocks his playing field over one block's length. Basically, you're screwed if your opponent happens to get some crazy set of blocks for their starters. You can unlock both skins and characters in Vs CPU mode.

There's also a normal Vs mode you can play over the WLAN, but I haven't played it with anyone (but the concept is the same as Vs CPU). I'd expect it to be pretty fun. I've also noticed a pretty cool stat tracker in the options for Wins/Losses stuff for Vs mode.

Basically, if you bought a PSP, but didn't buy Lumines, I hate you and you should kill yourself. Ignorance is no excuse. This game deserves your money WAY more than any gay game on PSP, so if you have to, trade in that stupid Ape Escape or Metal Gear Ac!d, it's worth it. A very solid 9/10.

Next up, Meteos for DS. From the makers of Lumines!

Q Entertainment can have my baby

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