Lumines Electronic Symphony (PS Vita)
If you're a puzzle game enthusiast, you would have definitely heard of great games like Tetris, Columns and maybe even Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. If that's the case, how about Lumines? No? Fret not, that's why I'm here!
Lumines Electronic Symphony is a rhythm-based puzzle game developed by Q Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. It's a game that puts your mind to the ultimate test with its fast paced action as well as adrenaline-inducing music that keeps your brains working.
What makes Lumines different from other puzzle games is that it doesn't immediately clear blocks of the same colour. Instead, there's a timeline that will constantly sweep from left to right to the rhythm of the soundtrack that's currently playing, clearing all blocks of the same colour along the way. This can be compared to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, where you need to deploy corresponding coloured orbs right next to their respective coloured blocks to clear them.
Another thing that makes Lumines different from other puzzle games is its gameplay interface. Throughout the game you'll notice that the skins and the soundtrack will change over time. These give the game a whole new variety, as each skin sets a different mood to the playing field. More on that later.
The gameplay feels like a combination of Tetris and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. The funny thing about this game is that being a game that drops blocks from top to bottom, its playing field is more wide than tall. This makes things more challenging as you progress to later levels because it will keep you on your toes making sure that your next block doesn't end your game.
Other than that, the controls are also very responsive and that is especially important for puzzle games. You use the D-pad and buttons for the main game and the touch screen for just about everything else. You're also able to control the whole game using just the touch screen too, but personally I'd stick to the D-pad and buttons. It's a good utilisation of the Vita's capabilities and it doesn't feel awkward or too gimmicky.
Another interesting I noticed is the "World Block" option. From what I understand, your performance in the main game can clear a chunk off a huge block (it looks like an Allspark to me), and youÂ’'ll be working with all the players across the world in order to clear it within the given amount of time. It sounds like a very interesting concept, except for the fact that I seem to be the only one playing at the moment. This is apparently so because it only registers your PSN friends who are also playing this game in order to clear more of the World Block.
… I need more PSN friends.
Along the way, you gain experience points and increase your rank in order to unlock skins and avatars. Avatars have special skills which you can use to help you during your gameplay by tapping on them on the bottom left corner.
Another amazing feature is that you can create a playlist using the skins that you've unlocked in order to play a game of Lumines in the very order that you want. This brings customisation to a whole new level and the moment the game ends is the moment your playlist has finished playing the last soundtrack.
As the title of the game states, the audio for this game is all about Electronic Symphony, so don't be surprised if all you hear in this game are electronica music. Techno, Trance, they're all in here.
Interestingly, I've actually heard some of the tracks somewhere before. As I've mentioned earlier, the music in this game is adrenaline inducing; you'll find yourself pumped up and ready to put all your focus on playing the game when you listen to it. The effect will be amplified if you use headphones. If you feel too tensed up, there are some tracks which will calm you down a little and get you prepared for the next wave of adrenaline rush.
The previous Lumines games were all built on 2D images. For this one, however, the whole game has been rebuilt in 3D and you'll notice that there is a sense of perspective during the gameplay. These blocks are no longer square images on a piece of paper; they're real 3D blocks now. Not to mention that the World Block is also rendered in 3D, but that's besides the point.
One thing I like (as well as hate, actually) is the rich selection of skins. Funny thing is, some of the skins make me feel hungry because the blocks look a lot like candies. Other skins just make me go "WHAT" because they're very disorienting. I don't know about other players, but the very moment the skin changes midway, I find myself making a lot more mistakes because I have to get used to the new skin and I end up squinting my eyes instead.
Here's a general health gamer's warning: please do not play this game for more than 1 hour, and remember to take frequent breaks of 15 minutes each. Take this time to rest your eyes and look at the scenery around you and realise how beautiful the world actually is.
Overall, Lumines Electronic Symphony is a very addictive puzzle game for me. I find myself playing on because I get better with every gameplay. The graphics are nice and colourful too, and its large variety appeals to different people. The same can be said for the soundtrack, which gets you hyped up to face the challenge that is about to hit you with full force. It's a game I would recommend and a game that you should definitely try out.
Thanks for reading my review, and may you Get Inspired Now!