Lumines II Review

Lumines II can be considered to be more of an upgrade over the original than an entire sequel. The gameplay essentially is the same, but the new features, tracks, and options added to the game are enough to please fans of the original game and make it even more recommendable to players new to the series.

First I’ll start with a recap of the gameplay for those of you who missed Lumines the first time around. Lumines resembles Tetris in that blocks fall from the top of the screen that can be rotated or moved before they come to rest at the bottom of the screen or on another block and in that you’ll lose the game if your block pile reaches the top of the screen. Unlike Tetris, though, all of the blocks are the same size – two squares by two squares. Each of the four squares making up a block can be one of two colors. The goal in the game is to eliminate the blocks by forming two by two or larger blocks of the same color in the game screen. One other difference from Tetris is that the blocks don’t disappear immediately after a match is made. A vertical line passes across the screen from left to right and it will remove the matched squares when it passes over them. This gives you a few extra precious seconds in which you can try and build up the size of your match for more points before it disappears completely. And the last major difference … the sound. Tetris has always been a silent game or played against a backdrop of cheesy renditions of Russian folk music. Lumines on the other hand is backed by one of the coolest techno soundtracks ever to appear in a game. The music adds a lot to the game as the infectious grooves really amp up the excitement when the blocks start dropping fast and furiously. It even affects the gameplay itself as the moving line’s frequency is tied to the music’s beat.

Now you get background videos.
Levels in Lumines II are referred to as skins, which are combinations of the colors used, the background graphics, and the music, and there are 60 different skins in the game. New in Lumines II are video skins in which a music video is used as a background for the play area. The video skins are an interesting addition but they don’t necessarily work all that well for the game. It can be difficult to try and focus on the blocks as the background is moving and flashing on you, and you certainly can’t enjoy the videos while concentrating on the blocks. If you find one particularly distracting – or simply get tired of starting a new game with the same skin all of the time – you can use the game’s skin editor to set the order of the skins in the game or to have it avoid a skin altogether. You can even create a custom series and save it as a Single Lap game and the game will store your scores each time you make it through the series. Even cooler than that is the sequencer editor which basically lets you create your own levels and music. The music consists of up to eight “pages” of notes that you add by turning them on and off at each set measure and be setting the overall tempo of the composition. It’s not a full-fledged music program by any means, but you’ll surprise yourself by some of the tracks you come up with (unless you’re already a composer or DJ).

Lumines II includes a couple of other modes of play in addition to the main game. There’s a mission mode in which you must accomplish a particular challenge such as clearing the screen of blocks within a set number of moves or filling the entire screen with blocks. Puzzle mode challenges you to match certain patterns like creating a cross in the playing area. These modes add some welcome variety to the game and can both be enjoyable, but the difficulty from challenge to challenge can vary widely and may prove to be frustrating to many players.

Lumines II also packs in a lot of little extras that were absent in the original game. There’s extensive stat tracking that you can use to break down your gameplay, tutorials to help players new to the game, game sharing, and even a demo of the developers’ new puzzle game, Every Extend Extra.

Lumines II is probably the top puzzle game available for the PSP. If you missed Lumines the first time around, then by all means give Lumines II a shot. It will provide you with plenty of enjoyable, fast-paced puzzle action. If you’re a veteran of Lumines, there are enough new features here to warrant an “upgrade”.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 90%. How many puzzle games help you get your groove on?


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