Lumines was a top game with the release of the PSP. Innovating and about as addictive as that other handheld game that sold millions, Tetris. We know that making a successor for such a game is almost impossible but Q Entertainment thought differently and proudly sent us Lumines II for the PSP.
Just like with its predecessor, the concept is enfant-like simple. Falling blocks of 2 by 2 squares, with varying composition consisting of two different colors (depending level, here called “skin”), need to be arranged on a board. The idea is to make square or rectangular shapes of the same color after which they get erased by the timeline that goes from left to right over the field. If you don’t succeed in putting together the right colors, the whole with staple until you reach the top of your screen which also means the end of your game.
It plays very simple but after a while you’ll discover the more subtle, underlaying tactics. And that means it’s an addictive game that you easily get the hang of but will never perfectly control. And that’s because of the fusion of the game with music: the timeline moves faster or slower depending on the tune of the skin so that you’ll need to adapt your tactics. Of course the blocks fall faster as the game progresses and also special ones arrive to spice up the whole.
Everyone who ever played the first Lumines knows how the game is set up, but with the successor the makers didn’t only add new skins and music but you also get several new modes that make your UMD completely filled with content.
The singleplayer mode consists mainly of Challenge (which has three difficulty settings) in which you van unlock new backgrounds (around 60!) and songs. Granted, it’s more of the same, but it’s still great fun. The music video skins are especially worth mentioning, with contributions from Black Eyed Peas, Fatboy Slim and Missy Elliot. If listening to these bands is a nightmare for you, maybe the Skin Edit mode can spark your interest. You can choose which skins you want to play and in which succession you want to play them.
Also the Mission-mode is new, where you get new certain assignments, next to the return of Time Attack (get rid of as many blocks within a certain time) and the Puzzle Mode. Also multiplayer is present, with the option to play against friends or you can also just select the CPU as adversary. Thanks to a tutorial also beginners will immediately feel at home and learn the tricks of the trade. Add to that several stats, the fact that you can do Game Sharing and the inclusion of a demo for Every Extend Extra, and even the most sceptic sequal hater will have to admit the makers did their best to provide a new experience.
Those that don’t have enough with all that, can thanks to the Sequencer develop their own tracks and skins! It takes some time to make something beautiful but for hardcore fans this is again another way to prolong the lifespan of the game. And it’s just fun to try to equal the beautiful graphics and zippy music of this title. And that they’re beautiful is something I would like to emphasyze.
Textures are hair sharp, videos are played without artefacts and the skins are creative, beautiful and remind us how colorful and dynamic the PSP screen is. Only disadvantage is that now and then you’ll be overwhelmed visually so that you sometimes, especially in combination with videoclips, can’t really distinguish the different blocks from each other. But not split hairs!
Lumines II remains just like its predecessor a beautiful and addictive puzzle game. The makers succeeded in saving the perfect gameplay from the original and meanwhile expanding and improving it by adding new modes, new skins, new possibilities and the editor. Also graphically and soundwise the game shows off and that makes this title again a suggestion for all those that liked Lumines and want more, and even more for those that haven’t tried Lumines at all yet.