The age old idiom “If its not broke, don’t fix it” is known to be especially true of puzzle games. I mean feel free to add things, move stuff around a bit – hell, even throw in some new power ups… but if the core game-play is solid then leave it the hell alone! Lumines: Electronic Symphony for the PS Vita is a great example of this; elevation without innovation. It doesn’t add a slew of new design or features, but what it does add, streamlines an already great experience.
Lumines is a musical puzzle game, where groups of coloured blocks drop into the game area from the top of the screen in grids of 4(2×2 to be precise). The player must join four or more bricks of the same colour before the end of any given “turn”. On each “turn”, the rhythm bar (which is kind of like a metronome) passes from left to right and destroys any groupings of four or more, giving the player a score based on how many blocks were joined during that “turn”. It’s a simple concept but its the mixture of visual and aural fidelity, alongside the solid mechanics that have made Lumines such a runaway success.
I missed out on Lumines in it’s debut appearance, despite buying my PSP day one, I more than likely picked up some muck like “Dynasty Warriors 2 PSP” . My assumption now is that I saw it on the shelf and presumed it would be a by the numbers Tetris clone, full of repetitive Techno music. Its worth noting at this point in the review that I am not a huge fan of Electronic music; for some devotees of Lumines, this game without the music is like Gran Turismo without cars! When I finally played the game (this was the Xbox Live Arcade Version) I was very impressed with the game design and remember convincing one of my flat mates to buy the game, just so I could play it.
Flash forward to Lumines: Electronic Symphony.