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Lumines review part 1

In simple terms, Lumines is to Tetris what Half-Life is to Wolfenstein 3D: a new, polished variation of a familiar theme. The game is similar enough to Tetris that gamers will be able to jump right in and enjoy it yet it’s sufficiently different to keep gamers engaged. It takes less than 30 seconds to grasp what you have to do but formulating a winning strategy takes a good deal longer.

I find the game to be a great way to kill a few minutes and the PSP’s fantastic Sleep mode means I can always put the game on hold and return to it at the exact point I left it if my game session should exceed my free time.

And you will want to return to the game because it’s addictive. There are new skins and avatars to unlock and new records to set. Plus, there is enough variety in game modes to ensure you won’t get sick of this title too quickly.

All game modes feature the same basic element: blocks of 2×2 squares drop from the sky and your mission, Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to create 2×2 blocks of the same colour which are subsequently deleted. The game ends when the blocks aren’t able to drop into the game space.

Simple, yes?

Ah, but there are additional wrinkles.

Blocks of the same colour are only deleted as a time line passes over them as it sweeps across the screen from left to right and the time line’s speed varies with the level. This is an important element because a slow time line gives you ample time to string together combos of blocks to obtain a higher score. (You get a score multiplier every time you delete 4 or more blocks in a single time line sweep.) On the other hand, levels with a fast time line tend to be frenetic and if you’re mistake-prone, you’re done for.

Gameplay is pretty lenient all told, though. The squares only come in two colours and there’s a preview of the next three blocks to drop on the upper-left side of the screen. Additionally, there are destroyer squares which wipe out adjoining squares of the same colour once a block has been created and these provide a good chance of survival even when perilously close to Game Over territory. It’s quite exhilarating to clear the half the screen with a multiblock combo or a destroyer square but any yell of triumph quickly turns into a strangled squawk because the next block starts dropping and the battle begins anew …

Posted in Games, Lumines.

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