|I've heard people pronounce this all kinds of ways. I don't know the official way, but I like "loo-meens."|
I think this is from that guy what did Rez (entry 750) or something, right? Well, if it isn't, it should be, 'cause it sticks with the idea of pumping a lot of streamlined, stylish visuals at you to an active techno beat, which is particularly impressive in Lumines' case, since it comes to you in the modest form of a 2D block-dropping puzzler.
2x2 blocks of...blocks drop down one after another, and you have to rotate them to make their two color types match up with those already on the ground to form squares of a single color, which then disappear. Very simple, see? It's also quite easy, or at least, whatever mode I played was. Apparently there are a lot of modes, and the score can be maxed out, which I suppose will come as a letdown for puzzle maniacs who are actually good. I'm likely in no danger of that particular disappointment.
In fact I rather like it. It doesn't exactly blow you away with gameplay invention, but it's very pretty and shiny to watch the flashing color blocks with streaming, shifting colors while decent original music plays along with you. The ease of play just makes it more addictive, as you can sit there for what seems like hours just playing a single game; not much challenged for a lot of that time, perhaps, but just enjoying moving the flashy colors around.
What's particularly remarkable is that I was playing this in the back seat of a friend's car as we tooled over bad roads in the sticks--and I get motion-sick. And sorta sick I got, but it took a lot longer than it would'a had I been playing any other game, and I likely wouldn't have stuck with any other game nearly as long as I did with Lumines, under those circumstances. I suppose that eventually I might get tired of the easy block-droppiness, but I probably won't borrow it enough to find out.
|There's a "Puzzle" mode, in which you have to make certain shapes with the two-color block patterns. It's mostly a matter of waiting until the game feels like handing you the right blocks, though. Silly.|
There is no difficulty level setting for the main game mode, and no way to select your starting level--so you always have to start at the beginning, and just go for a long time until it gets challenging. Too bad, really--and they missed an opportunity to handle this in any kind of alternative mode, too.
Ohm, there's also a "Vs" CPU/player mode, which is like so many other block-dropping vs puzzlers, only as one player scores better, their side of the screen expands, shrinking the other player's side. This just makes defeat all the more inevitable, and doesn't allow for much in the way of exciting come-backs or similar back-and-forth action.
Now, getting to later stages in normal and Vs modes unlocks additional "skins" for play in "Skin" mode, where you just play and play until you run out of room. The game tracks a separate high score for each of the skins, but it isn't really clear why, since they all play exactly the same apart from the colors, backgrounds, and sounds/music.
The audio visuals are nice and all, although some skins are a little distracting, or even hard to see. A few of the tunes sound like some of the tracks from Rez, once in a while, which is nice; but for the most part they're different, and maybe not quite as cohesive or as inspired as the music in Rez.
What I'm leading up to here is that Lumines feels a little half-baked. Puzzle and Vs modes are not compelling at all, and the main mode has no difficulty options (even Tetris had difficulty selection, sheesh), and no gameplay variety in later stages. So really, every time you pick the game up, you are just going to truck through the same lengthy blocking sessions, perhaps with a different skin. Hm.
Oh, there are combos and things, and a special block with a gem in it that, when made into a square formation, takes out all contiguous like-colored blocks. This can lead to some fun chain reactions--but they are usually short-lived.