3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Lumines Electronic Symphony (PS Vita) (Video Game)
Lumines: Electronic Symphony is the third game in the Lumines series, but the first one to appear on the Playstation Vita. The previous iterations appeared on the Sony PSP and were very popular, although the second game was less revolutionary than the first, and the same could be said for this game, since it doesn't add anything new to the franchise.
The aim of the game is similar to most 'blocks fall from the sky' games, in that you have to organise the falling shapes into squares of four or larger. There are only two different colours of shape, so it doesn't get too tricky until the speed increases during later levels. Once you have arranged four shapes into a square, the shape becomes illuminated and ready to disappear. It is at this point that you have to take into account the second aspect of the game, for along with the falling blocks from the sky, you also have a wavy line travelling from left to right. This line removes any illuminated blocks from the landscape as it passes them, but if you are intending to get large bonuses from bigger blocks, it becomes a matter of skill to build the bigger lumines before the wave comes and wipes them out. While this explanation might seem complicated, the game is actually pretty intuitive and only takes a few plays to become experienced with the core gameplay rules.
One of the key features of the game is the soundtrack, which is comprised of dance and disco tunes, some of which sounded familiar, although they were dance remixes of songs I'd heard before. While I'd happily admit to not liking dance music, I found the soundtrack was so well suited to the gameplay that I would be humming the tunes whilst playing, and even downloaded a few of the better ones from iTunes, which maybe proves that subliminal advertising works.
The PS Vita boasts touch screen capabilities designed to make the game experience feel more interactive, by dragging your finger across the screen, but I kept away from this function as I found it easier to use the directional buttons to control the falling blocks and didn't relish the idea of smearing my fingerprints across my touch-screen, especially during the more hectic levels where blocks fall down faster than raindrops during an English 'summer'.
This is a great commute game, as it holds my attention for half hour on the train to work, but whenever I play it at home, I find myself frustrated with the lack of rewards for finishing the game. You do unlock some of the levels/songs to play again in your own playlists, but I would have liked to have unlocked new songs, rather than the ability to replay ones I'd just finished. As with most games nowadays, it could be that there is the option to extend the lifespan by purchasing extra songs and levels from the Playstation Network, which takes away from the feeling of achievement that you get from completing and earning new levels.
I recommend this to fans of Tetris, Columns and Bejeweled games, although the price tag (£34.99 in HMV) may be a little steep for some, considering how cheap these puzzle games can be on mobile phones and iPods nowadays. Unfortunately, Sony will need to either cut the price of their future puzzle games, or make them more worthy of a full retail price, if they wish to compete with the likes of iTunes or the Android Market.
Oh, and apparently it's pronounced "Loo-Men-Ess" instead of "Loo-Mines" as I kept asking for it in the shops. Thankfully, the female voiceover at the beginning continues to remind me of this fact each time I boot up the game