PS Vita
4.5 stars
List Price
29.99
Amazon
21.2 (29%)
3rd Party
11.49
In Stock. Buy Now»
Overall Grade
4.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Game Itself
4.5 Stars
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
4 Stars
The Audio: Rating the Sound
5 Stars
Replay Factor
4 Stars

Lumines: Electronic Symphony

Street Date:
February 14th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
March 1st, 2012
Game Release Year:
2012
Platform:
PS Vita
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Developer:
Q Entertainment
ESRB Rating:
E (Everyone)

Introduction

Sometimes it's the simplest games that give us the greatest pleasures. Lumines appeared with the launch of the original PSP, and its Tetris-style gameplay coupled with an excellent soundtrack led to it being one of the biggest hits in the entire life of the system. Now that Sony has released the PS Vita, it's only fitting that a new Lumines should premiere along with it.

The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Like its predecessor, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is simplicity itself. The basic gameplay hasn't changed at all. The goal is to match up four or more groups of the same color, with only two colors to choose from. A block of four randomized colors appears at the top of the screen, and like in Tetris, you adjust the placement and location of the blocks to try and get the biggest collection you can. The catch is that the blocks don't disappear the moment you match them up. There's a timeline that sweeps from left to right across the screen at intervals (which changes from level to level), clearing color matches as it passes. If you're not careful, you might find yourself stuck with too many blocks before the timeline hits them, or even worse, the timeline will clear blocks as you're planning to add more on top.

Just like before, this is totally addicting. The timeline element adds a certain amount of strategy to the game that sets it apart from similar titles. Electronic Symphony adds a few little tweaks that add depth. There are two special type of blocks, chain blocks and shuffle blocks. The chain blocks eliminate every block of a single color touching it, while a shuffle block rearranges all the blocks in the group that the shuffle block touches. The chain block is more orderly, but there's something deliriously wonderful about packing together as many blocks as possible, then throwing in a shuffle and seeing what clears out. Also, your avatar can now be pressed at certain times to activate a special ability, such as getting a group of blocks of the same color, or slowing down the timeline, or producing a certain type of block, and so on.

Rather, that's what the avatars do in Voyage mode, the main gaming mode and the one you'll spend the most time on. However, there's also Duel Mode, which allows you to play against an opponent via ad-hoc connections. In this mode, the screen is split in two, and as the points rack up, the losing opponent has less and less space to make moves. In this mode, your avatar doesn't give you a boost, but instead frustrates your opponent. It's immensely satisfying to see your opponent set things up for a big score, only to scramble their blocks at the last minute.

Another cool new feature is the World Block. The World Block is a giant cube made up of two million blocks. Every person who plays online contributes to the demolishing of the World Block. Every block you clear removes one of the two million in the World Block. This resets every day, but if you're able to help clear the World Block completely, you'll get some good bonuses like new avatars.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Lumines: Electronic Symphony is glossed to a high sheen. Then again, blocks and squares aren't too graphically intensive. Still, things look suitably futuristic and fantastical. The Vita's brilliant display is perfect for showcasing the graphics, which practically pop off the screen.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

A big part of the first Lumines was the brilliant soundtrack, and Electronic Symphony lives up to the series' heritage and its own name. There are over thirty tracks, by such names as The Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, Underworld, and more. The music also sets the timing for the timeline passes, so it's not just for aesthetic purposes. The music is completely integral to the Lumines experience, and Electronic Symphony does not disappoint in the slightest.

Replay Factor

Like any good puzzle game, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is infinitely replayable. While the levels in Voyage mode remain constant, you can always try to top your best score. And between Duel mode, Master mode, and World Block, there are plenty of ways to play with Electronic Symphony over and over.

Final Thoughts

Lumines: Electronic Symphony lives up to the promise of its older sibling, being as much of a must-have launch title for the Vita as its predecessor was for the PSP. The $40 price tag might seem a bit steep for what a puzzle game, but given how much gaming you'll get out of it, it's still a worthwhile investment.

Tech Specs:

  • Cartridge
  • Download Size: 722 MB

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1Q HD

Audio Formats

  • Stereo

Multiplayer Mode(s)

  • Online Versus

Motion Controls

  • No

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List Price
29.99
Amazon
21.2 (29%)
3rd Party
11.49
In Stock. Buy Now»