previews\ Feb 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Lumines Electronic Symphony Preview


When compiling a list of the best puzzle games ever made, a few obvious ones come to mind.  Some will rattle off the top of their heads “Tetris”, while others may mention something more obscure -- like Atari’s Klax, for instance.  However, one title that definitely deserves mention in this bunch is Q Entertainment’s Lumines.  Making its debut years ago on the PlayStation Portable, it has since become a colossal hit, both on the mobile and downloadable front.  Now Ubisoft is preparing the franchise for an all new audience, as Electronic Symphony is set to make its debut on day one for the PlayStation Vita.

Lumines Electronic Symphony PS Vita

Here’s the lowdown on how Lumines works.  You’re given a series of multi-colored squares, usually divided up into two shades, light and dark.  You have to place them on a grid to form square or rectangular shaped pieces, trying to make them bigger as you lay down new pieces.  A passing bar eliminates the lit-up squares, giving you more room to drop additional squares.  The goal of the game is to essentially avoid running out of room on the playfield, but it gets tricky as you go through the game, thanks to increased speed of the blocks.  You know, typical puzzle stuff.

What isn’t so typical about Lumines, however, is its presentation.  Throughout the game, you’re not only treated to a fair share of vibrant backgrounds (which change up over the course of each match), but also terrific background music that’s hand-picked by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and his team members at Q Entertainment.  Some of these tunes are really upbeat, almost sounding like they came straight from the dance floor.  Electronic Symphony will have no shortage of these, with all new tunes – and a few older favorites – mixed in together.

The graphics will be slightly different.  Rather than going with the typical 2D sprites that previous versions had, Electronic Symphony will employ a nouveau 3D style appearance, while keeping the general puzzle structure intact.  This means brighter, more colorful (and interactive) backgrounds to entertain your eyes while you play.  We’ve only seen bits and pieces of it in action, but it definitely looks good on the wide PS Vita display.

Along with the upgraded appearance, Electronic Symphony will also utilize some new control options.  You can use the front touch screen to rotate and move pieces around, and put them in place.  If touch screen gaming isn’t your thing, though, traditional D-pad and analog controls will also be available, so you can slap together pieces like a pro.

Lumines is all about giving you the options to tweak the presentation as you choose, and Electronic Symphony is no exception.  This newest version employs a new XP system, one where you can buy skins and customized Avatars with points you earn over the course of each match, which you then use to play however you please.  It’s a genuine idea, and one that’s sure to work well for long-time players, as well as casual fans.  You can even take these avatars online, separate from the ones you have for single player.  Nothing like fooling someone into thinking you’re a casual player and then going, “Boom!  I’m Lumines hardcore!”  (Well, something along those lines, anyway.)

Lumines Electronic Symphony PS Vita

Though we’ve played Lumines for countless hours before, we can’t get enough of it, and something tells us that Electronic Symphony will deliver just as high a level of addiction.  Even if you’ve never tried it, there’s something wonderful here that you shouldn’t overlook when it hits store shelves for the PlayStation Vita launch.  We’ll be back with the final verdict soon…once we’re finished listening to the soundtrack, anyway. 

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