Lumines Remastered (PlayStation 4) Review

By Az Elias 23.09.2018

Review for Lumines Remastered on PlayStation 4

Lumines was an excellent show-piece for the PSP, launching alongside Sony's first foray into the portable gaming market back in 2004. With its fresh take on the block-dropping puzzle game, incorporating catchy tunes and marvellous visuals, Tetsuya Mizuguchi's addictive little time waster chalked up many a fan along the way. While the Nintendo Switch is the prime reason for the series' return, that hasn't stopped a PS4 version of Lumines Remastered being developed in tandem with it.

Tetris ensured Nintendo's Game Boy incredible worldwide success, so there was sound logic in a familiar block-dropping game being released with the PSP in the form of Lumines. Okay, clearly the latter has not become the phenomenon that the former did, but the numerous twists on the daddy of puzzle games combined to create a respectable take on the 1989 hit.

If Tetris, Columns and other such puzzlers are a favourite, Lumines Remastered should already have your attention. The big differences with this fresh concept involve sound and visuals. As 2x2 tiled squares drop down one at a time into the field below, encompassing any one of four designs of up to two colours, the idea is to match up tiles to form 2x2 squares of the same colour. As a measure line passes over the field from left to right at a fixed rate in time with the music, any legitimately-formed squares created before the line passes over them will be erased once it does so, with the goal to rack up as many clears, combos and points as possible.

Screenshot for Lumines Remastered on PlayStation 4

Bigger squares and rectangles can even be created by matching further tiles of the same colours next to and on top of each other, which reward in extra points. Of course, this is much more difficult to achieve than it sounds. In fact, Lumines is a very tough game to master. The basics can be gotten down by just about anybody, but keeping a single game flowing for over 20 minutes or beating the AI in VS mode requires immense skill that only comes with a lot of practice.

Unfortunately, this might be the thing that turns away a lot of players after giving it a few goes. Without dedication, many people are going to hit that brick wall sooner or later, struggling to overcome the barriers necessary for a lengthy and high-scoring play session. On the reverse end, get to grips with the system, and Lumines can be almost impossible to put down. Minutes turn to hours without even realising it.

Screenshot for Lumines Remastered on PlayStation 4

The various music tracks - known as "skins" here, since they bring with them their own unique visual designs in the backgrounds, tiles and effects - are a huge draw to keep on coming back to Lumines, though. Not just catchy and addictive, with a cool rumble feature that vibrates the pad with each beat, each one affects the difficulty in its own way, usually in the form of block-drop speed. Tracks can last different lengths of time, so it is paramount to get accustomed to them and plan accordingly. Best judgement is required in whether or not to clear up a field or keep it reasonably compact and ready to net some combos depending on the skin that will be next on the playlist. Using a slower paced skin to position some careful combos might be the key, clearing them up before persevering through a faster skin afterwards.

If you struggle in the Basic Challenge mode, however, your choice of skins to play with in the Skin Edit mode, which provides freedom in what skins you play through, will be rather limited. Having to replay the same tracks in orderly fashion in the core Basic mode can be a drag, and with most of the skins unlockable by getting far in this mode, only the best players will be experiencing the full range of tunes. Lumines: Electronic Symphony on PS Vita integrated an EXP system, whereby new skins would unlock with the player's level progress. That may have been preferred in this remaster for anyone that has a hard time and just wants to try out new songs. The Endless and Shuffle modes are also locked, and the game doesn't provide any clues as to how to obtain them… but it is more or less a given that Basic progress needs to be high or completed entirely.

Screenshot for Lumines Remastered on PlayStation 4

The Puzzle and Mission modes can prove taxing, but these do also become pretty useful for the main game, since they require thinking outside the box and trying to make the most of each square that drops. A local two-player mode is put in for good measure, but when it comes to the VS CPU mode, this can be an extremely frustrating endeavour. Bizarrely, it seems to be much more difficult than the original PSP equivalent, even with a retry stage option available, which helps alleviate the rage slightly. Time Attack, where the aim is to clear as many squares as possible within a time limit, rounds out the full range of modes, and leaderboards offer incentive to compete for rankings amongst strangers and friends.

There is enough content to appease the average puzzle gamer in Lumines Remastered, but given that this is only a remaster of the original PSP title, it overlooks some of the modes brought in with later titles, as well as a huge range of tracks and skins. Granted, all of the tracks from the original game are brought back here, and there are some new features that weren't present in the title that started it all, but there is a niggling feeling that more could have been done with this to really create the ultimate Lumines title.

Screenshot for Lumines Remastered on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Lumines has always been a challenging game, and that hasn't changed in this remaster. Despite excluding some modes and tracks from later games in the series, rendering it not quite the supreme title it could have been, Lumines Remastered is a great package that will suit puzzle purists seeking an addictive title to reward skill and dedication.

Developer

Resonair

Publisher

Enhance

Genre

Puzzle

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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