It’s rare for a game with such a simple concept to be as captivating and memorable as Lumines: Electronic Symphony ($39.25, Amazon or $35.99 digital download). Due to the games infectious concept and pick-up-and-play gameplay, losing yourself in the block-clearing action isn’t at all uncommon. Simply put, Lumines: Electronic symphony belongs in every PlayStation Vita owner’s collection.
At its base, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is a puzzle game that involves dropping two-tone blocks. The objective is to match four or more same color blocks together, in order to form large single colored squares. The squares are cleared from the screen by a pulsating line that sweeps across the field every few seconds; if you don’t vanquish blocks fast enough, if they reach the top of the screen, you lose. It’s that simple.
What separates Lumines: Electronic Symphony from your run-of-the-mill puzzle game is the intriguing soundtrack that Q Entertainment has put together. There are 43 skins, which are also stages in Lumines: Electronic Symphony. They each have their own unique tracks and art, and moving blocks around adds little clasps or bumps to the music. In short, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is best enjoyed with headphones on. The music here is phenomenal and is chiefly an electro-dance fusion. Acts like The Chemical Brothers, Anything Box, and Aphex Twin contribute to the stellar soundtrack.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony, is a rare game that will have an everlasting life cycle…This belongs in every collection and it’s more than worth the purchase price.
Avatars make a welcomed return, but they’re not just cosmetic friends as in previous titles that would simply change expressions depending on your performance. Now said avatars have their own abilities that help boost your score. When the percentage next to the avatar reaches 100 you can then activate the ability by tapping the rear touchpad. The chain block ability is one of the more useful. It causes your next piece to become a chain block; this block causes all touching blocks of the same color to disappear. Another life saving addition is the shuffle block. At first it seems like a hindrance because it ruins the neat layout you might have, but when all hope is lost it actually makes squares where it would other wise be impossible.
Chasing and breaking high scores will keep you glued to your Vita. Honestly, this is where Lumines: Electronic Symphony shines. Each time you start the game, the high-scores of all your friends are displayed on screen, letting you see where you stand in relation to them. Laying down a high-score just to check back later and see it demolished repeatedly sucked me back into the game. There is also ad-hoc multiplayer that’s very similar to previous entries in the series. Both players begin with a line splitting the screen down the middle. As you erase blocks and increase your combos the line moves toward your opponent, giving them less space to work with. It’s both addicting and competitive as you try to out smart your opponent and build massive combos.
For those who prefer to ignore high-scores and just want quick bursts of puzzle action, you’ll find a number of game modes that let you sit back and do so. The time trial has you face off against the clock, testing your ability to clear as many blocks as you can in 30, 60, 180, and 300 seconds. There is also master mode, which gives specific tasks and changes the difficult. Master mode isn’t for the lame, it will break most, but covering each of the five zones is both rewarding and exhilarating.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony is a rare game that will have an everlasting life cycle. Its accessibility lends itself to an assortment of different gamers, and its pick up and play nature will ensure its enjoyability during commutes or before bed. This belongs in every collection and it’s more than worth the purchase price.