Lumines (2004) by Q Entertainment

Handheld gaming has always been my favorite way to play video games.  When Sony announced the PlayStation Portable you could see the excitement for a new kind of handheld console.  The only question was which should I get?  Arguably the PSP had one of the weakest launch lineups of the time period.  In North America the PSP launched in March of 2004, which I though was a strange time to launch a console.  However, if you remember the Nintendo Switch also launched in March to critical acclaim.  Anyways, I had read the news and opinions on Sony’s newest competitor to the Game Boy and wanted one, but wasn’t sold on the game’s lineup.  Everything I read argued that Lumines was the best launch game to get, but did I want a short and simple puzzle game?  Would it be worth it?

I had finally reserved myself to wait on the PSP for another day.  Maybe someday there would be a killer game that made me buy the newest handheld console, but for the time being I had the fantastic Nintendo DS and Pokémon games galore.  I also thought that with a new console release the supply would be low and I did not want to fight the crowds hunting for a console among.  Low and behold, one day as I was walking past my local GameStop I saw the PSP.  They had many boxes among their display case with a big sign that read “In Stock.”  I thought that this could be my chance. But if I was going to pick up this new console, which game would I get alongside it?

Lumines was the answer.

Puzzle games were never my favorite genre.   But I do love puzzles inside my games.  Lumines was a new take on the puzzle game.  It is centered around a type of combo system that encouraged fast play and large strings.  The core design philosophy really resonated with me, easy to learn, difficult to master.  Lumines simply tasks the player with creating 2×2 squares of the same color.  You can play slowly and methodically, but you will score less points.  If you are a good player you will play quickly and score a high multiplayer as the board clears and more blocks fall.

One of my favorite memories of this game involved one of my good friends.  Of course I had been playing this game for most school bus trips and during a lot of my free time.  My friend noticed the game and asked to try it.  I was a bit hesitant to pass along my prized PSP, but I acquiesced.  Not more than a minute or two later the console was passed back to me with a new high score.  Needless to say I am not a very good Lumines player.

For me the reason to keep coming back involved the game’s excellent soundtrack.  I even bought and downloaded Genki Rockets album so that I could listen to Heavenly Star on demand.  I am listening to it right now.  How sweet the sound!

Lumines is hard to explain, the music, the colors, the gameplay.  It is a truly special experience.  And it is coming back soon!  Lumines: Remastered is coming to Nintendo Switch and other current generation consoles at the end of June.

Tomorrow we discuss Halo 2.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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