Lumines

From the creator of Space Channel 5 and Rez comes this musical puzzle title. It is a cross of Tetris with flexible blocks which can detach from their original falling shape, overlapping one another. The aim is to create squares or rectangles from identical coloured blocks to make them disappear.

When you play the game, you notice there is a timeline that goes from left to right in time with the music. This timeline also acts as the combo initiator so if a square is created in the middle of the screen, it gets counted as a score when the line passes through it. The trick here is to create large squares and rectangles before the line passes through, enabling large combinations.

The interface is slick and fresh reminding me of aspects from WipeOut in terms of design. The star of the show though is the music and sound effects as much as the gameplay itself. Every move you make from left to right as well as the rotation of the blocks creates a sound effect which overlaps the music. This effect could easy frustrate the gamer but it is superbly implemented to enhance the experience instead of distracting you from it.

The usual modes are available such as single player, 2 player versus, and freeplay which allows you to try out the various levels won in the main game. Each level has their own distinct soundtrack and colour scheme which adds visual flair and style, letting you know that you have advanced further into the game.

It is a shame then that this game does not support “Game Sharing” where only one version of the game is required for two or more players. This game would have been ideal to showcase such a feature and could have ensured stronger sales. Altogether this is a refreshing puzzle title where you will always aim to get the highest score. The multiplayer modes thing heat up even more giving this title longevity and is a must for puzzle fans. If you want something beyond racing titles and sports on the PSP, you cannot go far wrong with Lumines.

Score: 8/10