Tetsuya Mizuguchi's addictive puzzle series is back with a brand new take on the original game. It's been over a dozen years since it first debuted so is Lumines Remastered worth playing in 2018?
Before I start this review, I have a confession: I'm a huge Lumines fan. I started playing the series with the PSP original and since then, I've enjoyed its direct sequel, the PS2 port Lumines Plus, Lumines Supernova for PS3, the Vita's Electronic Symphony, and my personal favourite: Lumines Live! for Xbox 360 that I have on Q Entertainment's awesome Qubed disc. So, when I heard that Lumines Remastered was releasing, I just had to play it and I'm thoroughly delighted that I did.
For the unfamiliar, Lumines has such a simple concept: rotate falling 2-by-2 squares that are composed of 2 different colours. Whenever you form a square of the same colour, it gets wiped away when the perpetually moving vertical needle passes through it. The strategy relies on timing your drops in order to maximize the amount of squares on each pass of the needle. There's nothing more satisfying than setting yourself up for success while watching mountains of tiles clear out and seeing your score increase accordingly.
What makes this simple and addictive puzzler even more engaging is the fact that it features stylish eye-popping visuals and an incredible eclectic soundtrack. The main challenge mode (in which you'll likely spend most of your time) contains a series of skins that you gradually progress through. Each one changes the graphics drastically with flashy animated backgrounds and unique square designs. Plus, each one has its own song that actually adapts to how you play as the sound effects as you drop blocks blend in with the music perfectly.
As with all Lumines games, Lumines Remastered features a ton of content to master. For starters, the already mentioned Challenge mode can take over an hour to beat but it'll likely require at least a few attempts to do so even if you consider yourself to be skilled at puzzle games. In fact, you may not even be able to complete it no matter how hard you try. As you advance further, you'll unlock skins that you can use in Skin Edit mode. Time Attack tests how many squares you can clear within 1, 3, or 5 minutes. Puzzle mode contains 100 tricky puzzles where you have to make shapes with the blocks and it gets extremely challenging while Mission mode has you complete certain objectives within 50 stages. Finally, there's a tug-of-war Battle mode that you can play to challenge either the CPU or a second local player. You can literally play Lumines Remastered for days and not even come close to seeing everything it has to offer.
Although all of this content is superb, Lumines Remastered doesn't feature any modes that long-time fans haven't already played. I was looking forward to at least one new mode and it's disappointing that there really isn't anything fresh and exciting here. Along the same lines, I'd imagine that playing the 2 player Battle mode online would be a great deal of fun yet you can only play against a local player. If Lumines Remastered contained this sort of content then it would have been a much more fulfilling experience.
Lumines is the most addictive puzzle game that I've ever played and this Remastered version is perfect for hardcore fans and newcomers alike. Here's hoping Enhance Games are working on a true sequel to this epic puzzler series.
- + Incredible core Lumines gameplay that's as addictive as it's always been
- + Fantastic visuals and adaptive music
- + Loads of content to enjoy and master
- - No new modes that long-time fans haven't already played before
- - Online multiplayer would have been cool