LUMINES / Ubisoft / Sony PSP
 
 
If you paid any attention to vidya game media back around when the PSP came out, you might remember a lot of publications absolutely fellating Lumines like it was one of the most brilliant things ever created. I finally got around to checking it out, and granted it's ten years later, but even by the standards of the time I cannot figure out what the hell they were on about. Between this and Ridge Racer I'm starting to suspect an awful lot of payola was being tossed around back in the early days of the PSP.

Anyway. It's a Tetris variant, but one where you exclusively focus on building squares and rectangles. Every block drop is also a square, and the only variation is what color scheme it will have. The playfield is longer horizontally than it is vertically, and a scanner makes regular passes over it. When the scanner passes over any of your eligible squares/rectangles, they get zapped out of existence and you get points.
 


A Tetris variant either needs to outdo Tetris entirely or at least do something exceptionally novel and interesting. Lumines does neither -- it just feels like a lamer, watered-down version of Tetris. There's nothing particularly compelling about the two-tone rectangle scheme, and the whole thing is set to the playlist of some wealthy E-popping party-boy who either lives off mom and dad or gets paid entirely too much to be an interior decorator. The opening song gets off to an outstanding start by blaring "HIT SEAN HIT SEAN HIT SEAN HIT SEAN" in your ear over and over again for some reason ... no clue who Sean is or what he did to the developers.

In addition to the main mode, there's a "puzzle" mode where the game tells you to build various shapes, then you build them and it LOLs at you and does nothing. Two-player mode actually looks kind of fun, players compete by squeezing each other's play area to a smaller field when they rack up combos, but I've got no way to test that one out.
 
 
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