Lumines Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Release Date: Out Now
Price as of Article: $14,99 or £13,49
Game code provided by Enhance for review
Lumines is like a first love to me. When people ask me what one of my favourite games is on PSP I always come back to Lumines. It was a PSP launch title and I remember it fondly because it’s one of those games that took up a significant amount of my time. We formed a very strong relationship, Lumines and I. I would take her on holiday, spend time with her late into the night listening to the beautiful music and becoming mesmerised by her gorgeous visual flair but then one day we spent less and less time together and before you know it Lumines had disappeared from my life. Ten years later she turns up in my life again with a new HD look and the ability to send vibrations around your body in time with the music!
So is Lumines Remastered the return of the love of my life, or is it best to leave the past in the past?
Let’s find out!
Lumines Remastered at first glance looks like a very simple puzzler. Which you have to use the blocks falling from the top of the screen to form squares (4 blocks of the same colour), rectangles (6 blocks of the same colour) and different combinations of these by rotating and aligning the 2×2 blocks to match up the two different colours. Once squares and rectangles are formed by matching the appropriate colours of blocks they are removed from the screen when the timeline passes by them. As this happens points will be added to your score on the right-hand side of the screen. The more blocks cleared by forming these combinations by the time the timeline passes, the more you are able to get larger multiplier scores. You can create large combos by linking many squares and rectangles together as possible to be cleared. Your aim is to maximise as much as you can before the timeline sweeps past and it’s this mechanic which gets you addicted very quickly.
Clear the screen and you add a really nice bonus to your score. What makes Lumines Remastered so satisfying is its simplicity yet it is a deep game where turns can last a good few hours or more, if you are good at the game. For amassing really high scores will require you to think a good few moves ahead by looking at the blocks which are due to fall next by checking the left side of the screen and is not much different from Tetris in that regard.
Every 4 levels will reveal a new skin and with each new skin, you will have different variables within the level. So you could have a really fast timeline or a slower timeline. A faster timeline means you don’t have as much time to form large combinations making it harder to get larger scores. Whereas with a slower timeline it’s easier to form higher combos but the grid fills up quicker with blocks meaning you could possibly end your turn by failing miserably to clear blocks. A turn ends when the blocks reach past the top of the grid.
Each new skin gives you a different visual style and music to accompany it and this is also where the game really shines. Each turn of a block or placement changes the music slightly and it feels so satisfying keeping it going. I would take turns that could last a few hours or more at a time to get the highest score possible and of course for those of you that are competitive it has an online leaderboard, which is awesome. There are not that many differences between this remastered and the original other than the game being in HD, and it makes full use of HD rumble. Here you can link up to 8 Joycons and place them around your body for the ultimate musical experience. You can place them anywhere you want, your feet, waist, on the arms, if you can strap them down, you name it and you will feel the beat of the music and be at one with the game. There is nothing quite like it and I absolutely love it!
Lumines Remastered has a wealth of different skins which are the exact same as the original version. I was slightly disappointed that the opportunity wasn’t taken here to add some new ones. There are also 44 avatars here which were chosen from the Lumines series which are all cool enough to unlock.
There are some new gameplay modes for the remaster though which is nice to see. The Basic mode is available where you have to play one round and clear all of the skins, of which there are 24, once done it posts the score you achieved to the online leaderboard. Some may never be able to clear all 24 as it depends on your skill level. This was one of my favoured modes. You also have Shuffle where all unlocked skins will randomly appear, which again is pleasant as it keeps things fresh. These are the new modes but of course, this still has an Endless mode where you can play for as long as you like, or as long as you can. Good players will be able to go on for hours amassing massive scores in the process. On PSP there were people who could go for days!
There is a Skin Edit mode, which was actually added in Lumines 2, and allows you to choose 10 skins that you can either play one round or endless. I like having this option as it’s like being able to create a playlist of your own. There is also Time Attack modes where your goal is to clear as many blocks as possible in the allocated time of which there is 60, 180 and 300 seconds. This is for some really quick plays and is highly addictive as each mode is linked to the online leaderboards.
My least favoured modes are Puzzle mode and Mission mode. The puzzle mode, you would have to create a certain shape within a certain time and Mission is having to complete a number of missions which was fine but not something I wanted to come back too.
For those of you who like to play against a friend, you can do that where you both have one side of the screen and have to clear as many blocks as possible by forming the combinations of squares and rectangles. The player who can do this best ends up taking making their opponents screen smaller making it more difficult for them, which is obviously the aim until their screen fills with blocks which they cannot clear and it is game over. If you cannot find a friend to play with you can play this mode against the CPU also. My favoured modes were the Basic or Endless mode with my headphones on and trying to amass the highest score possible and post to the leaderboard.
There is no making use of the Nintendo Switch touchscreen which could be a bit of a missed opportunity and also you can’t seem to use the analogue stick here to move the blocks instead of having to use the D-pad if you can call in that on the Switch. I have become so used to the analogue stick that I found it a little bit of getting used too but once I did the controls are fine. It would have been good to have a few more options but it doesnt detract from my enjoyment of the game.
Visually I have always found Lumines to be beautiful for a puzzle game of this nature. Colours are bright and in HD form everything is much more punchy. I really enjoy all the different skins, some with words bouncing out at you, others with dancers and then there are those which are just mellow. There isn’t one skin I really dislike in Lumines Remastered to its credit. Performance is also fantastic here, in handheld and in docked the game runs as smooth as silk with no slowdown.
The audio in Lumines Remastered is absolutely excellent. I would not expect anything less from it being a Tetsuya Mizuguchi created game. Tetsuya is known for making games with a large emphasis on interactive sound design. He is also responsible for games such as Rez and Child of Eden, two other great games where music is one of the main draws. Here it is no different. My all-time favoured Lumines track is Shinin by Mondo Grosso. Take a listen here but there are lots of other trance tracks to keep you bouncing to the beat.
If the music wasn’t outstanding enough, the added super rumble option is quite brilliant too. Using the Joycons you can place them wherever you like, in your pockets, around your waist or, while sitting down, put a couple under your feet and beneath the thighs. The thing is you can really experiment and I am not sure any other game gives you this type of musical, visual, rumble experience that gets all of your sense involved. That is what makes Lumines Remastered even more special to play. I suggest a good pair of headphones to really zone out after a stressful day at work.
The game is $14,99 in the USA and £13,49 in the UK. For me, the game represents very good value due to having a good number of modes. If you like these type of games then there is no doubt there will be a mode here that you will enjoy. The only disappointment was that there are no extra skins but we still have online leaderboards which will keep many of you glued to this for hours on end. You will have to be a pretty good player to unlock all of the skins and that is quite a challenge in itself. I’m sure many of the hardcore Lumines players will see how long they can go into the Endless mode. For me, I have already spent many hours addicted to this great little music puzzler.
Stunning music which interacts with the gameplay
Super HD rumble and Online Leaderboards
Simple but deep gameplay which keeps you hooked
No new skins is a shame