Every successful handheld in gaming history has had a great puzzle game released for it, and the Sony PSP is no different. Combining elements from classic puzzle games like Tetris and Columns, Lumines is not only the best new puzzle game since Tetris, it may even be the best game on the PSP.
The concept of Lumines is simple: players must form boxes of the same color from the different colored boxes that fall onto the screen. Once a box is made, it disappears, if your screen fills up to the point where you can’t place any more boxes, you lose. What hypothetically sounds pretty simple can get just as difficult, and even more addictive.
What makes Lumines such a great game for the PSP is that unlike many of the other games on the PSP, Lumines loads in a flash. It takes roughly 30 seconds to get a game started, and with a built-in auto save feature, you’ll never have to worry about losing any data. Despite some other solid games on the PSP, Lumines has to be without a doubt the best game to bring with you on a bus or train ride simply because it’s not only a great game, it has the best loading time as well, making it easy to play for any short or prolonged period of time.
Graphically, Lumines looks a lot like Tetris Worlds on the PS2, minus the corny backgrounds. Considering the game’s mediocre graphics, they still do more than a solid job of giving the game a distinctive look and don’t take away any fun from the games killer gameplay.
The in-game music of Lumines makes up for any problems gamers have with the games graphics. Rich Techno beats accompany the gameplay and truly set the tone for the games speedy and quick thinking theme. While non techno fans may not agree with the music selection for the game, the game plays just as well with the sound turned off.
If solid graphics and a good music score wasn’t enough, Lumines also has above average replay value. Adding to the overall gameplay experience are six gameplay modes to choose from and even unlockable items. After completing levels, players can unlock skins that change the colors of the games background. While this may not sound all that gratifying, the skins in Lumines are as lushly colored as some music visualizers on Winamp or any computer media player, making the game feel different with every skin unlocked.
Bottom line, Lumines provides a great handheld puzzle experience that not even the touch screen of the Nintendo DS can stand up against. Great sound and gameplay make this the one puzzle game that every PSP owner should pick up and is easily one of the games on the system.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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