For some, the original Lumines on the PSP was a system seller. The mix of block puzzles and music was something of a novelty for the time and soon it became an addiction. Now many years later we finally get a true sequel to the game, despite a handful of versions in between. Lumines: Electronic Symphony for the PlayStation Vita sets the bar high for future versions, mixing things up just enough to be considered a fresh new game.
The game contains 43 skins and songs to play through, each mixing up the visual style of the two toned block matching game. You have songs by groups like the Chemical Brothers, LFO, and Amon Tobin going along with visual styles like clean black and white blocks or a hand drawn crayon look and everything inbetween. Your goal is to make as many squares of the same colors as possible in a single “beat” meter swipe of the screen.
The Vita version adds some twists to traditional gameplay. First there is special block that falls that will randomize all blocks on the screen, which at first seems detrimental, but later on can truly save you from certain doom. The biggest addition is the use of avatars and their abilities. You can choose an avatar before playing which then gets “filled” with special abilities. You trigger these abilities by tapping the screen. For instance you can trigger a chain reaction block to be the next block to fall or use it as dueling ability and send a hurtful block your opponents way. There’s some 40 odd avatars to choose from, but you must unlock them by utilizing the games new experience system.
Everytime you play Lumines: Electronic Symphony you’ll earn experience which is used for your player level. Your level provides access to things like avatars and lets you know where you stand amongst your friends. Speaking of which, the game features some slick dynamic leaderboards which tells you just how well you are doing compared to your friends with a ticker like atmosphere.
Overall this is a solid version of Lumines and fans of the game will feel right at home. The few additions the game has make it feel like a small evolutionary step, but they mix it up just enough to not damage a formula that wasn’t broken. As a portable game this one requires headphones to get maximum enjoyment and entrance yourself for minutes...or hours.