|Release date:||30 November 2006|
|Developer:||Q Entertainment, Bandai|
|Publisher:||Buena Vista Games|
The addictive and stylish puzzler returns to PSP.
- Beck – "Black Tambourine"
- Black Eyed Peas – "Pump It"
- Chemical Brothers – "Star Guitar"
- Fatboy Slim – "Gangster Trippin'"
- The Go! Team – "Bottle Rocket"
- Gwen Stefani – "Hollaback Girl"
- Hoobastank – "Born to Lead"
- Junior Senior – "Take My Time"
- Missy Elliott – "Lose Control"
Hands on with Lumines II
The musical puzzle game returns with a sequel that looks set to improve on the original in every way
The original Lumines was one of the "must-have" launch titles for PSP. The deceptively simple puzzle game combined cool music with addictive gameplay in a way that captivated everyone who played it and garnered incredible critical responses. Not wanting to stray too far from this winning formula, Lumines II has retained everything that made the original so much addictive fun to play, while finding room for some cool new improvements.
Gameplay is the same as before, in that Lumines II is a falling-block puzzle game. If you've never played Lumines before, let us explain. The falling blocks are divided into four smaller blocks, two orange and two grey, in different combinations. Your task is to line up four smaller blocks of the same colour which will disappear when crossed by the musical staff bar that sweeps across the top of the screen from left to right, in time with the music. In addition to this, a particular symbol sometimes appears in the corner of the blocks, and if you can use this square to start a combo, every brick of the same colour connected to that block will disappear as well, racking up huge points. Starting off slow, you'll soon find yourself creating giant strings of combos in what is without a doubt one of the most addictive and engrossing puzzle games around.
The most notable difference in Lumines II is the fact that the background skins of the original game have now been replaced with full motion music videos of some of the artists appearing in the game. And it's an impressive line-up, featuring bands and singers as diverse as The Go! Team, Beck, Missy Elliot, Gwen Stefani and the Black Eyed Peas. Once you've unlocked these skins by completing levels, you can create your own custom playlists, making sure that you can always play with your favourite songs and videos in the background.
Players are now greeted with the choice of three different difficulty levels, one more than the original. B, A and S levels represent easy, normal and expert modes respectively, meaning those who've not played the original can ease their way in with a gentler introduction, while diehard fans of the original can get started straight away on the brain-taxing puzzles.
There are now four main play modes. The classic Vs. computer mode of the original remains much the same as it was in the original. Puzzle Mode however, has been beefed up to include 100 different stages of increasing difficulty. Mission Mode sets you particular challenges that you have to clear to progress. Challenges like clearing all the blocks in only five moves may sound simple, but right from the off you'll need to be thinking two moves ahead, with every single grey cell working in perfect harmony to keep on top of things.
Lumines II does exactly what a sequel to a great game should do, it improves on the original, without taking away from what made it so fun and enjoyable in the first place. The new additions serve only to enhance what is already a fantastic game, and the new songs and videos help cement its reputation as the coolest puzzle game around.