Perhaps Lumines works so well because it combines a creative vision and the technology of its host platform in a way few games of any type seem to manage. Where the graphics in other puzzle games seem simplistic, in Lumines they just seem stylised; the shaded blocks complemented by the abstract waves and patterns emerging from the background. The streaming music and lush colours would be unthinkable on any other handheld platform, and the gameplay is as well suited to a half-hour bus journey as it is to a longer session on the sofa back home. Believe me – I’ve played it for two hours on the trot and hardly noticed the time going by.
I know what some of you are saying: “I bought a PSP to play Ridge Racer and WipEout, not to waste time on a stupid, puffed-up puzzle game.” All I can say is that you’re missing out. It’s hard to argue with that awesome racing twosome, and if you just want to impress your mates then they are the ones to do it. But if I had to pick a third PSP launch title, then this is the one that I’d go for. It might not have the same visual impact or sense of technical virtuosity, but it’s the one I can’t stop playing. No matter how high that high-score goes, it never seems quite high enough.
Verdict A hypnotic audio-visual experience AND a fiendishly addictive puzzle game. Don’t leave Lumines to the chin-stroking brigade – it’s far too much fun for that.