|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Q Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Buena Vista Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
PS2-only gamers can finally rejoice for one of the PSP's best titles is available for PlayStation 2. Lumines Plus gives PS2 gamers the same quality puzzle action that PSP gamers get plus new skins, etc. from Lumines 2 and Lumines Live!
For those of you who haven't had a chance to play a copy on a friend's PSP, Lumines' gameplay is as simple as Tetris. 2x2 grid blocks with random white and orange spaces will drop from the sky. Make a 2x2 block of complete orange colors and you'll make the block disappear and gain points from doing so. You can make them by placing orange colors together horizontally or diagonally. A horizontal bar continually scans the screen from left to right, checking for combos. You can stick with simple 2x2 orange blocks or try to separate the orange colors until you can wipe out several orange blocks together, making for a higher score.
I realize that block stacking doesn't sound as interesting as Tetris' shape stacking, but Lumines' presentation is what truly makes the game unique and gives it better replayability. Whenever you turn a block via a simple button press, an electronic sound will play, and if you combine that with catchy modern music, WMV-like backgrounds, and game screen skins, you've got a game that will catch anyone's eye and keep them glued to the screen.
The selection of game modes is pretty decent for this puzzle game. The one you'll probably play the most at first is Challenge Mode, which involves clearing stages in order to unlock new skins. Once a skin is unlocked, you can use it in Single Skin mode. Single Skin mode is a mode where you keep deleting colored blocks as long as possible. Skins contain the music and colorful backgrounds, so those are unlocked whenever you unlock a skin.
For those of you who want a similar mode with more challenge, I recommend Time Attack mode. This mode will force you to learn the best strategies as fast as possible. There are different time limits including 60, 180, 300, and 600 seconds. The higher the score and the faster you win, the better your overall result is.
An even more challenging mode is Puzzle mode. In this mode, you will be forced to make shapes out of colored blocks. Lumines doesn't even allow the player to have adjacent squares of the same color, so this challenge is definitely for experts.
For those experts out there who want to thrash your friends, try Vs. mode, which takes one skin and divides it in half. Each player will compete to wipe out their colored blocks the fastest. Whoever wipes out each block faster will then deliver their block to their opponent's side of the screen, therefore making their opponent's side more crowded with every disappearing block.