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LUMINES Puzzle & Music REVIEW – Almost a classic

by Eric Frederiksen | September 2, 2016September 2, 2016 7:00 pm PDT

Ever since I first laid eyes on Rez, I’ve loved just about everything creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi has touched. Lumines first hit back in 2004, but I didn’t get to play it until 2006 when it appeared on the Xbox 360. Even jumping in late, though, it was one of my favorite puzzle games. I even re-downloaded it when it hit Xbox One’s backwards compatibility.

Now it’s out on Android and iOS as LUMINES Puzzle & Music. I already knew from going back to the game on Xbox One that it holds up as a fun, engaging puzzle game with music that’s still catchy over a decade later. But how does it play on mobile devices?

Priced at $2.99, the game packs in two albums – a new set of tracks and tile sets to enjoy in addition to some classic Lumines tracks from earlier games in the series. There are spots to purchase other albums, though there aren’t any available yet. At that price point, two albums seems like a pretty solid value, and if they put out more track packs I won’t hesitate to pick them up.

While I like some tracks better than others, the music is, across the board, solid. It’s fun to listen to, and there aren’t any levels I dread. I actually dread some of the tile sets more than any of the tracks. Lumines looks as vibrant as ever, but some of the tile sets are tough on my eyes and make some questionable color choices.

Once you get into the game, it’s pretty classic Lumines, though there are a few twists carried over from some of the other games in the series. As you play, you’ll unlock the tracks in album order, unlocking new avatars along the way. The avatars each have a special power, though I’ll admit that I forgot to make use of it all but a couple times. The powers never felt like something that turned the tide of the game, though.

The moment to moment gameplay is pure Lumines, but as I played on the Hard difficulty I found myself wishing I could use a Bluetooth controller with the game. It’s specifically designed for touch, but it was never as crisp as I wanted, and faster moments made me feel like the touch controls were holding me back. The game usually obeyed my swipes and pokes. There were a few times, though, where I expected something to be happening and the game simply didn’t respond. Controller support and an option to play in horizontal mode would both add a lot of value to the game.

With that said, it doesn’t mean the game isn’t fun and replayable. Just the opposite, in fact. I stopped twice while writing this review to play a round, and I feel another coming on.

It chews through the battery life on my Galaxy S6 like it isn’t even there, so make sure you have a power outlet or portable battery nearby. I played a pre-release development build and it crashed a few times. I’m not sure if that’ll apply to the release version.

At just $2.99, it’s tough to go wrong with 14 tracks across two albums. The classic combination of puzzle and music still works, and LUMINES Puzzle & Music is still fun after so many years. Just be ready to give the game a bit of leeway.

Buy

Disclaimer: We received a copy of LUMINES Puzzle & Music for Android from the publisher. We played the game for 6+ hours before writing this review.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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