Lumines Plus

Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi

Remakes, revolutions and the future of media.

Tucked away in one of central Tokyo's sprawling, bustling regions, Q Entertainment's office building is small and incongruous - but impossible to miss, thanks to the striking logo on the side. "Q?" it asks. "Hopefully," responds the somewhat lost foreign journalist.

When I was little, before girls and hair, me and my family used to march to a house full of old people and sing songs at them on Christmas Eve. Interesting creatures, full of stories and sticky toffee sweets, and if you played your cards right you might land your very first kiss. Funny smelling places though, like someone kept forgetting to flush the toilet, but then they are old so maybe it is forgiveable. Soap: another withered person smell. The moral is that old things are not useless and ready to be thrown away; my Grandma used to give me stacks of 20 pence pieces when I saw her. Back of the net.

Lumines Plus

Lumines Plus

Scintillating. Sort of.

Lumines Plus is, basically, a straight port of the original PSP release of the game that spawned about a billion thousand-yard stares. It's pretty much exactly the same as Tetsuya Mizuguchi's original Tetris-alike; the game with which millions of PSP owners have worn out their eyes and thumbs on their way to racking up insanely high scores. Sure, there are some extra skins, but this is essentially the game that launched a Lumines bandwagon that's (so far) seen the production of a PSP sequel, an Xbox Live Arcade version, a mobile phone variant, and plenty of freeware homebrew imitators.

Which means that you rotate 4x4 blocks as they descend from the top of the screen, in order to create blocks of the same colour that then disappear in synch with a time line that sweeps the screen from left to right. It also means, on the upside, that the game doesn't include any of the annoying skins introduced by Lumines II (even if you're a fan of such acts as Gwen Stefani, Black-Eyed Peas, or Missy Elliot, it's difficult to argue that they're an entirely successful addition to the track list). But on the downside, it also means that the game doesn't include any of the excellent additional modes or introductory tutorials that were also introduced by Lumines II.

So there's no Skin Edit mode to customise your playthrough; no Mission mode to act as a gentle introduction for new players; no Sequencer to pootle around with; and, most crucially, there are no additional difficulty levels. So instead of the reduced playing area of Lumines II, Lumines Plus sticks to the same 10x16 Challenge mode grid as the original, and supplements it with just a Single Skin mode (pretty pointless), Puzzle mode (pretty easy), Time Attack mode (pretty short-lived) and Versus modes (pretty fun actually).

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