Lumines and Meteos producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi said he was leaving game development in 2012 when he took up the role of a professor, but now he's back and he's making a new Lumines game.
A new downloadable content pack for Meteos Wars is now available via Xbox Live.
Falling blocks may be ubiquitous in gaming, but Q Entertainment always manages to do something interesting with them. In Lumines, players rotate tumbling groups of four to organise overlapping square-edged shapes, which are then rubbed away for points by a sweeping vertical line. In Meteos, individual blocks tumble from the heavens and have to be sent back there by arranging them into horizontal or vertical lines of matching threes, which are then rocket-boosted upwards.
Rather than fire and forget, however, players also have to give linked blocks enough oomph to escape gravity's pull, which varies from stage to stage in much the same way Lumines' cycling environments alter the speed of blocks and lines. Helpfully, if they descend again before they clear the top of the screen, it's also possible to manoeuvre the cursor into the sky and rearrange blocks for another surge. Alternatively, a rocket-boosted chunk that slots into a line of three when it returns to the floor is also turbo-charged upwards for a second time.
Because you can only move blocks up and down, and different colours are introduced to the play area in proportions dictated by your choice of alien avatar, it helps that you can also increase the game speed temporarily, using the right trigger like an accelerator, so that you don't have to sit around waiting for blocks to fall before you start rearranging. Meteos is also a competitive block-matcher, like Puzzle Fighter, so there's an AI or human opponent doing the same thing opposite you, trying to build up his or her score faster. Accelerating the play affects both players, and any blocks that escape into space rain down on the opposition for good measure. Not enough? There's also a yellow meter that builds up during play, and filling it allows you to launch a special attack, which complicates matters further for your opponent.
Q Entertainment will finally release Meteos Wars on Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday, after the puzzler missed its original October launch window.
Q Entertainment has unveiled Meteos Wars for Xbox Live Arcade, due out this October for 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).