Review: Lumines Electronic Symphony (Vita)

Review: Lumines Electronic Symphony (Vita)

I see people putting up high scores from single runs that reach half a million points or more, and I think to myself, “Man, I need to get some of whatever performance enhancing drug he or she is on, because that’s making my 30,000 look pretty damn pathetic.” Yeah, my highest single run score was in the low 30k’s, and that was last night. I’ve never been very good at Tetris, I’ve never been very good at Dr. Mario, I’ve never been very good at Super Puzzle Fighter, and it should come as no surprise that I’m not very good at Lumines Electronic Symphony.

I don’t give a shit, though, because all of those games are FUN.

I love Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s work and I love Q Entertainment. Rez, Lumines, and Child of Eden are some of the most aurally entertaining and engaging games I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and Lumines Electronic Symphony is, for the most part, another step in the right direction. I say “for the most part” because Lumines Electronic Symphony is not without its flaws. First, it’s Lumines again, which is great, but at a $39.99 price tag, which is a bit hefty for the title unless you’re a die-hard. Second, the ad hoc only duel mode (the first part of this problem being that online play is ad hoc only instead of ad hoc and true online) does not offer you the ability to battle against an AI opponent when you’re unable to play ad hoc (this being the second part of the problem).

Fortunately, that’s really all the negative there is about Lumines Electronic Symphony. It’s Lumines, but it’s Lumines on the portable Vita’s beautiful OLED screen. You can take it with you, and it will remain absolutely beautiful, with a soundtrack that will get you oonce-oonce-oonceing all over the place. As with previous entries in the Lumines line, primarily due to it being the same concept in a new package, Electronic Symphony is incredibly addictive, and fantastic for quick pick-up play.

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Finally, unlike previous entries in Lumines, Electronic Symphony gives you a feeling of accomplishment and progress by including a new XP system. Every time you play, you earn XP that grows and unlocks up to ten bonus block types that will help you manage your blocks in gameplay. No longer are you forced to start with a fairly clean slate each time you play; there is continuity and value to the time you put into the game. Additionally, Lumines offers multiple game modes to mix up the potentially repetitive gameplay. Voyage is the standard mode of play. Master Mode is faster and furious…er by far. Duel, which is an ad hoc mode only, pits you against a live opponent. Stopwatch lets you play with 30, 60, 180, or 300 second timers. Last, there’s the World Block, which is less a game mode and more of an interactive community effort. Every 24 hours, the World Block regenerates, and the entire Lumines Electronic Symphony community has the new 24 hours in which to collectively destroy enough blocks in their own gameplay to contribute to the overall destruction of the giant World Block.

Here’s the bottom line: Lumines Electronic Symphony is an improved version of Lumines, and it looks better than ever on the Vita’s impressive screen. If you don’t like block dropping games or awesome music, then you won’t like Lumines. If you love Lumines, then you don’t really care about anything in this review other than the confirmation that Lumines Electronic Symphony doesn’t make any changes to the basic concept of the series, and you’ve probably already thrown your $40 at the game. Is it worth $40? If you’re a die-hard fan, of course it is. If you’re uninitiated, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. In the latter case, if you find yourself interested in the title but unsure about the price, buy it as part of a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal that many retailers are currently having, and you’ll find yourself content with the average price paid. Just be warned…if you have an addictive personality, this one will sink its hooks into you and never let go.

Review

ProsCons
It's Lumines
New XP system gives you a feeling of accomplishment
JUST HOOK IT TO MY VEINS
It's Lumines for $40
No single player AI duels
Ad hoc online only
Rating
90 out of 100

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