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Lumines on the Playstation Portable (PSP) is a first generation puzzle game that was released a little over a year ago. This is a hard game to describe. Square blocks that are two by two come from the top to the bottom. The blocks can have any combination of colors, and can be rotated. The blocks can also be broken in half, if one half of the block has open space below it while the other side has connected with existing blocks. Got all that so far? I sure hope so. The way to remove blocks from the field of play is to get four of the same color in a two by two grid. It sounds really complex, but in application it is actually extremely simple. Then after playing for a little bit, strategies start to emerge. Those strategies can get deeper as the blocks are dropping faster.

Graphically Lumines is very bright and colorful. There is one area where the graphical background is sexually suggestive. There really was no reason to put that into such a game. This reviewer does have to question why the ESRB thinks sexually suggestion content is appropriate for a ten year old. The field of play feels strange since it is so wide, and not very tall (think of a movie in widescreen). This led to confusion more than one time for this reviewer during playtime.

The sounds in Lumines are nicely done. The music is very upbeat, and energetic. The song that goes along with the sexually suggestive visual background is entitled: "Shake Ya Body." This song has that exact lyric being sung over and over again. It is obviously by design that Q? Entertainment did that, and Ubisoft published it. There really is no point in adding this to a puzzle game, and it hurts this game quite a bit.

Puzzle games almost always give a lot of reasons to replay them, and Lumines is no exception. The unlocking of new skins is a welcome addition. The fact that like most other puzzle games it can be played, and replayed is most certainly welcome. We found this game being sold for under twenty US Dollars, and think it can be worth the money. The major concern has already been mentioned. The other concern is how addictive this game can be. Like a lot of other puzzle games the player wants to get farther than before. Lumines is not a game where it can be quickly played, and then put down again. In a way this is a console game that was put on a handheld, and it really feels like it would be better suited on the home video game consoles.

The controls are very quick and responsive in Lumines. The control scheme works well, and the level design just does not quite feel right (the widescreen issue). This is a fun game to play, once I learned how to play it. The weirdest thing was when the colors, and scheme changed. For some reason that threw me off every time.

*It really is a shame that they had to throw in some sexually suggestive content. Since it is in the background, some may even miss it. To me, it is almost like they tried to make it subliminal, which is even more troublesome. It would have been nice if the game developer had decided to show women in an honoring, and respectful way. I still hope and pray for that kind of portrayal in video games. If they can take out the bad content, a sequel to Lumines would be most welcome indeed (and they are developing a sequel).
- Paul


Graphics: 73%
Sound: 74%
Replay/Extras: 81%
Gameplay: 83%
Family Friendly Factor: 66%
System: Playstation Portable
Publisher: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating:
'E10+' for Everyone 10+
{Suggestive Themes}

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