Frenetic puzzle action! Dazzling background videos! A fresh installment to the original blockbuster puzzle series has landed on Xbox LIVE Arcade: Lumines Live! Harnessing the power of Xbox 360, Lumines Live! is a deep and entertaining game experience, enhanced with vibrant music and newly designed skins that you can custom-select in Skin Edit mode.
It’s a simple concept, arranging the blocks as they fall from the top of the screen in to groups of four matching colours to clear them. But Lumines has always been much more than a simple puzzle clone, thanks to Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s trademark of expertly combining colour and sound.
Each stage has different music ranging over a number of styles from catchy rock, pop, techno, to just plain abstract. Stages also have different skins with each varying in colour and style from the one before. This variety combined with the games simplicity is what makes Lumines so addictive.
A success on the PSP, Lumines Live! mixes together stages from the first and second games as well as adding new stages specific to the 360 version. The visuals and music also translate really well in to High Definition and Surround Sound and there’s also the great option for two players to go head to head locally or over Xbox Live.
Sadly it’s a game that has been spliced to pieces from the very start in some kind of horrible downloadable content experiment.
If you want to play anything more than the very basic game then you will need to shell out a lot of points. This includes things deemed to be “extras�? like the Advanced mode which has new music and stage skins, the VS CPU mode to challenge the computer and Puzzle Mode which requires skill and effort to create a specific shape. That’s before you take in to account the extra downloadable content and skins that have since been released.
All this makes Lumines Live! a very costly package compared to something like the PSP originals where the modes and a large number of skins were all included from the start. Hardcore Lumines fans might not have a problem with this, but it will certainly put off those who want to try it. It might even leave those unaware of the emphasis on “pay to play�? feeling ripped off.
In the age of downloadable games and content Lumines Live! should serve as a warning to those who gimp their games a little too much in an effort to get players to spend more. To that end it’s very difficult to score Lumines Live! as the mileage will vary depending on how much the player has spent on it. We’ve based the score on the full package as it has lots to offer but if you’re playing the very basic version you could probably knock one or even two points off.