Seeing as more and more dvdforum members are buying a PSP just thought I'd copy'n'paste my thoughts of the game from www.ps2dvdfclan.co.uk
The best puzzle games are the simple ones. Easy to pick up and play, intensely difficult to put down. For each successful handheld launch there will always be one such game available and the genre always seem to work best here rather than their TV based console brethren. Lumines, designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi creator of Rez and Space Channel 5 is this format's Tetris, the height of achievement within it's field.
Taking advantage of the PSPs wide screen view, the player is presented with a 16x10 block playing area. Within this, 2x2 blocks, 4 squares of up to 2 colours, fall from the top to the bottom and it is down to the player to positions these in such away so that complete squares of 2x2 in the same colour are formed. A pulse line sweeps across the screen, left to right, deleting from the playing area, all the correctly created squares as it passes over them, thus freeing up the space for the ever falling new blocks. As your 4x4 squares aren't deleted as soon as you've made them, you then have the potential to create much larger combo's before the pulse passes by. A quick eye for recognised patterns and speedy hand co-ordination will help rack up the points. Occasionally you might land yourself a 'special block' that when formed as part of a complete 4x4 will additionally remove all adjacent blocks of that colour too. For a clearer explanation, see the videos at the official site
As with Mizuguchi-san's previous work, music, light & colour are focal to the experience. Though the game mechanic is ever constant, it's never less enchanting for it. Whether it's a hypnotic electronic beat or jazzy house vibe playing in the background, the aural experience is affected by your actions within the game. The pulse line too changes speed to the tempo of the music. Progress further through Challenge mode and you'll unlock new skins; new backgrounds and new tracks.
To ensure repeat play there are several game modes. Challenge, is the main game. You start at the first skin, accumulating as high a score as you can, whilst gradually playing through each skin. Single Skin mode, let's you play purely within any skin you have unlocked. Vs mode against the computer, splits the screen in half and whoever fairs better, usually attained by working quicker, edges the dividing line further into their opponents area. Victory is yours if you can do this enough. Eventually they won't have any space to manoeuvre within and their blocks will stack up above the screen. Vs 2 player mode plays in the same way but via the PSP's wireless link up. There are time attack modes, clear as many 2x2s as you can within a set amount of time and lastly a Puzzle mode, whereby to advance from the level you have to create a defined shape of one colour of that presented at the start of the level; devishly hard but addictive.
All in all, Lumines is a wonderful package. It may not be the system seller that Ridge Racers will be, but it's every bit as much an essential purchase. Tetsuya Mizuguchi has created another cult classic. Roll on the release of his new Nintendo DS offering, Meteos
. In the mean time I’ll be playing Lumines. A lot.
edit: Meant to say, that there's no language barrier with the japanese import as 95% of the text is in English.