Review: Lumines Remastered revives puzzle fusion
While the Lumines series has seen life over the past decade or so, there’s a particular charm to the initial PSP release, and a return addresses that nostalgic urge more than newer entries like Electronic Symphony and the mobile releases. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the game revisited, but it’s the latest, it brings with it a polish and some new features that make it worth a return.
Lumines Remastered brings the game to modern platforms — PS4, Switch, PC and Xbox One — and that’s a large part of its appeal. The Switch version’s the way to go if you want to retain the portability of the original, while the other releases have a higher quality ceiling if your hardware can handle it. Given the comfort of a portable puzzle game, we’d probably recommend Switch, but all seem like solid options.
Lumines Remastered seeks to preserve the charm of the original game while incorporating the refinements to gameplay and features found in later ones.
Lumines Remastered seeks to preserve the charm of the original game while incorporating the refinements to gameplay and features found in later ones. The aesthetic “skins,” pairing songs with specific visuals, are straight out of that first game, with nothing there to distract from them (or, if you’ve played that game to death, really add any variety).
For a game about its visuals, the extra fidelity does a lot to, well, enhance the experience. It doesn’t exactly change what you’re doing as you play, but it adds just a bit to how cool you feel while playing, even on the big screen that Lumines hasn’t totally managed to conquer in the past.
The Skin Edit mode, which instead of doing what you think it’d do (edit skins) is a way to make a custom playlist of ten skins to play through, is here after debuting in Lumines II, and it’s joined by Mission mode from later games and expanded Puzzle offerings. Mission is essentially a puzzle mode of its own, tasking players with clearing blocks or accomplishing other gameplay tasks. Puzzle, on the other hand, has you creating specific formations of blocks to form pictures. Each of these modes, as well as the base ones, is tied to various achievements and avatar unlocks, which are particularly brutal this time around and designed to provide extra challenge to the sort of player who never stopped practicing. They’re out of the way enough to leave room for casual enjoyment, though.
If you’re looking for something truly new from Lumines Remastered, your best bet is to explore the robust suite of vibration options. Enhance has a lot of experience with its “trance vibration” in Rez, and developer Resonair brought those ideas to the rhythm puzzles. Essentially whatever controller can sync with your system can be fashioned into your own makeshift rumble suit, letting you immerse yourself just a bit more. It’s weird! It’ll probably run down all your batteries! The way they talk about putting controllers “where they feel good” is… certainly a choice! But we have to credit the team for doing something different.
It’s the old Lumines on new platforms, and it looks great and didn’t mess up any of the controls in the process. That’s probably what a lot of people want.
Hoping for online functionality in this update? Well, it gets… some. There’s no network multiplayer, with the two-player versus mode only playable locally or against the AI. There are, however, leaderboards, and since Lumines‘ solo play has found a lot more success than its combative multiplayer variant, chasing scores of friends may be a more engaging pursuit.
This isn’t a new Lumines, but of course it never claimed to be. It’s the old Lumines on new platforms, and it looks great and didn’t mess up any of the controls in the process. That’s probably what a lot of people want.
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