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Sony PSP Review: Lumines

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Just to make matters clear, Lumines is the audio-visual equivalent of crack. I just don’t know how else to put it. I more addicted to this game than I was to Tetris, and that’s saying quite a bit.

The premise is simple: form as many squares of the same color as you can without going past the top of a grid. You’re given squares divided into four smaller parts and two different colors. There is the obligatory “magic block” that you will come to love, for when it is included in a any combo, it gets rid of all blocks of the same color that touch it, which in turn do the same for the blocks around them, leading to a massive combo.

This is a solid game mechanic, but it isn’t what makes Lumines great. No, that would be the music, wonderful electronic anthems that react to how well you’re doing. Doing well? You’ll hear a triumphant upsurge in beats that lifts your very being. Not doing so hot? The music will dwindle away to nothing but the most rudimentary notes. As you progress, you’ll get to new songs and color schemes, making each level feel fresh (unlike the monotony of other puzzle games). You’d best pay attention to the tempo, since it determines how soon your combos will be cleared off the grid.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s always time to match a few more blocks. Doesn’t matter if you’re just waiting in line or you have an entire afternoon to devote to the activity.

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