When Peter Moore announced Lumines Live! back at E3, nearly every one thought it was Microsoft’s first major strike against Sony. However, now that the game has actually been released, it kind of makes you want to go buy a PSP instead.
Like the original, Challenge mode is the core of the game. This time it’s been divided into two different types, Base and Advance. Base mode works the same as the original Challenge mode where you arrange falling blocks into squares in order to clear the screen, and if your blocks stack up to the top of the level, you lose.
Currently Advance mode is a mystery. It’s listed in the menu, but when you choose it, the game pops up a message that informs you that if you wish to continue, you’ll need to purchase the Advance Pack, which is currently not available on Live.
Next up we have Vs. and Vs. CPU, the multiplayer modes. This time the playfield is divided in half with each player getting a side. When someone scores it shrinks the opposing player’s field, making it harder for him to avoid stacking up to the top. Normally Vs. CPU consists of a 10 man tournament, but only the first opponent is free, if you want more you’ll have to buy the, as of yet unreleased, Vs. CPU pack.
There’s also Puzzle and Mission modes where you’ll need to complete certain objectives, such a making a dog shape or clearing the screen in two moves, in order to finish each level. In the original game, you had a reasonable selection, but Lumines Live! features only five levels of each… unless you want to buy the Puzzle/Mission pack of course.
Many of the skins from the original game have successfully made the transition from PSP to Xbox Live Arcade and look rich and crisp in 720p. Colours are bright and vibrant and the new background videos look pretty slick.
The new skins are a decent addition to franchise; however the first five or so skins are really, really bad and just suck the life right out of the game. If you can make it past them you’ll experience some nice new additions, including an upbeat Spanish tune.
Lumines Live! is marketed as a complete game, but honestly it’s nothing more then shareware. Just like the original Doom, you’re given a taste of the full game. But if you want to actually experience it, you’ll have to pay for it and unlike Doom, you have to pay $15 for this taste.
Challenge mode is fun once you get past the first few levels, and is strong enough to keep you entertained for hours. Unfortunately Lumines Live! doesn’t offer you much else aside from taunting.
Puzzle and Mission mode would’ve been great additions if we could actually play them, but instead we’re restricted to five trial levels out of the games listed 40. If you can live with Challenge mode then it’s great for you, but otherwise the game will just piss you off.
Lumines Live! is rated E to E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB