Good Fun, despite the cost
Successful game creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi has brought an exciting yet controversial edition to the Xbox Live marketplace in the shape of Lumines Live! Highly anticipated by many who have already indulged in and enjoyed Lumines on the PSP this puzzle game couldn't have come soon enough.
Similar to Tetris in its gameplay style, Lumines is different in so many ways. With its number of different skins and different music videos it's a refreshing change from coloured blocks dropping to the same droning music again and again.
Depending which level you're on depends on how easy it can be, and it's certainly not like many other generic puzzle games where skin seven is automatically harder then skin six; with Lumines you will often find that some of the later skins are easier due to the constantly changing pace.
The aim is to drop blocks of four squares and clear them, you do this by making blocks of four or more squares in the same colour.
However the great thing about a Lumines block is that it's only made up of two colours and has only a few different pattern combinations, they are all square shaped so fit anywhere and because of this you don't end up leaving gaps throughout the levels as we have became so accustomed to in previous puzzle games.
There is, as with many games in the same genre a special square that will clear all blocks touching it in a chain of the same colour. Once you have made your block you need to wait for a bar that travels across the screen to clear them.
This bar is fast in some levels and slow in others, the blocks drop quickly in some and again slowly in others, you never really know what pace the level is going to be until you are already playing it.
The skin changing is fairly seamless, you keep whatever blocks you already have and continue playing. You play a number of levels per skin and you probably won't even notice what level you are actually on until the skin changes.
The controls are easy to use and come naturally, you don't need to spend time thinking about what you are doing and can concentrate on the game in hand. You use a combination of the directional pad or analogue stick to position your blocks and the face buttons to rotate them, it is all fairly generic stuff for the genre.
Of course the main advantage to playing it on Xbox 360 over the PSP is achievement awards, the first few are fairly easy to get but you will need to invest a fair bit of time in to the game to collect others.
Lumines has come under a cloud of controversy due to its pricing structure, 1200 marketplace points for the game itself but then there are add-on packs which will cost further points. Unfortunately the game isn't complete without the add-on packs and some players may feel cheated by this. Currently there is only the advanced pack available at 600 points and the release dates are yet to be announced for further packs.
Lumines is a fun and challenging game which will have players enthralled for a long time to come, the only real problem with it is the uncertainty of when it will be able to be played in its entirety. The fact that it's not a one off payment like most other games has definitely not endeared it to many.