Game Reviews Handheld Lumines II (PSP)
Lumines II (PSP)

Lumines II (PSP) Hot

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Accessibility At A Glance Lumines II (PSP)


Precision > Maybe Read the detailed review please
One-Handed > No Take a look at the detailed review before you buy
Deaf Gamers > Yes You should have no issues with this game
Subtitles > Yes This Game is Perfect in this department
Colorblind > Yes Colorblind gamers should be okay

About the Game

Q Entertainment
Release Date
November 02, 2006
Licence Category


The follow-up to Q Entertainment's innovative puzzle/music game. Gamers control squares made of four smaller block pieces that are dropped into the playing field one at a time to form same-color squares. The vertical "timeline" sweeps across the playing field from left to right and wipes the same-color squares from the playing field. Unmatched blocks pile up, and the game ends when the pile gets to the top of the playing screen. Advance through many action-packed levels, each with its own musical theme and sound effects.

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Lumines II (PSP)
Lumines II (PSP)
Lumines II (PSP)

Editor review

Lumines II (PSP) 2012-11-01 19:55:03 Elizabeth Martin
Overall rating 
Elizabeth Martin Reviewed by Elizabeth Martin    November 01, 2012
Last updated: November 01, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Lumines II

"Tetris on ecstasy" would be the lazy journalistic way of describing Lumines. Admittedly, it might give a pretty good impression of what the experience is like, but scratch the surface and Lumines has so much more to offer than a simplistic moniker could ever suggest. The game may be a variation on a classic theme but it introduces enough unique gameplay mechanics, and presents them in such a colourful and immersive manner, that it deserves its place as one of the must-have titles on Sony's first portable console.

Gameplay involves placing different blocks that fall from the top of the screen in such a way for them to form groups, which are then removed to allow the remaining blocks above to fall into their places. The more blocks that are removed in one go, the higher your score and if the increasing pile of unused blocks reaches the top, it's game over. That, however, is where the similarities to Tetris end. Here the blocks are not different shapes, but instead they are all 2x2 blocks of four squares in a combination of two colours. The idea is to line up these blocks in such a way that they form areas of a single colour. Areas of four squares or more in one single colour will be removed, scoring you points in the process.

Where it differs from other block-falling games completely is in how these blocks get removed from your screen. Instead of them being removed as soon as you make a group large enough, they are instead removed periodically. This allows you time to increase your score multiplier as much as possible before the score is counted. During play there is a vertical time-line passing from left to right and, when it hits a large enough area of colour, the blocks will be removed as the line passes through them. For maximum scores you need to set things up along the whole of your screen so that you can place blocks just in front of the line as it passes, increasing your score multiplier further and further in the process. Lumines therefore requires a healthy dose of strategy for advanced play, as well as fast reactions, since getting the highest scores will require a certain amount of forward thinking.

Where the "on ecstasy" part comes in is the immersive and addictive way in which the game is presented. The movement of the line across the screen is set to the pulsing beat of dance music and the speed of the line varies depending on the tempo of the current track. Each different song has an associated "skin" with its own background and style of block. The variety of different skins is impressive and it’s always a joy to reach one you have not seen before. Any success during play results in a further explosion of colour across the screen and these rewards encourage you to keep returning to beat that high score just one more time.

A wide variety of different play types also gives the player good reason to return. As well as the standard Challenge mode, where the player earns new skins by continuing to play for as long as possible, there are also Time Attack, Puzzle and Mission modes as well as multiplayer. Each of these modes challenges you in new ways and makes the player think about the game slightly differently. The Puzzle mode asks you to create specific shapes with your blocks instead of trying to make large areas of colour; Time Attack mode challenges you to remove the most blocks in a short space of time; and Mission mode sets the player a series of tests to complete, such as clearing a screen of blocks in only two moves. This variety helps to stop the game from becoming repetitive and playing in each mode increases your overall skill as you delve deeper into the game’s mechanics.

All in all, Lumines II is as addictive a puzzler as you are likely to find on PSP. It has enough unique gameplay mechanics to make it interesting and its use of music and colour create a euphoric cocoon in which to immerse the player, always pulling you back to have just one more go.

Accessibility Issues

1. Visibility
Lumines is presented in a series of "skins", each with a different background and different style of block. Most have blocks which are white and another colour making it easy to tell the two colours apart but a few are more difficult. For example, one has orange and yellow blocks and another has dark and light blue blocks, which may make life difficult for people with visual impairments. During my time with the game I have not come across a skin where the blocks are green and red, so I do not believe this would be a problem for colour blind people, but it is possible there is such a skin in there I have not yet come across.

The backgrounds of the skins can also cause issues. Some backgrounds are quite dark and some can be very fussy, making it more difficult to see your blocks, while others can be extremely distracting. A few have the video of their song as the background and it is quite annoying to have a bunch of rappers moving about in the background when you are trying to play a game.

One way in which the game helps in this respect is that it includes a mode that allows you to choose a number of skins in a certain order, allowing you to choose the skins that you find easier to play with. The only problem with this is that you need to have earned them first by playing through them in challenge mode.

2. Hearing
There are no audio cues in Lumines II which are necessary for play. The music and sounds all increase the immersion and euphoria but there are clear visual cues to indicate your success so there is no reason why deaf people should not play and enjoy this game.

3. Subtitles
The menus are all clearly presented with white text on black boxes. Your score and other information are also given in white on a black background during play.

4. Precision
Precision and timing are necessary to move and turn blocks the correct number of times to put them where you want. This involves pressing the right buttons the right number of times as quickly as possible and so can involve some button mashing when things get increasingly frantic.

5. Controls
Blocks can be moved from side to side and down using either the directional keys or the analogue stick. Turning the block clockwise and anti-clockwise can be done with several options available in the start menu, each using different combinations of the face buttons or using the two shoulder keys. None of the options make it possible to play with one hand, but they do give a few choices of what might be more comfortable for you.

6. Difficulty
There is a tutorial available in the menu to teach you the basic principles of the game and there is an extensive set of tips to help you with using different kinds of blocks and techniques to maximise your score. There are three different difficulties to choose from at the start menu, so you can set your own pace and move on when you feel ready.

Lumines II has a simple control system, but it is a shame that one-handed people are excluded from playing; fully customisable controls are lacking and would have made the game much more accessible. People with low dexterity will also struggle, given the need to press buttons quickly and a precise number of times. Otherwise, deaf and visually impaired people should be able to play and the generous amounts of help with learning the nuances of the game should help people to get the most out of the experience.

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About the Author
Elizabeth Martin
When I'm not busy at work (helping scientists do whatever it is they do), or at college studying sign language, I'm at home playing video games, reading about video games or writing about video games.

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