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Kotaku

Lumines Electronic Symphony: The Kotaku ReviewEvery time I fire up a Lumines game and am not instantly greeted by the mellow beats of Mondo Grosso's "Shinin" from the franchise's 2004 PSP debut, I can't help but feel a little disappointed.





That song will forever be linked with the magical feeling of the first game, when Q Entertainment's simple and sublime marriage of block-matching puzzle game and electronic magic rose above a crop of more traditional game offerings to become one of the must-have PlayStation Portable launch titles.



So now I start up Lumines Electronic Symphony, a fresh Lumines game for the brand-new PS Vita. Deep Dish's "The Future of the Future (Stay Gold)" is no "Shinin", but then nothing ever can be. The best we can hope for is that the magic the song carried along with it remains intact.



Good news.



Loved


It's Lumines: The music may change but the blocky song-and-dance remains the same, for the most part. It's still all about matching colored blocks so they form blocks in time to have the rhythm bar pass over them, clearing them from the screen. The more blocks, the better your score. It's one of those puzzle games that never gets hard; it just gets fast. Or it seems fast, when really it is sapping hours from your life at a time without you noticing.



Lumines Electronic Symphony: The Kotaku Review
WHY: Pick it up, put it down, hours have passed.




LUMINES ELECTRONIC SYMPHONY


Developer: Q Entertainment

Platforms: PS Vita

Released: February 14 (U.S.), February 22 (Europe), April 19 (Japan)



Type of game: Puzzle and music



Played for several hours in the basic Voyage mode, Stopwatch Mode, and Master mode. Was not able to test out duel mode, stupid Ad Hoc multiplayer. Reached level 13, not stopping there.




My Two Favorite Things




  • Lumines' signature style and gameplay

  • Oddly enough, the friend list






My Two Least-Favorite Things




  • Unnecessary and poorly-implemented touch controls

  • Every day we're shufflin'






Made-to-Order Back-of-Box Quotes




  • "Another masterful marriage of music and matching" -Mike Fahey, Kotaku.com

  • "Needs more Shinin'" -Mike Fahey, Kotaku.com

  • "The shuffle block must die" -Mike Fahey, Kotaku.com




Block-Dropping Beats: One thing I count on with every new version of Lumines I play; my MP3 player will feature several new additions by the time the game is over. Electronic Symphony contains 34 tracks' worth of machine-made music (mostly), covering the history of the electronic scene. Howard Jones, The Chemical Brothers, Benni Benassi; it's like the ultimate electronica mix coupled with a little gaming accompaniment.



Level Up!: As if unlocking new musical skins weren't enough, Electronic Symphony ups the ante with a score-based leveling system, complete with an unlock system that delivers new performance-enhancing avatars at regular intervals. Each avatar unlocks special powers that can be used in both single-player and multiplayer modes. One may cause the next three blocks to be single colors. Another might inject a shuffle block into the next set, the only time you'll be happy to see the little bastard. Nothing ridiculously powerful, but enough to squeeze your way through a tough spot or add a few extra points to your high score.



Worldwide Block Party: It may not have online multiplayer, but that doesn't mean Electronic Symphony leaves your more distant friends out of the equation. PlayStation Network friends that have played the game appear on the main menu, giving you a score to beat or fuel for gloating on demand.



There's also the World Block, a massive construct made up of cubes that are erased every time you or anyone else in the world plays the game. Even without interacting with these people whatsoever you can't help but feel connected when that giant block shrinks down to size.



Hated


It's Basically Lumines: There really isn't much meat on these bones when you're done chewing through single-player Voyage mode, time-attack stopwatch mode, and the block count-based Master mode. That seems rather sparse, especially considering the amount of content in say, Lumines Live for Xbox Live Arcade. I see downloadable content in this game's future, before players sneak off to play an older, more feature-rich version instead.



Touching Failure: There's no real reason to get touchy-feely with Lumines Electronic Symphony outside of menu navigation and activating power-ups. Beyond that there's the option to use touch screen controls to move and rotate blocks instead of the directional pad, which might be fun if you hate yourself. And then there's the tapping, which can't possibly be working as intended. Though who knows, someone did decide to add a shuffle block to the mix.



The Strategy-Killing Shuffle Block: When it comes right down to it, the conflict of Lumines is one of your hands and head against the game's speed. You build the board, setup screen-clearing combinations, and pray your fingers and mind can keep up. Then the new shuffle block drops, randomly rearranging everything on the board, ruining everything forever.



The only situation where this block is a good thing is when you've lost control and the board is filling faster than you can clear it. If you're lucky the random shuffling could free up a large portion of the screen. Or it could ruin everything, which I've gotten used to at this point. I hate you, shuffle block.







width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always"
allowfullscreen="true">

I was disappointed when I started up Lumines Electronic Symphony and wasn't greeted by the familiar sexy sparkle of "Shinin". Then I started playing and I wasn't so disappointed anymore. The song didn't make the game; it just helped shape the memory.



Here's to new memories.


Kotaku

Lumines was one of the best games on the original PlayStation Portable. It was sort of a rave version of Tetris, which was a very good thing. The successor to the PSP is now upon us, and so is a new Lumines, subtitled Electronic Symphony.



The game could stand to be a littler harder, but it's a fun, stylish sequel nonetheless. Check out the video of me playing it, listen to some catchy music and shake your head with me at the inferior touch controles. The tapping gimmick is the worst. Good thing we can stick to the d-pad and buttons. That's the way I do it.


Kotaku

Lumines Electronic Symphony is a 34-Track Love Letter to Electronic MuiscYears of playing games like the original Lumines, Harmonix's Frequency, or Squid in a Box's PC shooter Waves have left me with a voracious appetite for electronic music, which is why the 34 tracks included in Ubisoft's Lumines Electronic Symphony have me drooling.



Where else will you find music by Howard Jones and Art of Noise mingling with tracks by Benny Benassi or Russia's SCSI-9? Okay, outside of a dance club in Second Life? Right, other than German — we can't all afford a trip to Germany, unless we're German and live there anyway.



No, "on the internet" doesn't count.



Check out the 34 tracks that put Lumines Electronic Symphony at the top of my PlayStation Vita must-haves list. Then hit up the link below for some short interviews with some of the artists on the PlayStation Blog.




  • "4 AM" – Kaskade

  • "Aganju" – Bebel Gilberto

  • "Always Loved A Film" – Underworld

  • "Apollo Throwdown" – The Go! Team

  • "Automatons" – Anything Box

  • "Autumn Love" – SCSI-9

  • "Bang Bang Bang" – Mark Ronson & The Business

  • "Celebrate Our Love" – Howard Jones

  • "Close (To The Edit)" – Art of Noise

  • "Disco Infiltrator" – LCD Soundsystem

  • "Dissolve" – The Chemical Brothers

  • "Embracing The Future" – B.T.

  • "Flyin' Hi" – Faithless

  • "Good Girl" – Benny Benassi

  • "Gouryella" – Gouryella

  • "Hey Boy Hey Girl" – The Chemical Brothers

  • "Higher State of Consciousness" – Wink

  • "In My Arms" – Mylo

  • "Kelly Watch The Stars" – Air

  • "Moistly" – LFO

  • "Never" – Orbital*

  • "Out Of The Blue" – System F

  • "Pacific 707" – 808 State

  • "Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)" – Safri Duo

  • "Rocket (Tiesto Remix)" – Goldfrapp

  • "Sunriser (Publicmind Remix)" – Ken Ishii

  • "Superstar" – Aeroplane

  • "The Future of the Future (Stay Gold)" – Deep Dish

  • "The Sun Rising" – The Beloved

  • "What's Your Number" – Ian Pooley

  • "Windowlicker" – Aphex Twin

  • "Wolfgang's 5th Symphony" – Wolfgang Gartner

  • "Wooden Toy" – Amon Tobin

  • "Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam & Spoon Mix)" – Pet Shop Boys


Lumines Electronic Symphony: Q Entertainment's Love Letter to Electronic Music [PlayStation Blog]


Kotaku

Lumines Electronic Symphony is a 34-Track Love Letter to Electronic MusicYears of playing games like the original Lumines, Harmonix's Frequency, or Squid in a Box's PC shooter Waves have left me with a voracious appetite for electronic music, which is why the 34 tracks included in Ubisoft's Lumines Electronic Symphony have me drooling.



Where else will you find music by Howard Jones and Art of Noise mingling with tracks by Benny Benassi or Russia's SCSI-9? Okay, outside of a dance club in Second Life? Right, other than German — we can't all afford a trip to Germany, unless we're German and live there anyway.



No, "on the internet" doesn't count.



Check out the 34 tracks that put Lumines Electronic Symphony at the top of my PlayStation Vita must-haves list. Then hit up the link below for some short interviews with some of the artists on the PlayStation Blog.




  • "4 AM" – Kaskade

  • "Aganju" – Bebel Gilberto

  • "Always Loved A Film" – Underworld

  • "Apollo Throwdown" – The Go! Team

  • "Automatons" – Anything Box

  • "Autumn Love" – SCSI-9

  • "Bang Bang Bang" – Mark Ronson & The Business

  • "Celebrate Our Love" – Howard Jones

  • "Close (To The Edit)" – Art of Noise

  • "Disco Infiltrator" – LCD Soundsystem

  • "Dissolve" – The Chemical Brothers

  • "Embracing The Future" – B.T.

  • "Flyin' Hi" – Faithless

  • "Good Girl" – Benny Benassi

  • "Gouryella" – Gouryella

  • "Hey Boy Hey Girl" – The Chemical Brothers

  • "Higher State of Consciousness" – Wink

  • "In My Arms" – Mylo

  • "Kelly Watch The Stars" – Air

  • "Moistly" – LFO

  • "Never" – Orbital*

  • "Out Of The Blue" – System F

  • "Pacific 707" – 808 State

  • "Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)" – Safri Duo

  • "Rocket (Tiesto Remix)" – Goldfrapp

  • "Sunriser (Publicmind Remix)" – Ken Ishii

  • "Superstar" – Aeroplane

  • "The Future of the Future (Stay Gold)" – Deep Dish

  • "The Sun Rising" – The Beloved

  • "What's Your Number" – Ian Pooley

  • "Windowlicker" – Aphex Twin

  • "Wolfgang's 5th Symphony" – Wolfgang Gartner

  • "Wooden Toy" – Amon Tobin

  • "Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam & Spoon Mix)" – Pet Shop Boys


Lumines Electronic Symphony: Q Entertainment's Love Letter to Electronic Music [PlayStation Blog]


Kotaku

Getting to Hear New Music Should be Easier in Lumines: Electronic Symphony We think Lumines is one of the best games for the PSP. But damn was it ever hard to experience everything the game had to offer. In the first game, players had to grind through the entire game to hear all the music or see all the trippy synchronized visuals. Lumines II improved on that with tiered difficulty settings and the ability to make custom playlists but you still had to reach a level to unlock its skin.



This interview at the PlayStation Blog makes it sound like that's changing. Q Entertainment producer says runs down some basics on the puzzle franchise's upcoming Vita release Lumines: Electronic Symphony, saying that a new scoring and XP system will let players unlock skins or avatars, regardless of progress. Mielke also mentions that you'll be able to play Electronic Symphony with the Vita's touchscreen, too. Me, I just want to dive into the game's soundtrack.



Building on a Classic with Lumines Electronic Symphony
[PlayStation Blog]


Kotaku

Get Ready To Fall in Love with Lumines All Over AgainMonster Hunter is now synonymous with the PSP. Back in late 2004 and early 2005, that wasn't the case. Monster Hunter was a PS2 game, and Sony was still convinced that the PSP was its new Walkman.



Puzzle game Lumines, which launched in Japan in December 2004, was the PSP's killer app. It took advantage of the PSP's screen and multimedia capabilities. It's now 2011. There have been sequels, good sequels, but Lumines hasn't felt as fresh as it did back in those cold winter months of late 2004 and early 2005.



With Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Q Entertainment is bringing Lumines back to its electronic roots. According to Q Entertainment's James Mielke, the goal was to create a survey of electronic music—an electronic symphony, if you will.



The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played Lumines. On the PS Vita's screen, it pops and comes to life. The individual blocks that players must stack and clear are rendered in 3D—something that can be seen when moving the blocks quickly right to left and the perspective shifts ever so slightly. It's a small thing, but it makes the blocks feel far more tangible, weighty even, than in previous Lumines games.



While playing the title's short demo, I could feel myself going back into that zone that should be so familiar to Lumines players—the one where your eyes go out of focus a wee bit, and you become entranced by the music, the images, and the falling Lumines blocks.



One significant change this time around is that the player's Avatar is now connected to an Avatar Meter. When it reaches one hundred percent, players can use it to unleash a special ability. The ability in the demo was a "chain block" that would clear one of two block colors. It's randomized so you don't know which color the chain block will clear until it falls.



Q Entertainment is planning to offer nine different Avatar Meter abilities, which can be unlocked during gameplay, along with new filters and new skins. When players start the game, they must select an Avatar ability and keep said ability until they clear all the stages.



The game should have "dozens" of stages and unlockable content. There are also new game modes like a two player versus mode called "Duel Mode" and a race-against-the-clock-mode called "Stopwatch Mode".



I only saw one skin. From what I saw, Lumines: Electronic Symphony looked like Lumines on the PS Vita—and that looked pretty damn great.





You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at bashcraft@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

Get Ready To Fall in Love with Lumines All Over Again

Get Ready To Fall in Love with Lumines All Over Again


Kotaku

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutAt this year's Tokyo Game Show, there will be around 40 PS Vita games. Forty. And the machine isn't even out! Some of the games have already been revealed. Some haven't.



Leaks from this week's forthcoming issue of Japanese game magazine Famitsu shed light on some of the new titles. Here's a list of what's in the publication:



Lumines: Electronic Symphony

Rayman Origins

Michael Jackson The Experience HD

Dark Quest

Sumioni

Dream Club Zero Portable

Moe Moe Daisensou

Ragnarok Odyssey



Lumines is one of my favorite PSP titles and a logical Vita title. Ubisoft is bringing both Rayman Origins and Michael Jackson The Experience to PS Vita. Dream Club Zero Portable looks to be a port of Xbox 360 hostess game Dream Club Zero, while Moe Moe Daisensou is this.



There's a Gameloft app called Dark Quest, but Ubisoft is publishing this title, so it could be a different Dark Quest.



Ragnarok, a hugely popular online title, is getting a PS Vita version, enabling gamers to hunt down big monsters with various character classes.



2D action title Sumioni from Tokyo-based studio Acquire looks to be one of the more interesting titles, like it was drawn with digital ink. The art style is one of the most arresting I've seen in a while, very Japanese, very beautiful. The game uses "brush touch action", so it could stir up fond Okami memories for players.



Be sure to check back for Kotaku Tokyo Game Show coverage next week.



他Vita最新情報 [左から右へてけと~読み]



(Top photo: Chris Pizzello | AP)



You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at bashcraft@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak Out Sumioni

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak Out Sumioni

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutSumioni

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutRagnarok

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutRagnarok

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutRagnarok

A Handful of New PS Vita Games Leak OutList of PS Vita games


Eurogamer


Rayman Origins, Assassin's Creed and Lumines are among the titles Ubisoft is bringing to the PlayStation Vita, the publisher has announced.


Asphalt, Dungeon Hunter Alliance and Michael Jackson: The Experience are also "currently in development" for Sony's new handheld, according to its Gamescom announcement.


No word yet on exactly what form that Assassin's Creed game will take, but we'll update as soon as we find out more.


"With its processing power, dual tactile screens and cameras, PS Vita allows creators like Ubisoft new and unique opportunities to develop innovative games," commented Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot.


"We've got a strong and varied line-up that will offer fun and immersion to all audiences of the PS Vita."

Kotaku

Lumines and a 'New Iteration' of Assassin's Creed Coming to PlayStation VitaThey're showed us a screenshot (bullshot?) of Rayman Origins running on the PlayStation Vita today, but the most exciting news from Ubisoft regarding their support for PlayStation Vita involved some other games.



Ubisoft will bring a new Lumines to Vita. That would be a new version of the beloved puzzle game that is regarded by some as the best PSP game of all time.



The company will also launch a new Assassin's Creed some time in 2012. The company also promises to have Asphalt, Dungeon Hunter Alliance, Michael Jackson the Experience and Rayman Origins for Vita.


Kotaku

iPhone Games Just Aren't Any FunCommenter St.McDuck is done downloading games for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and he'll tell us why in today's installment of Speak Up on Kotaku.



Why I'm Done with iPhone Games



I can't count how many demos or $1 games I've bought since I got an iPod Touch back in 2008. Every day I was looking for new games to try out, be it on the poorly-organized App Store charts or on mobile gaming-dedicated websites. If it was free or cheap and looked half-way decent, I'd add it to my Touch and keep it around for a rainy day, or a slow day at work.



Puzzle games, adventure games, RPG's, Angry Birds. They all provided minutes of fun. And then I'd delete them.



Download a demo. Play it for a life/round/minute. Delete. Download a $1 game. Get the point. Delete. Actually have some increment of fun playing something. Never come back to it again. Delete.



I don't want to do it anymore. I'm sick of it. These ‘experiences,' many based off similar ‘experiences' from other companies selling similar Apps, are lifeless. Sure, Tiny Wings is beautiful to look at, but after getting to level 6 and having the sun set, I stop caring. Sonic the Hedgehog? Sorry, touch-screen controls for platformers can disappear along with the US economy. Hero of Sparta made me both stop caring AND curse the controls at the same time.



To be blunt, iPhone games aren't fun.



When I look at my iPod Touch as a gaming device, I throw up in my mouth a little bit. It's not a gaming device. It's a music player. If it was an iPhone, it would be a music player and a phone. I have used it for games, or rather, tried to use it for games, for over three years now, and not once have I experienced my ‘Tetris Moment' (Gameboy) or my ‘Lumines Moment' (PSP) or my ‘Advance Wars Moment' (GB Advance). That moment when all that the system is and can be is absorbed into your brain. It's a moment of brilliance which is rare, and after three years of trying to find it amidst the mass of pointless, moronic, copycat, or just plain impossible-to-control ‘games' on the iPhone platform, I'm done looking for it. No more wasted time trying to find a diamond in the rough. It's beyond a needle in a haystack now. The App Store is a wasteland that I no longer feel the need to trudge through. There's so many things wrong with it that the occasional mildly-amusing cheap game that I may be missing won't matter.



I'm going to make a prediction: games on the App Store will suffer their own market collapse at some point in the next five years. Be it through lack of innovation or consumer indifference, the store will cease to be the money-printer it is right now. How many times can people pay $1 for a game they've already downloaded fifty times under a different title? How many in-game lives must be lost to horrible touch-controls that can only be rectified by actual buttons? How many minutes must be wasted downloading and installing the next mini-game, only to delete it minutes later because you've seen all there is to see?



My time is more valuable than that. I'm not against indie games, or even spirited re-imaginations of existing games, but I am against the devaluation of games as fun. The iPhone is a great device (when people don't drive with it), and kudos to Apple for innovating in a space that had become stagnant with boring cell handsets, but games shall no longer grace my iPod Touch, or my iPhone if I ever get one.



I'm a gamer. I play real games. On real systems.



About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.
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