Lumines Supernova (PSN)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, January 5, 2009

Graphics: 7.50
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 9.50
Replays: 10.00
Gamelength: 10.00

Q-Entertainment’s most popular puzzle series has hit the PSN with the latest release, “Lumines Supernova”.

When people think of the puzzle genre, the most typical thought that comes to mind is the age-old classic, “Tetris”. “Tetris” is a game that nearly everyone of any age has played at some point in time. These days, however, the puzzle genre has been redefined time and time again by nearly every major and even minor developer out there. At this point, we’ve had puzzle action, puzzle RPG and even puzzle racing; subgenres I never thought I’d see. In this particular case, Q-Entertainment has added an audiovisual twist to the puzzle genre for an eye-popping, addictive and incredibly fun experience that’s sure to be a part of the gaming world for quite some time with many, many various iterations to come. That said, it’s time to take a trip into the musical world of “Lumines Supernova” via Sony’s PSN on the PlayStation 3.

Ah, the simple, yet artsy style of this game is so refreshing, no matter how many times I see it. Each and every single time I play, regardless of which mode I’m playing, this is an addictive visual experience. There’s a lot of color and each level’s unique design ranges from the standard 2-tone solid color setup, such as blue and white, to crazier things, like asian-themed designs with multiple colors. Ultimately, the backgrounds go nearly unnoticed and yes, the visuals lack any real next-gen quality, but none of that stops this game from being the perfect eye candy.

No game is complete without sound, though and it stands true that “Lumines Supernova” has a heavy emphasis on just that. This is a true audiovisual experience and while the visuals are simple by design, the sound goes hand-in-hand with that to create a very fluid and relaxing experience, no matter how hectic the game may get at times. Most of the soundtrack consists of bass heavy electronic music that’s sure to please any fan of the genre. The sound effects are very minimal, but there’s a nice touch added in some instances, when the pieces make sounds that fit in with the music. At the end of the day, “Lumines Suupernova” will stand tall as one of the best audiovisual experiences of the gaming community.

As if the outstanding audiovisual quality wasn’t enough, the experience is rounded out with addictive gameplay and tons of modes. Each mode stands out to the point that it feels like there are multiple games included in this single package. The single player modes include Challenge, Skin Edit, Time Attack, Dig Down, Puzzle and Mission. Not only that, but players are given the ability to create their own skins with the music sequencer, which adds potentially endless replay value to those with a high drive of creativity. It’s also possible to battle other players over the PSN in a lag-free and secure environment, but in my experiences, this proved to be far less enjoyable in comparison to the massive amount of single player content. For those who need help learning how to play the game or to simply get better, Q-Entertainment was nice enough to include extensive tutorials of all kinds under the Help section of the main menu. That feature is definitely something unheard of in the puzzle genre, but it’s an extremely welcome addition. Upon selecting your icon and picking a mode to play, you’re immediately thrown into the game, which is extremely simple to control. The object is very simple. Using the d-pad and the flip buttons, players are meant to create massive chains of like-colored blocks, which get destroyed as the music line moves across the screen. The faster the song is, the faster the line moves and the faster you’re forced to react. Aside from placing blocks in square-shaped formations of 4 or more, there are also bomb blocks. When destroyed as part of a square formation, the bomb blocks create a massive chain reaction that removes any like-colored blocks connected to the square formation. As simple as the game is to play, it’s a real challenge to achieve extremely high scores and compete with other good players. Even simply completing the basic challenge set is rather difficult for a novice to the series. All told, “Lumines Supernova” offers endless replay value and addicting puzzle fun and I really hope that this series continues to grow into something we all know and love.

Overall, Q-Entertainment nails it again with yet another great title in the “Lumines” series. The only thing I could possibly suggest is to add more music that people are familiar with.

Pros:
-Simple controls.
-Easy to learn how to play.
-The perfect audiovisual experience.
-Tons of replay value.
-Lag-free online play.
-The Sequencer mode is awesome.
-Lessons, Tutorials and Tips help a whole lot.

Cons:
-Very steep learning curve for harder levels.
-Online play doesn’t feel very rewarding.
-Could use more well-known music.

Bottom Line:
Electronic music and puzzle game enthusiasts should definitely check this game out. I recommend it to just about everyone, but if you get frustrated by difficult games, it’s a good idea to pass this one up. Later levels are mind-numbingly difficult for anyone who’s not a veteran of the series to some extent.

Overall Rating: 9.00

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