Developed by Resonair Published by Enhance Games Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Steam)
Lumines Remastered is a HD remaster of Lumines: Puzzle Fusion, a PSP launch title from 2005. This remaster features the same electronic music, bright visuals, and has amazing controls that intersect to make a great remaster. The return of cult classics like this make for great opportunities to remind new and old fans alike what got them hooked on the genre in the first place.
Gameplay in Lumines Remastered consists of making 2×2 squares of similar color blocks that gets cleared by a timeline bar that crosses the screen to the tempo of the music. The game alternates between low tempo levels that punish hasty decisions and high-tempo levels that rush your decision process. Clearing blocks in enough quantities per-wipe adds multipliers or special bonuses to your score, helping advance you to the next level. There are also special blocks containing a gem that will clear all adjacent blocks of the same color once the time line passes by. Knowing how to effectively chain together blocks with this gem is crucial for keeping the screen clear.
Outside of the arcade-style Challenge mode, there are other play modes available in Lumines Remastered. Puzzle mode challenges you to place and delete squares until you make the requested shape. Versus mode and CPU versus mode force two players to battle over one screen, with block-clears taking space away from your enemy. This ends when a player or the CPU makes a placement off-screen. Most extra game modes unlock unique skins and avatars, giving more music variety for your gameplay. Lumines Remastered even includes a Skin Edit mode, allowing you to make a playlist of skins to play through and practice. Also new to this version is a global ranking leaderboard, per game-mode and great for seeing where you place in the world.
Also new to Lumines Remastered is controller vibration, which is a welcome addition. Feeling not only block movement but also the rhythm of the beat in your palms sinks you further in the game. On top of controller vibration, Lumines Remastered also utilizes Rez-style trance vibration, using extra controllers to contribute more to the vibration-based baseline.
Music is what makes Lumines Remastered fun, and the developers thankfully brought back the original soundtrack in its entirety. It’s comprised of dance and electronic music designed to entrance you, permeating a distinct style in nearly every level. Rock music and various exotic songs also pepper the music selection to fit a theme or mix up the tempo. As you perform well in a given song, turning your blocks or making combos of blocks to clear add layers to the music. Remixing music with player input makes player skill sound fun, rather than just mentally rewarding.
Lumines Remastered being a Tetris-alike block killer doesn’t mean it has to look boring. Each song and each level has a skin that has a matching theme with a particular song. Just like a dance floor, pulsing lights and colors permeate the scene. The only consistency between each level is that the timeline bar is in a high-contrast orange that shows which of your your blocks will disappear.
Overall, Lumines Remastered is a smooth remaster that improves the visuals and captures the fun of the original. Returning with the full soundtrack of the original PSP game in a higher quality is not just appreciated, but welcomed. Lumines is a cult classic because of its unique spin on the formula and worth a shot for any newcomer.