App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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The wait is over! Someone finally decided that one of the best puzzle games ever should be brought to iOS. Originally released on the PSP in 2005, Lumines is a game where you match up blocks of the same color, but the tempo of blocks clearing and dropping is timed to the game's soundtrack. Over the years, the Lumines franchise has had a bit of a rough go, but this latest release, Lumines: Puzzle & Music demonstrates that the core of the game is still fun over a decade later.
Lumines: Puzzle & Music is not just a port of the original Lumines. Instead, Puzzle & Music is a streamlined experience designed for on-the-go play, featuring things like a portrait layout, shorter game modes, etc. Also, naturally, this game now has touch controls, which involves tapping on the screen to rotate blocks and swiping down to slam them in place. It's a system that mostly works but can sometimes be awkward.
In this streamlining process, a lot of modes from other Lumines games have been left out. The only game modes in Puzzle & Music involve playing varying difficulties of the album mode (with the primary difference being how long you play for) or single skin mode, in which you play the same song over and over again as the pace of blocks speeds up. While this means Puzzle & Music isn't quite the most robust package out there, it still retains what you need from a good Lumines game.
The thing that can really make or break a Lumines game is the soundtrack. Luckily, Puzzle & Music provides a great mix of new and classic songs from previous games. Most importantly, "Shinin'" by Mondo Grosso -- the iconic first song of the original Lumines-- is in this one, making Puzzle & Music a great vehicle for a nice nostalgia trip.
In total there are 14 songs on the soundtrack, which might not sound like much but feels like plenty. And, luckily, all of the songs fit Lumines's neon-soaked aesthetic well. This might sound like a small detail, but it really makes a huge difference. Just try to go back and play the Black Eyed Peas stage in Lumines II and try to tell me it's fun. It's not.
The beat goes on
Despite the relatively thin amount of content in Puzzle & Music, there's a lot to keep you coming back to it beyond the core gameplay. There are over 150 challenges to complete in the game, some of which unlock new modes, avatars, and stages. In addition, there's screen recording functionality built into the game so you can share your block busting skills very easily.
The bottom line
Regardless of whether you have any nostalgia for previous Lumines titles, Puzzle & Music is probably worth getting. Despite some lack of features and some slight control issues Lumines: Puzzle & Music is a great version of a great game.