Lumines Supernova
Reviewed by Blythe Brumleve
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-02-02 PS3 Puzzle E (Everyone) Q Entertainment

When I first heard of Lumines Supernova, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never heard of the game before when I went to download it. My first thought was that the game has great graphics and colors that really catch your eye. The initial navigation screen was quite impressive. The navigation screen looks almost like a football play book with X's andO's and arrows pointing in the direction you're supposed to go. This format of navigation was like nothing I've ever seen and almost made it more enjoyable just to scroll through the main menu rather than playing any puzzle boards.

To best explain Lumines, I would describe it a grid that feeds multiple 2x2 two-tone blocks. You have to match the colors to other blocks and form a 2x2 (or more) of the same color to rid yourself of that block. Think of Tetris except with square blocks that have two different colors. If any part of your un-matched blocks reaches the top of the grid or if time runs out (depending on the mode selected), you're finished. But unlike Tetris, if you place a block in an area where there are gaps, gravity assists you and drops part of your block to the bottom of any gaps, adding to the level of puzzle-solving skills this game requires. There are many different modes that allow you to play a certain level until you beat it, or levels that allow you to play for as long as your brain is not fried by the block computing.

In addition to these modes, there are different difficultly levels, from basic to advanced. Missions also accompany the game where you are given a task to complete, such as erasing all the blocks in two moves and so on.

One of the two new additions to the game is DigDown, a 20-stage marathon that starts off with a grid filled with unmatched blocks. You have 180 seconds to whittle the blocks down to two columns. If you succeed, you are rewarded with the next increasingly difficult stage. If you fail, you will be forced to start over, something I disagree with intensely. Even the fairly new Zelda Twilight Princess had an instant save feature...

One of the first things about the game I poked fun of was the techno music. I felt as if I needed a glow stick just to participate. But after a few hours of playing, my feet were tapping, my head was bobbing and many of the songs were stuck in my head as I went to sleep (thanks!). Lumines Supernova also has a new synthesizer used to create customized music, which can then be added to the gameplay using various types of equipment. I discovered I was a natural at this portion of the game, where in other areas I clearly lacked the patience.

One annoying feature of Lumines Supernova is the sound effect that would play while you switch between games and throughout the menu. It's fine at first, but after switching throughout the menu dozens of times in a single play, you will understand.

Visually, the game is very impressive. There are many new skins (including a popular LittleBigPlanet one) that are very attention-grabbing, to the point that I googled if the skins were available for download as a wallpaper for my computer. At one point, you are also asked to choose a character and the reason why you choose a character is never really proven, unless you just like to watch the little guy dance to the beat of the music. I must say he dances a lot better than I ever could!

To be honest, my first impression of Lumines Supernova was "this is god-awful" and I didn't want to play it anymore. I put down the controller and went to bed. The next day I was doing some research on the game and found that every single review or comment about the game was positive. I couldn't believe it so I dug even more, tried every site I could think of, just to find someone who agreed with me. No luck there.

So I swallowed my pride and decided to take a fresh approach to this title. The fresh approach worked and I no longer think the game is "god awful" but if you ask me if I would rather play Rainbow Six than Lumines, an emphatic yes would follow. Lumines lacks online play and has a lot of recycled content - which many players complained about - but at least the game does support Playstation's Trophies. Lumines Supernova is just an ok puzzle game. I've played better. And with a $14.99 price tag, I suggest buying a nice meal at McDonald's; that would be much more enjoyable.