A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is an intense, far-out puzzle game that can easily suck up several hours of a player's time in a single session. There are versions for the PlayStation Portable (PSP), PlayStation 2, Xbox Live Arcade, and PC.
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What's it about?
LUMINES is a falling block-style puzzle game that shares some elements with Tetris: Blocks fall from the top of the screen, and players manipulate them into patterns to clear them off the playing field and score points. But in Lumines the goal is to arrange 2x2 bi-colored squares into larger blocks of the same color. A line sweeps across the screen at regular intervals, clearing any color blocks as it passes by. If the screen fills up and blocks touch the top, the game is over.
In addition to the main Challenge mode, Lumines offers a Puzzle Mode where you must re-create a given shape, such as an \"A\" or a 4x4 square. Additional modes include: Mission, which includes challenges like clearing all blocks on the screen in one move; Time Attack, where you must erase as many squares as possible in a given time limit; and Skin Edit, where you can arrange levels you've unlocked in Challenge mode in any order to create your own custom \"playlist.\"
Is it any good?
It's a simple enough concept, but one that offers an incredibly deep and satisfying gaming experience. This is thanks in large part to the game's superb balance. Unlike Tetris, the blocks in Lumines don't just keep falling faster and faster until it's impossible to continue. Each new level in Lumines has a different speed -- sometimes super slow, and sometimes quick.
Bold colors and a soundtrack of funky techno-infused music give Lumines a slick vibe. And the music is much more than just background noise: Gameplay is accompanied by musical embellishments, like a piano flourish or vocalization when you drop a square to form a color block. As you get on a roll clearing blocks and earning bonus multipliers, the soundtrack will change dynamically to become more energetic. While the game might seem a little intense at first, those who stick with Lumines will discover a truly classic puzzle game that is well-deserving of a ranking on anyone's "Best Of" list.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what factors make certain games more compelling or addictive than others. Do they like games they can play for hours on end, or do they prefer to break the gameplay up into manageable, self-contained chunks? How does the music in this game respond to the action on-screen? Did you notice that the music and graphics work together to create a certain atmosphere or vibe in the game?
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