LUMINES REMASTERED review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Enhance
Developer: Resonair
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards

Lumines is back! And portable! Well except that it started out on the PlayStation Portable aka the PSP, duh. So just in case you aren?t tired of hearing things you already know, it?s safe to say that the HD remastered the original Lumines is also just as good as we remember. That is, if you?re old enough to remember. Or maybe you?re too old like me and already forgot how much fun you had back in the day with this music-based puzzler.

Well whether you remember Lumines or not, its return to current gen consoles and PC is enough to ensure it lives on forever in gaming history. When we were given an opportunity to check it out on the Switch, it was hard to say no.

It?s also not the first time a Lumines game is on consoles, since the series received some sequels and even a mobile phone port or two. At least I think I have it on my smartphone. Despite the series being widely available, there was something special about the first entry and its particular music. I think that?s what makes Lumines HD such a big deal to old farts like me. This is where all the fun started.

And damn this game can be tough! Even after sinking about a hundred hours into the PSP game I could never complete the whole thing in one sitting. Here I am in the futuristic year of 2018 playing on a Nintendo Switch and I still feel like I need one of my older cousins around to help me beat some of the harder levels. Yeah my age may show more than I?d like, but it?s kind of nice to feel young again.

If you?re unfamiliar with Lumines, it?s a very pick-up-and play puzzle game. Your goal is to match four colors in a 2×2 shape. Any other boxes of that color which overlap to create another 2×2 pattern will count as part of your combo. These matches are cleared by a bar that sweeps the screen left to right, so your goal is similar to Tetris puzzlers where you just need to keep the screen from overflowing with falling blocks.

The campaign mode has tons of great tracks, and each level features a different tune and set of visuals. These really screw with your eyes as the levels will seamlessly fade into each other, sometimes adjusting the speed of the falling blocks according to the music. In reality it?s one of those games that you think you?ll just play for five or so minutes, but keep going for one more song. And then when you die, trying one more time is just so easy to do.

Other modes include more puzzle oriented play which requires you to recreate shapes with careful placement. There?s also multiplayer and a mode that allows you to queue up your favorite tracks and just chill out. I really like that feature since there are some songs I don?t like, and really want to spend more time with Shake Your Body.

The few issues I have with the game are very minor. Maybe I?ve been spoiled by modern games, but the load times seem very long. A lot like the PSP, what a faithful port!

The other thing that was weird was how the rumble was used. On the Switch, the HD rumble can not only respond to combos and placement, but the little gears can sync to the song?s tempo! At first I thought this was really interesting but a few songs in there was a track that had my controllers vibrating, whining, and whirling around in what must have been excruciating pain for the poor Switch. There?s even a trance mode that like Rez will make all synchronized controllers vibrate whether or not you?re using them.

Thankfully you can change the vibration settings so that they don?t include the musical vibration, so this is more of an observation. I do like that the developers tried something new, but for me this was a case of science having gone too far.

Overall I?m overjoyed that we have the original Lumines on modern platforms. I usually gush about how the Switch adds portability, but this is a rare case of things being the other way around. Lumines Remastered is still the most portable version of the game, and I?m just glad to see some of my favorite games being updated since I don?t own every console ever. This was exactly what I expected from a port and my only complaint are the load times which may always be patched in the future. It?s not enough to stop me from enjoying what is here, and at $15 I highly suggest checking this one out.

Grade: A