September 24, 2021

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Lumines Remastered review: a puzzle masterpiece finds a perfect new home

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Is there anything more wonderful in gaming than those rare moments where hardware and software come together in perfect unison? Call it synergy, if you must, but really it’s some fantastical alchemy at work where both parts help elevate each other, until you’ve got something truly special. Back in 2004, Q Entertainment and producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Lumines offered up one of those moments, arriving in tandem with the PSP and becoming an unexpected highlight of the handheld’s launch line-up.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. The PSP was billed as nothing less than Sony’s attempt to do for portable gaming what the Walkman had done for portable music players, though that message got lost in a muddy mob of ill-advised attempts to get big console gaming on the go. Mizuguchi got it, though, and set about creating something in tune with that ideal: a puzzle game for the MTV generation, complete with pulsating pop art visuals and its own impeccable sense of style.

Lumines was to be to the PSP what Tetris was to the Game Boy, or at least that’s how the theory went. And at least that’s how it played out in my house, where an import PSP left wanting for new games in the fallow first few months for the handheld became, quite simply, the Lumines machine. Other great games eventually came along to the PSP, of course, but an indelible connection had already been made; that glorious 16:9 TFT LCD screen was always meant to be paired with a decent set of headphones for a serious Lumines session.

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