It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a PlayStation portable hardware launch. Where there’s launch, there’s Lumines.

Thanks to Sony’s newfangled portable, I learned a very valuable lesson about the legendary ‘Lumines’ music-puzzle series: I’ve been pronouncing the damn thing incorrectly for almost a decade. Say it with me, my friends: ‘Loo-min-NESS.’ Friendly, ‘Lumines Electronic Symphony’ (LES) female announcer lady reminds me of this annunciation faux pas upon every game launch. Much obliged, thankless voice-over; you’ve made us all better people plus simultaneously ponder if Loo-min-NESS Monster a forgotten cousin of ol’ Nessy.

There’s little wonder I’ve been butchering the poor thing’s name for such an extended period, as little has changed across now Lumines’ third iteration on a Sony handheld. Sure, some fancier graphics, new tracks, and occasionally weird avatar are thrust into the mix, but if you’ve played one Lumines…you’ve proverbially played them all. (Yup, just like the ‘Transformers’ movies, Mr. Bay.)

Lumines Electronic Symphony reminds you, however, that while a bit of rehash in da’ club, there’s so many a reason to like this DJ. The Lumines formula simply works, a beautiful mesh of dozens of highest quality techno tracks perfectly married to outstanding visuals. In LES, this marriage – powered by the Vita’s processing engine – now features considerably more graphical depth, capability breathtaking on occasion.

For those new to the series, Lumines is your standard ‘match four like colored blocks’ puzzler. Chain said matches before the always-moving bar sweeps across the screen, and bonuses ensue. LES introduces chain reaction and randomizing blocks, with unlocks linked to XP generated through off and online play. Modes consist of the default Voyage mode, where block clearance corresponds to audio-visual change plus increasing difficulty. Online, stopwatch and challenge modes round out available options, also a World Block area for the community-inclined. World Block – where global clearing skills contribute to overall score and corresponding XP – is unfortunately cool in theory but useless in practice. LES obsessives always beat you to the punch, making this area solely a clearinghouse to garner XP from others’ efforts. Last, avatars – likewise linked to XP – now carry unique skills, making them finally more than visual tweaks.

Unfortunately, Lumines Electronic Symphony does little to harness the terrific Vita touchscreen, limiting interactions to menu selections and the occasional block selection. In all fairness, I’m not sure what LES could’ve done better with either motion or touch capabilities...in exception to some on-demand visual/audio shifts. Still, LES feels a bit naked on such a capable, interactive device. On the flipside, Lumines Electronic Symphony is – by far and away – the best looking and sounding iteration of the series to date. It’s not wrong to consider this gaming art with puzzler chewy nougat within.

Hardware minimization aside and mirroring Lumines 2, I can’t think of a reason not to buy Lumines Electronic Symphony for fans of the series or genre. The game sucks you in for indefinite periods of time, and – thanks to its almost organic match between gameplay and accompanying audio-visuals – remains fresh with each play. When subtle piece movement generates a beat synced seamlessly to multiple layers of on-screen graphics and remixed music tracks, it’s hard not get a, ‘damn, this is cool’ vibe.

As far as launch titles go, Lumines Electronic Symphony doesn’t tread into very new terrain nor maximize Vita hardware. Still, the game stands as the best Lumines to date, a perfect addition to the Vita’s neophyte library plus a must for puzzle fans seeking an enriching experience.

  • Stunning audio-visuals
  • New blocks and modes
  • Terrific launch title
  • World Block lacking
  • Much of the same
  • Doesn’t maximize Vita hardware
Quote: "The game stands as the best Lumines to date, a perfect addition to the Vita’s neophyte library plus a must for puzzle fans seeking an enriching experience."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 03.14.12

Similar Games: Lumines II (9.0)


Lumines Electronic Symphony


Q Entertainment


US Release
February '12


PS Vita

Players 1