One of our favourite games for the Sony PSP is Ubisoft’s superb action puzzle Lumines, a falling-blocks game that’s matched to an electronic music backbeat. Now that same style of play is available for the Mac in the form of Lumox 2, developed by Laser Pirate Squad.
If you’ve played Columns or Tetris or any of their countless variations, you’re already familiar with the basic gameplay mechanics of Lumox 2. You’re positioned on a grid, and there are falling blocks of different sizes and configurations. If you can match four of them together in a 2 x 2 square, you’ll make them disappear when a beam of electricity passes over them. Your goal is to keep doing this for as long as possible.
That beam of electricity continuously grazes the playing field, so you have a few moments to try to build combinations of coloured blocks – any assembly of squares 2 x 2 or larger is eligible. When the beam passes over them you’re given points, and the remaining blocks collapse downward, making room for more shapes up top.
Just like Lumines, you find yourself slowly lulled into a hypnotic groove, thanks to more than half an hour of chill-out house music crafted by Trademark. The gameplay is synchronised to the music – blocks fall to the beat. Backgrounds slowly coalesce and begin to transform before your eyes, as the colours and shape of the blocks you’re trying to match gradually shift and change, sometimes pulsing slowly, sometimes shifting their colour and shimmering slightly.
In short, Lumox 2 is breathtaking just to look at, and very, very engrossing to play. There are literally thousands of variations of visual styles – it’s a bit like turning Apple’s own iTunes visualizer into a game.
However, outside of playing with the effects or turning on the three-colour mode, there’s nothing in the way of different games within Lumox 2 – a distinct shortcoming compared with Lumines, which ultimately proves itself to be the superior game. That’s not to say there’s not a lot to enjoy in Lumox 2. We just kept wanting more. But for $10, you can’t really complain.
For the Mac, Lumox 2 is a fresh take on the puzzle game. Its inspiration is obvious to anyone who’s played the superior Lumines on the PSP.