How to Not Suck: Lumines


Truthfully, I still don’t know the answer. My PSP is still pretty new (though already undermined) and I’m trying to build up a library. One of the few games I remembered playing was the original Lumines on a friend’s PSP. I obviously didn’t remember how bad I suck at it (really really sucked, for the record). I rarely return or sell games once I buy them, and I was determined to keep from making an exception.

The basic concept of the game is to get a single colored block of four squares grouped together. Many squares together are worth more points. The blocks are dissolved by a vertical time line, which moves incessantly (just like time!) across the screen, from left to right. The blocks eventually start falling faster and faster, and you must scramble to get the screen cleared. It’s a tetris-style “how long can you last?” type of thing.

I kept playing with only fluke-like moments of success before utter failure. Frustrated, I went to the tutorial. I didn’t want to need the tutorial, because it’s a damn puzzle game. If it just said “get a block of the same color to win! More blocks equal more points! Good Luck!” I’d be even more pissed.

And that’s mostly what it said, with some helpful animations. This tutorial showed me that it could be done, but I just didn’t understand how to replicate the process. Searching the menus for more options, I found a mission mode that acted as an action tutorial. I was asked to dissolve blocks in a certain number of moves (often one or two). By solving the puzzles, I learned the strategy of the game that I had been lacking. (On a separate note, I still don’t understand the puzzle mode.)

So, I know how to suck less at Lumines: Try the mission mode and practice a lot. I got 15th today on the scoreboard, my highest finish so far. Still, I fear being truly skilled at Lumines may forever elude me.

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