Last week it was confirmed that incredible PSP puzzler Lumines is coming to PlayStation Vita.
According to developer Q Entertainment (Child of Eden, Meteos), the Vita instalment - subtitled 'Electronic Symphony' - is a "true evolution" of the PSP original, which means less Gwen Stefani and more pumping Japanese house music.
That should come as good news to the many fans who regard the puzzler as still the best game on PSP.
Straight out of Tokyo Game Show, Q Entertainment producer James Mielke told CVG all about the series' long-awaited return to form.
Electronic Symphony is described as a "true evolution" of the original Lumines. Why did you decide to return to the original in particular, after so many instalments?
The original Lumines is a landmark in puzzle games. It was the first game to take the falling blocks approach out of the lighthearted Tetris/Puyo Puyo realm and put some emotion into the genre. I chalk that up primarily to the lead-off track, 'Shinin'', which was a fantastic opening song. It's uplifting and uptempo, and did a great job setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The original Lumines is also the game people still ask us - to this day - to put on PSN, but it's a difficult thing to do because of re-licensing issues. So, what we set out to create with Lumines: Electronic Symphony was a true, spiritual sequel to the original game. Most of the other versions of Lumines on other consoles featured some common elements brought over from the original and Lumines II. But what we're creating now is completely new, featuring an all-new visual engine, all-new music. It's a true next-gen Lumines for the VITA, as much as the original Lumines was at the time for PSP.
How does ES make use of the PS Vita's unique control features?
I can't say just yet how we're using all of the VITA's various hardware features, as we're still doing a bit of experimenting, but there is something in the TGS demo that I can describe. First, we have a new 'Avatar System,' which takes those cute little avatars you used to choose at the start of the game, and we gave it a function. The avatar gauge fills up over time, either simply by clearing blocks or by creating big combos, and once the gauge is full you can tap the avatar on-screen to generate a Chain Block, which is a modification of Lumines' original 'Special Block.'
Using the Chain Block, you no longer have to create a full square in order to activate it. Any same-colored block that the Chain Block touches will 'detonate' all connected, like-color blocks in the sweep of one timeline-pass. The sort of balancing factor is that even if you activate a Chain Block, you won't know what color it will be until it's generated. So if you set up a huge chain of orange blocks, but you generate a white Chain Block, it may not help you too much. Chain Blocks still occur naturally, too, independent of the avatar gauge.
The rear touch screen can also be tapped, causing synchronized percussion effects to play, and the avatar gauge to fill faster. We're still tweaking this so it's not unbalanced or overpowered, but we wanted more casual fans to be able to try it out at the show, so we made it easier for the demo. The game also features touchscreen controls in addition to standard D-pad controls.
Are there any new mechanics besides the ones you described?