The latest “Nindies” showcase from Nintendo highlighted a whole mess of upcoming Switch releases, but one in particular stands out: Lumines Remastered.
Social media is buzzing with excitement in ways that you, someone who doesn’t obsess about video games, might find confusing. Why are people so excited for a remastered game when Nintendo also announced a bunch of new games?
What is Lumines?
Lumines — which is pronounced loo-mih-NESS, or “luminescence,” without the “cence” — is a puzzle game from Tetsuya Mizuguchi. He’s a co-founder of Q Entertainment (though he left the studio in 2013) and he is perhaps best known as the creator of another puzzle game, Rez.
If you’re already familiar with Rez, that’s a good starting point for understanding Lumines. They’re both puzzle games that lean heavily on techno-driven soundtracks and eye-searing bursts of color. But where Rez is a rhythmic shooting game, Lumines falls closer to Tetris.
It’s a block-dropping and color-matching game in which 2×2 squares fall into the playing field. Each quadrant of a square’s 2×2 grid is a smaller square that can appear in one of two different colors, with color schemes varying by level.
It’s easiest to understand when you actually see the game in action:
The premise is simple: Drop a series of the larger squares into the playing field with the goal of matching up like colors in adjacent spaces. Once you manage to build a 2×2 grid (or larger) of like colors, the group of them disappear and you earn points.
There are some twists and wrinkles that take things a bit further, but those are the basics. As your point total climbs, you open up higher levels of play, leading to new visual backdrops, new cuts of music, and — naturally — a faster-paced challenge.
What makes Lumines such a big deal?
The secret to all the excitement in this release lies in the title: Lumines Remastered.
The original Lumines was a launch title for Sony’s PlayStation Portable (a handheld PlayStation, essentially). If you were buying a PSP in the early aughts — several years before the iPhone popularized mobile gaming in a mainstream way — Lumines was a must-buy game.
The game was later released for a number of other platforms, including pre-iPhone smartphones, iOS, PlayStation and Xbox home consoles, and Windows computers. Its following dwindled down to cult status; Lumines never reached the same heights as Tetris, but the people who knew and remembered it still loved it.
Despite all of that, Lumines has been absent from the public consciousness for almost a decade. The game’s last official release, for iOS devices, happened in late 2009. So this upcoming remastered release for Switch isn’t just a big deal because Nintendo’s latest hardware is the hot, new thing; the game’s re-release has also been a long time coming.
You won’t have to wait much longer, either. Lumines Remastered will be out for Switch (as well as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows) in May 2018.