Lumines Remastered Notes

A game of Lumines. It's a falling block puzzle game. The stage is 20 blocks wide and 10 blocks tall. Blocks are one of two colors, and each piece is composed of 4 blocks in a 2 by 2 pattern. Squares made of 2 by 2 block sof the same color are highlighted, and a line is sweeping across the stage to delete them. The game interface also shows three upcoming pieces, the current level, how long the current game has been going on, the current score, the hi-score, the count of squares erased so far, and the title of the current skin.

Lumines is one of my favorite games. It’s a falling block puzzle game with only two colors, a light block and dark block. You drop four blocks at a time and try to arrange them in 2×2 squares of the same color. A line sweeps across the stage and deletes completed squares, scoring points. It’ll make more sense if you watch the videos later in this post?

The gameplay works super well despite how simple it is, but the bit that puts Lumines into the top tier is how it blends the visuals and music. It’s a Tetsuya Mizuguchi game (the same person behind Rez and the upcoming Tetris EffectAlso. Also. Can we talk about Tetris Effect? It looks so good and I am very excited for it to come out.) and it’s the sort of thing where you zone out and flow for a while.

Lumines Remastered (June 2018) came out a couple months ago, and I’ve been playing it a lot. It looks super good, and having it on the Switch is greatIf every game could come out for the Switch that would be great, thanks.. Not too much has changed about the core game since the original Lumines: Puzzle Fusion (December 2004) came out for PSPOh my god the game is 14 years old., so the couple of minor differences in this latest version really stand out. Except, it turns out, one of the differences isn’t a difference at all…

Combo Scoring

You score points each time the sweeper line reaches the end of the stage, and the amount of points you score is based on the number of deleted 2×2 squares. If you keep deleting at least 4 squares each sweep, a combo counter counts up for more points.

In previous versions, the combo counts up to 4×. But in Remastered, the combo counts by 4× each time, up to 16×. This seems like a huge difference, right? Except nothing has changed at all!

Here’s a video of a combo being built up in Remastered.

Each deleted square is worth 40 points. You get bonuses for other things like dropping squares quickly or leaving only a single color on the stage after a sweep, but let’s not worry about those. Here’s how the scoring accumulates in the video:

5800 (40 × 5 × 4)
41280 (40 × 4 × 8)
712×3360 (40 × 7 × 12)
516×3200 (40 × 5 × 16)
516×3200 (40 × 5 × 16)

For comparison, here’s a video of a chain being built up in an older version, Lumines Live! (October 2006).

The multiplier counts up one by one to a maximum of 4×. It’s subtle, but it also doesn’t start counting until after the second consecutive sweep with at least 4 erased squares.

So how are these scoring systems the same? The trick is there’s a hidden 4× multiplier in Live! whenever you erase at least 4 squares in a sweep. This is why 4 squares are worth 640 points even though they should be worth only 40 points each. In table form:

4640 (40 × 4 × 4)
51600 (40 × 5 × 4 × 2)
115280 (40 × 11 × 4 × 3)
42560 (40 × 4 × 4 × 4)
74480 (40 × 7 × 4 × 4)

I think the newer scoring makes it a lot easier to understand what’s going on, and it more clearly explains how important it is to keep a combo going if you want a good score.As far as I can figure, the scoring is thus the same in every non-mobile Lumines except for the first one, which didn’t have a combo bonus at all (but it did have the 4× bonus for clearing 4 or more squares in a sweep).

Chain Blocks

There’s another change in Remastered that is different from the older releases I’m familiar with. Sometimes you get these special blocks that erase all of the blocks of one color that are touching the special block. These special blocks help you clean up large areas quickly, and are a big part of why games last for well over a half hour.

In Remastered:

The orange special block isn't touching any other blocks of its own color. It's currently inactive.
Some orange blocks have been dropped next to the special block, connecting it to many other orange blocks. The special block is not itself part of a square, but it is active and all of the touching orange blocks are now marked with crosses.

The special block is the one with the ✛ cross icon on it. In Remastered, it activates when it touches at least one other block of the same color.

A blue block is marked with a cross, and although it's touching other blue blocks it's not part of a square and is inactive.
A square has been completed with the special block, and it's now active.

In Live!, the special block isn’t activated until it’s part of a complete square. This means it’s easier to save special blocks until you want to use them, but it’s harder to activate them when you’re in a tight spot, especially when the stage fills up. I think I ultimately like the Remastered rule better.

I belive this changed in Lumines: Electronic Symphony (Februrary 2012), although that version also added a Shuffle special block that doesn’t appear in Remastered.

Other Notes