"Haemorrhoids?" I ask Andy, VideoGamer.com sales executive and trivia taskmaster. I'm not sure what he's talking about, but it's definitely got something to do with my bum. I close my eyes and see Lumines: Electronic Symphony's neon-lit squares tessellating themselves into perfect oblivion. Aah, that's better.
It's all about your anal cushions, apparently, and I know this because I'm in a discussion about how sitting on the toilet for too long is actually bad for your health. Esquire has the science answer: "sitting on the toilet too long can increase pressure on these anal cushions, which may eventually cause them to become haemorrhoids."
So, basically, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is probably going to give me haemorrhoids, because every time I've nipped off for a twosie in the past week I've ended up plopping time into the game. I appreciate it Ubisoft, thanks a bunch Q Entertainment. At least this passes the first test of any good time-gobbling puzzler, and that's the fact that it eats away at your life whenever it can.
In all honesty I was supposed to have this review done a few days ago, but I was so involved in a game of Lumines (I finished on a somewhat pathetic score of 615,558) I was completely loathe to quit back to the main menu and test some of the game's other features out.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony also passes the second test, which is that it's packed with enough whizz-bang (thanks, mostly, to the soundtrack) to push you, time and time again, past the dry early minutes into the more satisfying middle-game - the bit when a puzzler becomes puzzling, if you will. The core idea is in filtering combinations of dual coloured, two-by-two blocks into single-coloured quadrilaterals (bigger is better) before a scrolling line, moving in time with the beat of the music, whizzes them off the grid in exchange for some juicy points. It's as entertaining as ever.
For the most part, though, it's a bit on the easy side. Form enough blocks, or wait out a timer, and the game's aesthetic - backing music, block colours and backgrounds, dubbed a 'skin' in-game - ticks to the next one in the sequence. The game's primary mode, Voyage, takes about an hour of play before it starts to become perplexing, and while an ultra-difficult Master Mode is available it would have been nice to be able to more easily and immediately play in that middle-ground between remedial and genius.