If you read our hands-on preview of Blocks2, then you are already aware of what this Lumines clone is all about. Lumines was what made the PSP a must-have system at its launch, and many would argue that its sequel topped the original. Since then, Xbox 360 and PS2 users have also had the opportunity to try it out. The good news is that Blocks2, while not Lumines, offers much of the same experience. The bad news is that being a spitting image of its spiritual successor means that it brings few new things to the table.
In some ways, Blocks2 is the perfect cross between Lumines and Numba. As mentioned in our preview, several of the gameplay elements that differentiate it from Lumines are also found in Numba, like bomb, chameleon and countdown blocks that disappear over time.
Using these in addition to regular colored blocks, your task is to match up combinations of four or more like-colored blocks in squared-off shapes. Once that’s done, a bar will begin charging at the bottom of the screen. Increase the number of completed squares and rectangles continuously before the bar is fully charged to increase your combo points. It’s a simple premise that gets harder with increased speed and block types.
Blocks so big they can be seen from space.
This is all well and good, but we have perhaps been a bit spoiled by Lumines’s introduction of music as a key element in the gameplay. The music in Blocks2 is quite good, and it offers up similar beat styles, but the music plays no part in how you play the game and is therefore not integral to the experience. Because of this, levels can feel less absorbing and more like a grind.
This is not to say that Blocks2 is not a fun game. Especially for those who have already played Lumines, you are bound to have a great time, as this is block-matching at its best. For others, though, the game can start to feel stale after several levels. The lack of significantly changing backdrops doesn’t help you stay pumped for all 28 levels, either.
A scene from Star Block 3: The Search for Block.
Multiplayer, at least in this version, does not exist, which is a sad omission. While you can chat it up and compare scores with pals via OpenFient’s superb interface, not having a competitive or cooperative mode does limit the replay value.
We don’t want to be too harsh on a game that offers plentiful block-dropping goodness, but the comparisons to Lumines, a game that is ultimately better, are inevitable. The current $0.99 price tag (soon to go up to $1.99) goes a long way towards making this a worthy purchase, especially if you are tired of lugging your PSP around, but as a clone, it comes up short in a few key places. If future additions include some of these elements, we will happily revisit the game and offer our two cents. But until then, Blocks2 falls short of our highest rating.