The first half of the 2000s saw the release of two games that marked the height of designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s knack for audiovisual fusion. 2001’s Rez was an inventive shooter where your every action added to the intensifying techno soundtrack, while Lumines added a similar twist to Tetris-style block-matching and turned out to be one of the greatest puzzle games ever made.
2016 has been a weird year, but one of its better surprises is that it turned up new versions of both Rez and Lumines. Rez Infinite on PS4 is a flawless conversion that works wonderfully in VR, and Lumines: Puzzle & Music is about as good a mobile version as you could hope for considering the control constraints. And now the two are together at last, with the release of a Rez-themed downloadable content pack for Lumines: Puzzle & Music.
Stages in Lumines take the form of "skins;" the basic block-matching action doesn't change, but the music, graphics, and sound effects do. The Rez pack, then, essentially translates the Rez soundtrack into Lumines music alongside a themed visual treatment. The music progresses in a similar way to Rez's stages, and if you're familiar with that game you'll notice a lot of visual callbacks — the spinning boss from the “Creation The State of Art” stage forms an undulating backdrop toward the end of the equivalent Lumines skin, for example.
Unsurprisingly, this works pretty excellently. Lumines is a looser game than Rez in that it doesn't time your actions to the music — it's possible to, and indeed difficult not to, trigger off-beat sounds, whereas Rez makes everything sound like a cohesive piece of music. But the sounds and visuals are still a perfect fit for Lumines, and it's a great way to listen to Rez's thumping soundtrack on the go.
Lumines: Puzzle & Music’s price has just been reduced to $0.99, and the Rez pack is out today for $4.99. It's highly recommended — just don't forget your headphones.