The running joke back in 2005 when the PSP came out went something like this: "you've bought the most powerful video game console ever created, and you're playing a 2D Tetris rip-off?!" Yet Q Entertainment's Lumines was the perfect fit for a platform that Sony envisaged as a 21st century Walkman, mixing hypnotic music with stylish widescreen visuals. It helped that the game's minimalist two-color system and looping structure made it destructively addictive. Over a decade on, I still keep a PSP around with Lumines jammed in the UMD drive.
The franchise lost its way a bit with a bunch of forgettable spinoffs, but Lumines is returning this year with a pair of mobile games. The temporarily titled Lumines 2016 will be out for iOS and Android this summer; publisher Mobcast says the release will be worldwide, and it'll be a paid app. A free-to-play game provisionally called Lumines VS is set to follow in winter.
Paid version first, free-to-play later
Lumines 2016 is being developed in collaboration with original producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi's new studio, Enhance Games. A previous iPhone version called Lumines Touch Fusion actually came out in 2009, but it wasn't well-received. From the single screenshot Mobcast has provided, it at least looks like Lumines 2016 is being developed with more consideration for the mobile platform — the play field is now a square, rather than a rectangle, which should make the game easier to play with the phone in portrait mode.
Now, if Mobcast and Enhance can bring back "Shinin'" by Mondo Grosso and get rid of the maddening random block introduced in otherwise-excellent Vita entry Lumines Electronic Symphony, we might be getting somewhere.