Produced by innovative rhythm game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Space Channel 5, Rez), Lumines is an action puzzle that sets Tetris-style block-packing to the groove of music.
The game pieces are small blocks in two colors. Four-block squares -- usually containing blocks of both colors -- drop from the top of the screen, and the goal is to arrange them to create rectangular patterns of four or more blocks of the same color as the pieces pile up at the bottom of the screen. A "timeline" rhythmically sweeps left-to-right across the screen and clears away any color-matched rectangles, causing the remaining pieces to drop.
As in Tetris, if the pile of blocks stacks up to the top of the screen, the game ends. As the game progresses, pieces fall more quickly from the top of the screen, while the block-clearing "timeline" does not move any faster. This reduces the speed at which individual blocks can be removed from the playfield, but increases the possibilities for high-scoring, single-swipe combos. The PSP's Lumines supports two-player competition through a wireless connection.