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Exploring our human senses

by Brian Ashcraft

Contributing Writer

A blockbusting return

“Lumines: Puzzle Fusion” was originally released on the PlayStation Portable in 2004 and was acclaimed by fans and critics for its block-clearing gameplay, simple yet cool graphics and pulsating techno beats. Though already great, next month, it’s getting remastered.

Because the original game was for PSP, it didn’t have any haptic feedback. This new version does and it takes advantage of the rumble controls of the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC. The addition makes the game more tactile than ever, with its different settings allowing you to set vibration to the rhythm of the music and the falling blocks, or just the blocks.

“Lumines” was created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who made the iconic Sega rhythm game “Space Channel 5,” featuring Michael Jackson, and the revolutionary rhythm rail-shooting game “Rez.” He also produced his games’ music and has an interest in synesthesia. His games attempt to bridge sensory gaps, and “Lumines Remastered,” with its mix of light, music and sound, now adds a sense of touch for a new sensory spin on this modern-day classic. If you are not familiar with Mizuguchi’s work, it’s a good place to start.

“Lumines Remastered” will be released on June 26, priced at ¥1,944 for all versions. luminesremastered.com

It’s only human nature

One of the biggest PlayStation 4 exclusives this month is also one of its most unusual. Set in the year 2038, “Detroit: Become Human” follows the lives of three androids: Connor, who deals with rogue androids; Markus, who frees androids from serving humans; and Kara, who escaped her android factory.

David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere of French developer Quantic Dream are the force behind the game. Their other creations, PlayStation exclusives “Heavy Rain” and “Beyond: Two Souls,” were stylized, cinematic experiences that pushed gaming’s traditional boundaries, and “Detroit: Become Human” follows suit. The emphasis of the gameplay isn’t running or shooting, but on asking and answering questions that affect the storyline. That may sound easy, but players only have seconds to respond — and what they say can change everything. The game also allows players to explore the environs of a futuristic Detroit, analyzing and reconstructing events, while grappling with existential questions like what it means to be human.

“Detroit: Become Human” is undoubtably one of the most unconventional games to hit the PS4. The Japanese retail and digital versions are both priced at ¥7,452.

bit.ly/becomehuman-ja (Japanese version) bit.ly/becomehuman-en (English version)

Beating the monsters

The PixelJunk brand was designed by Kyoto-based Q-Games Ltd., an indie studio founded by Dylan Cuthbert, who first gained fame as the programmer of “Star Fox” in 1993. His studio has churned out a slew of interesting games for Sony, Nintendo and more, with “PixelJunk Monsters 2,” the followup to the 2007 hit of the same name, being the latest addition to the studio’s impressive resume.

In this tower defense game, you play as Tikiman, who must protect his Tiki Hut and little Chibi friends by setting up cannon towers, crossbow towers and more. If that doesn’t work, Tikiman can also dropkick enemies or roll boulders on them. Besides unlockable areas, “PixelJunk Monsters 2” lets you customize your Tikiman by dressing him up in various Tiki masks and, unlike the previous game, it is in full 3D, so you can explore the terrain like never before and soak up some seriously beautiful graphics. It also now has a four-player online co-op mode and a local two-player co-op mode.

Priced at ¥1,500 for the PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC, “PixelJunk Monsters 2” runs at 60 frames per second on the PS4 and 30 frames per second on the Nintendo Switch.

www.spike-chunsoft.co.jp/pjm2/jp.html