, gameplay is very straightforward and easy to jump into. The basic concept is to match up like-colored blocks into squares and rectangles. As you match blocks, a line called the Time Line will scan across the screen and clear away any matches you've made. Every once in awhile special blocks will show up which, when cleared, will also remove all blocks of the same color that may be touching the cleared square. Since you are able to see the next three blocks in your queue, you can usually set up some really slick combos that can -- if you time it right -- clear out large sections of the screen (and net you some nice bonus points).
Lumines offers a few different play modes, adding even more replay value to an already addictive game. A bulk of the modes are built around the single-player experience, although a two-player option is also available for those who want to hook up with a friend (provided they have the game as well). Challenge is sort of the core game mode and is where you'll unlock most of the skins available in the game. It's also the longer of the available game modes since you're not timed. This mode is essentially an endless version where you keep clearing blocks as long as you can. Each time you hit a certain score, the background and music will change. The only problem I was able to find with this mode was that if you lose, you're forced to go all the way back to the beginning. I can see why the game works this way, but would have at least liked the option to start at a mid-point, maybe at every fifth skin. Not only would it make the game friendlier to the more casual puzzle gamer, but it gets frustrating to get really far only to have to shut the game down to do something else.
Single-Skin mode works similarly to Challenge. The difference here is that you can choose from one of your unlocked skins and stick with it until you decide to change it. Like Challenge, Single-Skin is not timed and can be played for as long as you can keep clearing blocks and doesn't come with Challenge mode's frustration factor if you have to stop playing. The trade off is that you're stuck with one skin, so you better make sure it's a good one.
Other single-player modes are also available for when you're not in the mood for a long game, or lacking in time. Time-attack also uses the same groundwork as Challenge and Single-Skin modes, only with a timer thrown in to really add some spice. The timer can be set to 60, 180, 300 or 600 second limits.
Rounding out the single-player modes is Puzzle, which is one of the more unique modes in the game since instead of trying to clear blocks, you're trying to build same-colored shapes. To further complicate things, you're also going up against a clock. This turned out to be my least favorite mode, even after I figured out what I was supposed to do (the instructions aren't the most informative).
Two-player VS. modes again use the same basic concept behind the game only with the twist that you're fighting for space to drop blocks. At the start of the match, the median is set directly in the middle of the playing field. Clearing blocks causes the median to drift towards your opponent, giving you more real estate to work with while your opponent has to deal with the now reduced playing field. Playing VS mode against the computer provides an additional way to unlock new skins.