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Puzzling Pleasures

Friday, May 12, 2006, 11:35AM EST

Puzzle games are great for on-the-go gaming, and the newest handheld platforms, Sony's PSP and Nintendo DS, are the perfect—and most popular—venue for the latest crop. Meanwhile, the nation's poker boom continues to fuel videogames, and simulation titles keep making new strides in creativity.

One of PSP's most popular titles is the Tetris-esque diversion Lumines. Developed by Q Entertainment, which in turn is helmed by the legendary Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Rez and Space Channel 5 fame, Lumines was hailed for its deep, addictive gameplay, hip presentation, and trippy soundtrack.

Now PSP owners can look forward to the fall release of Lumines 2, which adds battle modes and 3D backgrounds, as well as two-player gameplay locally and worldwide via the Internet. Players will also be able to modify level sequences, as well as enjoy a number of licensed songs and videos. And reversing the typical trend of a franchise moving from console to handheld, Lumines Plus (working title) is headed to PS2.

Q Entertainment's hip music and visuals will also serve as the backdrop for its PSP puzzle-shooter, Every Extend Extra (working title), in which players blast enemies while attempting to create chain reactions of explosive displays. Buena Vista Games will publish all three Q Entertainment titles.

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