Ever since the days of Rez, Tetsuya Mizuguchi has always wanted you to not just play his games, but feel them, too. Should I have expected Lumines Remastered on Switch to be any different? Should I not have assumed I’d be taking my shoes off and putting Joy-Cons on my feet?
Mizuguchi and rumble packs are like peas and carrots. There was the notorious Trance Vibrator for the PlayStation 2, for example. When Rez came back on Xbox 360 a few years later, the game let you use three extra Xbox controllers as body-vibrating devices, to add that extra sense of feeling the music. And then there was the apex of the whole thing: that time that Mizuguchi stuck me into a massive full-body vibro-suit to play Rez in VR.
So when I sat down to play Mizuguchi’s new version of his classic 2005 musical puzzle game at a Nintendo Switch event this week, of course I was told to start putting on the latest rumble equipment. You can connect up to six Joy-Cons to use exclusively as force feedback devices, and then put them... anywhere.
First, a representative of Mizuguchi’s company Enhance Games handed me an off-the-shelf fitness belt, meant to hold your iPhone and cash while you’re running, but now full of Joy-Cons. I awkwardly tried to step into it, which nearly resulted in me tipping sideways into the TV screen and sending about a dozen indie game demo stations crashing over like dominoes. Fortunately I was able to hold myself up.
Then, on the advice of the rep, I put a pair into the pockets of my hoodie, and a third pair on the couch under my legs near my kneepits. (What. What do you call them.) The results were... adequate. I mean, the Joy-Con rumble may be precise enough to tell you how many imaginary ice cubes are inside of them*, but powerful they’re not.
I finished up the demo (it’s Lumines), and said hi to Mizuguchi.
“Chris,” he said. “Did you try putting the Joy-Cons under your feet?”
No, I said.
“You’ve got to do it,” he said. “It’s really the best, really. It’s like getting a foot massage.”
.........Fiiiiine, I said, and kicked my shoes off.
“Nobody’s done this yet!” said the rep. “We even brought Ziplocs!” She produced a pair of snack-sized Ziplocs from behind the couch and put the Joy-Cons inside of them so that I would not ruin them with my gross feet.
I started up another game of Lumines, which I was actually kind of thankful for as I had completely forgotten how to play in the intervening 13 years since the PSP launch and wanted to do slightly better at it.
The result was... you know, it pains me to admit it because of how ridiculous it was, but yes, Mizuguchi was right—you can feel the vibrations a lot better when they’re in the arch of your foot. I don’t know if I’d go so far as “foot massage,” but it has something of the sensation of feeling the music through the floor of a dance hall.
Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, if you get Lumines Remastered, maybe try this. Just don’t do it on an airplane if you’re sitting next to me.