This is great fun, but oh blimey I suck at this game.
I remember playing Zuma on my clickwheel iPod Nano, and thinking that I am doing well. Then I saw my wife playing the same game in a browser window, and I had to realize how much I sucked. The fact that I am slow, and my colour matching abilities under stress is on the same level as an old blind mutt hasn’t stopped me. Nope, whenever a new match orbs going across paths kind of game has emerged I have been the first to crave it. And then I have yet again had to realize how much I suck at it. To overcome this obvious hump of pain in my enjoyment the subject matter has been really important. Luxor, and Zuma with their colourful takes on mythical mysteries have failed to grab me for long, and the only game that I have managed to play till the very end is Blackbeard’s Assault set in a pirate theme. So why the heck did I volunteer to review another Luxor game?
For one the word Evolved is truly important to me. Actually it is the main theme of my personal letter when I go job hunting. It is also the word I associate with Halo…Combat Evolved. Finally it is the word associated with one of my top five all time favourites for iOS: Space Invaders – Infinity Gene where the game is all about evolution. There you go game developers, now you know what tickles my senses.
Space Invaders – Infinity Gene took the classic Space Invaders, and turned it into something awesome and new. MumboJumbo plays it a bit safer with Luxor Evolved, and keeps the gameplay close to the original. The evolved aspect is initially more cosmetically, as the game looks cool with retro graphics and flashing effects. Some levels pay tribute to classics like Asteroids, Pacman and more modern classic Geometry Wars. Bonus levels lets you get rid of the paths, and you get a bit of shoot ‘em up antics.
With more than 60 levels, and 20 power ups the game keeps feeling fresh. For me it doesn’t even matter that I suck at it, as it is a feast for my senses. The thumping retro chiptune soundtrack, whopping sound effects and graphical explosions keep my synapses in party mode. The fact that you also get to upgrade your orb-flinger makes it even more interesting to complete levels. The game is also really good at awarding combos, and huge matches.
There is however something that could be improved quite a bit, and that is one of the key elements to the game: the controls. All controls are touch based, and you can change some setting such as how you fire. You either release your finger to let an orb go, or tap on the shooter to let it go. I can’t get complete precision in either of those, and would really like a separate fire button to ensure that I don’t misfire. Furthermore the movement sliding the finger across the iPad feels slow, and it controls better on the smaller iPhone screen.
Luxor Evolved HD is not a huge leap from the ordinary Luxor game, but it is definitely one of the best versions of the orb matching formula. If you want a feast for the senses, and a game that can rival Geometry Wars in exploding vectors this is definitely worth getting. And to those who actually don’t suck at this kind of game you can battle it out on the Game Center leaderboards. I can be found just above blind Willie the drunkard, and below Kato the Fruit Ninja slicing kitten.
Luxor Evolved HD $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod