Review: Luxor 2
Review: Luxor 2
One of the great things about the emerging market on phones is the rebirth of many old arcade and flash games in a new medium. Games like Pacman and Sonic were obviously going to be remade, but other games like Canabalt or Robot Unicorn Attack which started as free Flash games have suddenly become profitable, resulting in more and more independent game companies being formed in the industry.
But the part that I enjoy the most out of all this attention on the iOS market is game companies being able to take classic flash or arcade games and build upon them, creating new games which have a distinctly classic feel to them.
Luxor 2 (or to be more specific, the Luxor series in general) is one of those new games.
Inheriting a lot from classic arcade game Bubble Bobble by Taito, Luxor 2 is a casual puzzle game involving shooting “bubbles” of colour at a string of other “bubbles” aiming to make matches of 3 or more. Once colours are matched they disappear and the object is to destroy your entire string before it can complete a circuit of the level. While there have been many “bubble shooter” games which have been made, especially for phones, there are a number of reasons why Luxor stands head and shoulders above the rest.
The first clear sign is their distribution. The Luxor series has been reproduced on practically every system to date (Nintendo DS and Wii, Playstation 2 and PSP, PC and Xbox Arcade, Mac and iOS) which is an amazing amount of exposure for a casual-puzzle game. The remake for iOS (I’m playing on an Iphone 4) reflects the amount of systems which it has been modified for, the graphics were seamless and appropriate and really it was hard to tell it was a port as opposed to something designed for the system from the ground up.
Now this would be the point where I point out I usually avoid puzzle games and on paper this didn’t seem like my kind of game. But there is an addictive effortlessness to playing this game which transcends terms like “casual” or “G-Rated”. The Egyptian theme (Luxor is the name of a city in Egypt) works surprisingly well, giving the maps depth and they are rendered in great 3D which somehow doesn’t interfere with the often 2-dimensional activity of shooting the bubbles.
And then there are the power-ups. I completely wasn’t expecting weapon variety in a game where the primary antagonist is a string of coloured balls, but soon enough I was offered Knives, Fireballs, Lightning Storms and more. The variety of the weapons is only matched by the huge amount of maps created, with over 88 levels to play over the course of the game.
The down side? The price. A game company which offers a product with 3D graphics (especially when they are tastefully done) and a huge number of maps and pickups, especially when it’s a port, obviously needs some form of income and that comes across quite clearly in its $3.99 price tag. Now I’m not saying that 4 dollars is back-breaking, but when you are in a market where hugely successful games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja still manage to sell for $1.00 each – it can be hard to pay anything more than that.
If you do cough up the four bucks (and are into bubble shooters) you will be rewarded with a game which has clearly beaten the competition in what is quickly becoming a sub-genre of portable gaming.
If you don’t, well then I guess you will be rewarded by keeping your four dollars?