Once upon a time I had a life. Then came Luxor.
It was inevitable that I would find one game that was really enjoyable amongst the many that are available on the internet and whilst many left me cold, Luxor caught hold of my imagination, made me work hard to achieve and after four months of hard sweat, I actually finished the last level. I loved the game and wanted to find another game similar to enjoy for the next four months. I tried several downloads, one was a version of Luxor that involves little beasts and bubbles, though it was a bit prissy and babyish. Its name should have given it away, and it was called Butterfly Escape. I used up the demonstration free period and grimaced at the thought of playing this as opposed to traditional Luxor. I did pay for the game, but must admit that it suits younger people better than it suits me. What I didn't like was the gimmicky bits with cannon balls and guns, as I didn't feel it was necessary and instead of enhancing the game, actually made it irritating, though kids seem to love it.
For the grown up in me, I needed another Luxor type game and my search took me all over the internet until I found one version where the makers had been too clever, introduced backgrounds that distracted the player, and had really taken the gameplay out of the game by being so visually impossible for concentration.
Then I found Luxor Amun Rising and knew I was onto a winner. Downloading it from Reflexive.com and playing the first few levels as a free demonstration, I was very impressed that the original Luxor format had been retained, whilst the puzzles were different and had no doubt that this was the game for me. Downloading takes a matter of minutes on a high speed connection and you get an hour of playing the game before being asked to pay.
What the game is all about.
The idea of the game is that you shoot balls of different colours into a chain of balls that snakes around the screen, the purpose of which is to match three balls or more of similar colour in order to eliminate them. Sounds easy doesn't it, although there is a certain amount of skill in doing it in order to gain the most points. You must of course eliminate the chain before it reaches the other end because once it does, you lose a life and have to start that level again.
Layout and graphics.
The layout and graphics of the game are superb. This time, they got the right mix in comparison with other games like the ones outlined above. The trouble is when you introduce too much in the way of special effect backgrounds, what you tend to do is take away enjoyment of the game. People like me want to play and not be side tracked by too much going on in the background. It really makes the game hard to play, rather than requiring skill to play. The layout of this game is superb, and much like the original Luxor game, where you are presented with a map, and at each stage of the game go one step further towards your goal.
Unlike the first Luxor game, I found that the early levels were much easier than those I had played on the original game, although perhaps it was my skill that had improved. There are all manner of bonuses to be gained during the gameplay, in the form of coins that drop from the play area and are caught to secure more lives, and little bonus items like gems at the end of each chain of balls that you finish, and large ovals that give you special powers such as exploding areas of the chains as they descend. I liked the fact that you get three choices with this game and can chose three different levels at which to play being Beginner, Intermediate and Expert, which means that it caters for all different levels of players.
The loading of next levels is very neat and the colourful balls easy on the eyes and ressemble the kind of baubles one would put on a Christmas tree. Also I like the fact that once you have achieved a level, you never need go back to it. When you load the game with your user name on it, you simply start where you left off. It's a single person game, although the manner in which you can play against an opponent is to each have your own user name and see who gets furthest the quickest. I am competing with a friend in Toulouse and am ahead by two levels.
How does it compare to the original Luxor.
I found the levels easier to get through until I got to about level 8. There are over 88 new levels on this game and I was surprised that they had not introduced harder stages from level 5 as they had in the original game. When I got to level 8, it was more of a shock because I wasn't prepared for the difficulty I was about to experience. I love it, and it compares favourably with the other game and would suit those players that have already tried Luxor original, as well as those looking for a personal challenge. The game does challenge your reactions, and certainly makes your mouse work hard at getting the right combinations. Right click to change the colour of the ball that you are about to fire and left click to fire. Believe me, after a few hours of this, you really do feel hand strain, although it's a super addictive game and one that keeps me out of mischief for hours. I think that it would suit any age level that is capable of using a mouse and that even young children could easily master the Beginner levels. Something new that they have introduced is called a scorpion power up and if you catch the ball with the scorpion in it, it actually wipes out a lot of the balls on the play board and makes your achievement of the level quicker. I quite like this added feature, and unlike with other versions that copied the pattern of Luxor games, the backdrops to the games are static ones and do not invade the screen with distractions.
I don't like the sounds that you get with the game, and am glad that a player has the option of turning them off. The music is dismal and sounds rather like an indians warcry, which I can't somehow put together with an Egyptian theme.
Payment is very easy through the screen provided from the Pay Now button on the game, and all major credit cards are accepted, and you receive a confimation email with your game code. Incidentally, if you change your computer as I have, Reflexive will send you a new key so you need never have to worry about the changeover. I did this and their response was instant.
It's a smashing game. I love it. Level 8 awaits, and certainly will keep me going for the next couple of nights at least. What I like about the overall game is its lasting enjoyment, and here, where other games fail to keep me amused, this one doesn't, and gives me scope to enjoy it for at least three months worth of play which to my mind is darned good value at just over twelve pounds.
Comparing it with other games on the same site, what I found was whilst some had fancy graphics that had obviously taken clever work, what they lacked was playability. You got bored in no time, and wondered what on earth you were doing playing a game so simple. For example, the new Paris 3D Panoramic game was beautiful to look at but the gameplay was so babyish that it actually made you feel stupid playing it.
This one holds the interest, and is certainly worth playing. Another nice feature is that you can play one level or even half a level when you have a few minutes, and simply return to the menu and save the game at any stage, starting again on the very same place any time you want to, so it means that you can use the game to fit your day, rather than having to restart all over again.
OS: Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 98SE Memory: 128 MB DirectX: 7.0 Sound: DirectX compatible Sound Card CPU: P2 300
The game takes up 19.9Mo of space on your hard drive which isn't bad at all.
I recommend this one, I really do.