Borrowing Zuma style gameplay, Luxor 2 uses the same marble shooting addictive qualities that make for a classy casual game.
Instead of being positioned at the center of the screen like in Zuma, the player controls a small pad at the bottom of the screen, shooting marbles northward at an incoming chain. Snaking around the stage, marbles are color coded and once three of the same colored balls are joined, they explode. The goal is to eliminate all the marbles before they reach the end of the stage. The game is simple, but very addictive. Before you know it, you will have wasted hours of the life without even realizing it.
The game is solely a single player event, offering a couple different modes of play. Players will probably start out with the main mode of play, the Adventure Mode; beat one level, move on to the next. When the game first boots up, it explains a tale of why there is an Egyptian theme. But this weak story line definitely will not be the main driving force to complete the Adventure mode. Players will play through this mode because it is fun, not for some lame ass story. In fact, a puzzle game like this doesn’t really need a story anyway, but the decent attempt to create an engrossing tale is respectable.
From time to time, artifacts and other Egyptian goodies will fly through the screen and if caught with the controllable paddle, bonus points are granted. This “catching” gameplay element almost makes the game feel one part Arknoid, one part Space Invaders, and one part Zuma. But this is a good thing. Since the paddle doubles as a way to catch goodies, the player might have to make a quick decision; do I go for the goodies and risk losing the level, or stay the course and blast away? This question will be asked frequently when playing the exclusive 360 single player mode, Pharaoh’s Challenge. In this mode, the player does not shoot marbles to make chains, but shoots Pharaoh’s Daggers, small knives that instantly destroy any marble that is hit. But this mode is more or less jamming on the button to the beat the stage. Yes, making combos should be considered, but as levels go by, the speed picks up causing the player to frantically destroy any marble that emerges from the spawn point.
One the biggest flaws with Luxor 2 is the difficulty factor. After playing this game for hours, I did not lose a single life. Now I like winning just as much as the next gamer, but what fun is it to constantly kick the game’s ass? The game always seems to give you the right marble just when you need it. This eliminates any sense of challenge, which is an unfortunate gameplay flaw. Luckily, the game features a decent balance of Achievements; some you can earn quickly, others will take time.
There is also one major annoyance with the graphics. The 3D objects on the 2D backgrounds do look rather nice and shiny supporting the Egyptian theme, but the border of the screen causes some tight breathing room. For whatever reason, the screen is bordered on the left and right side. Why this game wasn’t built to fit a full wide screen television is beyond me, especially since the 360 is capable of producing high end graphics. In fact, this border started to worry me because of the “burn in” factor. Since there is no way to get rid of these borders, I only let myself play this game for no more than an hour at a time due to fear of “burn in” on my high def TV. This caused my gaming sessions to end shorter than they should have been.
Even though Luxor 2 isn’t the most original concept, it is still entertaining and defines the term, casual game. If you liked Zuma, you will definitely love this title. However, I feel that the 800 Microsoft Point (about $10) fee might be a little steep. If this game was 400 Points ($5) then it would have highly recommended this game. But if you play the free demo, you will be able to clearly see what the whole title is about. This game is capable of sucking away hours of your life without you noticing, which is always a great sign of addictive and highly entertaining gameplay.