Luxor 2 is a game I picked up on my arcade compilation disc ($5 used) at my local game store. I was enticed mostly by Pac Man CE and Boom Boom Rocket, but in due time I did check out this game. I have to say my original opinion of the game has changed over time as I have slowly moved forward in the game modes trying to unlock the non-stackable achievements. Let’s get to it.
Considering there is no multiplayer in Luxor 2, this is where you will be spending all of your time. Luxor 2 is best described as a fast paced puzzle game. Colored balls come out of one hole on a side of the screen – your job is to destroy these colored balls before they reach the “end”. You can do this by matching up three balls of the same color, which is done by shooting from your scarab located at the bottom of the screen. Once a match is created the balls will explode, shortening the chain and adding to your score. You complete a level when you reach a certain score in the level, at which point the balls stop coming and you progress in the gameplay.
The game complicates your experience, or simplifies, depending on your perspective, by adding power-ups.
These are activated by destroying a couple of groups of balls in rapid succession, which causes an item to fall from that area. Catch it with your scarab and you have yourself a power-up. These range in effects, from having random lightning bolts destroy random balls, to backing up the whole line of balls that currently exists from the exit. The game also throws in a bonus point system activated by completing lines of balls and levels, which allows gems to fall from above.
Now while I understand that this isn’t the easiest thing to imagine in your mind, it’s not a complex concept whatsoever. But that doesn’t mean the gameplay is easy whatsoever. Now, as you start this game, no matter what difficulty, you might say, Tasty, you lied to me. To that I respond, “just wait”. This game is unnecessarily long – over seventy levels per “complete game”. I say complete game because there are three difficulties to play on, all of which you’ll need to play on if you want all the achievements. After that you unlock the Challenge of Horus, which is an exceptionally hard gameplay mode.
Here’s the thing: depending on how you feel about puzzle games really determines how much you’ll like this game.
There is no gray area here – you either like it or you don’t. I will admit, initially, I completed the first three levels or so and went “Meh, I’ll do something else now”, only to not go back to it for a year. It’s unbelievably stressful watching that line of balls slowly creep forward, and you might find yourself yelling at your tv to “give me the correct colored ball already!”. That being said, I have started to enjoy it more as I’ve been playing it, working on my completion percentage. I wouldn’t say it’s my go-to game when I power up my xbox, but I’ll play it once every two months or so. Of course, that doesn’t justify it whatsoever as an all-around excellent gaming experience. My score is going to lean towards what most people believe this game to be (from my experiences in chat and forums). If you’re one of the other people that truly enjoyed the puzzle style of this game, please focus more on the points I make instead of the score.
Single Player Score: 4/10
There is no multiplayer. While they could have made it into a “tetris” type battle (split screen), I think it would have been too small and cluttered to really be effective.
Multiplayer Score: N/A
Keeping in mind that the game is, indeed, an arcade game, I was still disappointed with many of these aspects. There is no DLC, which is fine, considering that there are already an excessive amount of levels to play, and that could be the only thing that comes to my mind that they could add. The graphics are…all right. The balls look like they should and often times you’ll find yourself on an ingeniously created level for the balls to travel across. Mostly you should focus on the fact that they made the levels capable of being beaten in their design, which is the most important part of the gameplay.
To be honest the sound is where I felt this game suffered the most. There is a really cheery elevator music type tune that will play when you aren’t in peril – that is, when the balls aren’t within X space of the “end” of the level. That being said, the balls are almost constantly at the end of the level, even when you’re good at the game. This turns on a “peril” type music that will have your heart beating a little faster. When you realize that each level (past the first couple sets) lasts somewhere between ten and twenty minutes, this can get unnecessarily stressful. I’ve grown accustomed to muting my television and turning on some music on my computer.
As I’ve said, this game is something you need to figure out if you’ll love or hate. Do you like puzzle games? Do you like puzzle games with time limits? Do you like puzzle games that have time limits that are excessively long? While it might appear that I’m spinning this negatively, there is something to be said for the game – it’s challenging. It’s so challenging that there is some real reward when you beat each level, to the point that I’ve often found myself grinning. This reward has gotten so large that I’ve actually grown to kind of like the game, when I have the patience and mindset to play it. Let me make that clear: this is not a game you should play when you have a headache. It is a game for when you are in a good mood, looking for a challenge.
DLC/Graphics/Sound/Intangibles Score: (N/a+4+1+5)/3 = 3.3/10
This is where most people will be interested, since this game has exceptional ratios. There are three specific achievements for beating the game on each of the difficulties – easy, normal, and expert. They don’t stack, which is a rather big deal. As of writing this I have beaten the game on easy and am three fourths of the way through medium, which is around fifteen hours of gameplay. And don’t think just cause it’s titled “easy” that it is indeed, easy. You’ll have to manipulate the game’s save system if you want to be able to beat this game, which is annoying in itself. You will be rewarded with ridiculous ratios for beating these, including one around twelve for beating the game on hard.
Beating the game on the expert difficulty will unlock you the challenge of Horus, which is kind of like an extra expert mode, which has an achievement related to it as well. There is also a very time consuming achievement that requires you to reach a certain rank, which is triggered by gaining so many points, which can be obtained by falling objects in levels.
There are also some more obvious achievements that you’ll trigger right away (complete a level with 100% accuracy, match 12 or more spheres with a single shot, collect 15 or more coins in a single level). As of writing this, here are the top ratios in this game:
12.59, 12.66, 11.11, 10.19, 6.14, 5.11. That’s a ridiculous amount of hard achievements. Are they doable? Yes. Are they time consuming? Yes. Do they require you to at least mildly like the game? Yes. Figure out if you can deal with that. Personally I think the game is just plain too long for the achievements they chose, making the game even more painfully long. I wouldn’t be surprised if 100%ing this game took you around fifty hours plus. However, the achievements do follow the one thing I described before – feeling like a real accomplishment. These achievements are true achievements – you don’t feel like they were given to you.
Another minor thing that doesn't bother me personally, but I know it bothers a lot of people, is that the achievements have odd values. Think like 17 achievement points. This means that your score wont end in a 0 or a 5.
Achievement Score: 5/10
Final Score: (5+3.3+4)/3 = 4.27/10 = 2.13/5
This game is stressful, long, and demanding. But if you’re capable of grinding through it you’ll feel nothing but pride and joy in your success. This game isn’t for a person looking for their first puzzle game, or the completion percentage junkie. This is the game for someone with extreme patience who also finds joy in a challenge. Thanks for reading my review!