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Luxor 2

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: MumboJumbo
Developer: MumboJumbo
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Arcade/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Luxor 2 is a casual game whose imagery, music and overall theme is steeped in all things Egyptian. The level names and designs all have Egyptian themes and are quite intricately designed. The backgrounds are rich with detail and life, and special care seems to have been given to every facet of Luxor 2. Birds will be flying about and water flows; little touches everywhere that make the game world seem very alive. Even the little gems and trinkets that rain down on your paddle in the form of powerups and goodies are highly detailed and quite beautiful to look at, although with the frenetic pacing of Luxor 2, I doubt you'll have much time to linger on the surroundings.

The background music is a delight and helps to immerse you into the game. It sounds like a cross between Egyptian-styled music and Harry Potter: Middle Eastern with a mystical flair. Sound effects are appropriately clinky when money and gem powerups fall, and there's a nice, satisfying pop when you explode a ball. When you shoot a ball into a place that is, shall we say, less than optimal, a sound much like breaking glass resounds - the game's aural way of saying you screwed up. All around, the game gets outstanding points in the department of graphics and sound.


Having never played the original Luxor, I can't draw comparisons between that and the sequel, Luxor 2. However, I am a long time fan of Zuma and since the two games are very similar, I can compare them. Luxor 2 places you in the role of an ornate paddle AKA winged scarab with balls of different color that you can shoot towards a rapidly snaking row of more of these different colored balls, being pushed forward by a tireless little bug towards a temple. Basically, you shoot the correct color ball into two or more of the same color and these disappear. The goal is to destroy all of the balls prior to the bug guy reaching the temple's door. To help you along the way are numerous powerups that fall down as you destroy more balls. They may stop or slow down the progress of the line, or even reverse it altogether. A lightning strike may take out an entire group of balls or a color cloud may turn a whole area the color of the ball you shoot. The Wild Ball, accompanied by a feral sounding eagle screech, will act as a wild card to eliminate 2 matching balls. Sometimes you'll get Pharoah's daggers, which are great as they destroy any single ball they touch.

Now, with all of these powerups that drop down upon you, you might think it's pretty easy to bust on through Luxor 2. Well, it's anything but. The speed at which these rows of balls come at you is much faster than Zuma, although the gameplay is much the same. Sometimes the relentless rows of balls will come out from either side, tag teaming you. And with 88 new levels to burn your way through, this game will take quite a few lunch breaks to complete.

You can opt to play on Practice to beef up your skill on a specific level, Survival if you want to torture yourself on the same level with endless rows of balls encroaching, or Adventure mode, which is the meat of the game. Here, you'll advance through level after level of well designed torture chambers of stress. It's a beautiful thing, actually. As you progress, your "rank" changes. I think I am up to Sower of Seed or something like that, all the way from a lowly Farm Hand. Methinks the rank of Pharoah is a long way off...

With every group of levels that you defeat, you are given an opportunity to play a Bonus Round for extra points. There are 13 in all. Here, you'll have daggers to take out the balls, so no matching is required, although fancy shooting can earn you extra points and a quicker clearing of the row. Take them all out and earn an extra 15,000 points.

Especially if you use this casual game as a diversion for a lunchbreak, the gameplay will last you for quite some time. The downside is that it defaults to taking up the entire screen. The upside is you can pause and save your game at any time, so no need to worry about losing your progress.


There are 4 difficulty levels, but even on the most basic level, this game is no cakewalk. Levels are well thought out and will keep you quite busy for a while. I am not saying the game is frustrating by any means, mind you. The level of difficulty is just perfect and will keep you coming back for more. I play Luxor 2 every day at lunch time and will continue to log many hours of play once this review is completed. It's just good fun. But don't fire this one up if you want to relax because it's the furthest thing from it. Rather, play it if you want to get keyed up, because Luxor 2 keeps you forever on your toes.

Game Mechanics:

Luxor 2's controls are very simple. Using the mouse, you move your paddle back and forth a la old school Breakout or Zuma, firing colored balls at the ever-advancing row of more colored balls. Get them all eliminated before they reach the temple of doom, as I call it. Don't get cocky just because you cleared that row, because there are many more coming right behind it in rapid succession. Fortunately, a handy pause feature is located in the Main Menu if you need a breather. There is also a progress bar to let you know when you are reaching the end of the barrage of balls, just in case you need that info to encourage you to hold on for just a few more seconds. And believe me, it will happen at some point.

Luxor 2 is an excellent choice if you are looking for a fun and challenging casual game with outrageously good production value, and all for the value price of around $20. If you are still unsure, go try it yourself since MumboJumbo offers a free online demo. Keep in mind, however, that what you experience online is not nearly as good as the one you will download since, at least in my personal experience, I got a little bit of lag which killed the fast-paced fun and screwed up some of my shots. However, the downloadable version is highly recommended.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

98SE/ME/2000/XP, Pentium II 700MHz, 128MB RAM, 25MB free HD space, DirectX 7 (DirectX 8.1 or higher and 32 MB of video memory needed for Hardware, DirectSound-compatible sound card

Test System:

Windows XP, Pentium 4 1.80 Ghz, 480 MB Ram, Integrated sound (SiS 7012) and video.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Tony Hawk\'s Project 8 Microsoft Xbox 360 Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated