Developer: Sillysoft Games
Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Re-use / Replay Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

There must be some kind of resurgence in Risk these days. Maybe it’s because the economy is in shambles and everyone, all at once, found the game in their storage closet, or maybe it’s the fact that Risk is the best board game ever (calm down Axis & Allies fans… your game is good too). I’d say that one out of every ten people I talk to theses days about apps asks me if there is something like Risk that they can play on their iPhone. The answer is “yes”, and the game is called Lux.

photo_24I first downloaded the lite version of the game, just to get my feet wet in the Lux universe. The map is the exact same as the Risk map. Unfortunately, the screen is too small to see the name of all the countries so you’ll have to boldly say “Kamchatka” when you take over the corresponding space… I know I do, it’s quite fun to say. The units work all attack the same way that you would think they should, and the card system works the same too. The lite version of Lux is exactly the same (there may be subtle differences, I don’t need a bunch of Risk die-hards hounding me) as the board game that you grew up to love. The problem with the game is that it is far too easy… just take over Australia or South America and the computer is hopeless to stop you. Looking for the ability to turn all the computer bots to hard, I splurged and picked up Lux DLX for $7.99. No, it isn’t cheap, but I needed my Risk fix.

The first noticeable difference in Lux DLX is the ability to change the map. Screaming “Kamchatka” is great and all, but there is something satisfying about taking over Texas. The U.S.A. map is set up so that you have to take over certain capitals to get bonus troops at the beginning of the turn, and these capitals are typically guarded in some way by natural barriers like the Rocky Mountains. There are so many maps to play in the game that I didn’t know what to do. The neatest thing is that there are tons of free, user downloadable maps that can be downloaded from within the game, such as WWII and the Land of Oz. All of the maps I tried work quite well except for the Texas map which takes up more space than the screen can handle, requiring you to scroll up and down a map to view all of the spaces.

photo16The nicest thing by far about Lux DLX is the difficulty settings of the individual bots. You can set a few on hard, a few on medium, and a few on easy if you would like, but I tend to prefer all hard. Don’t underestimate the computer either, because it will definitely win many a game. Unlike the lite version of Lux where I was undefeated even after trying to take over Asia right off the bat, Lux DLX consistently either beats me of makes my victory extremely difficult. If Lux lite wasn’t enough for you, this one definitely will be.

As much as I enjoy a good game of Lux, the game definitely has its flaws. For one, there are way too many sound and graphic options turned on at startup. The first game I played had explosions, character graphics, and sound effects which made the game so slow it almost wasn’t playable. I fixed this problem by turning off all of the settings, but the fact that the default settings are barely playable (and most are quite annoying) is a bit absurd. My other main problem is quite small, but sometimes really annoying. When you are transferring large amounts of troops from one place to another, you have to hold your finger down, which moves a bunch at a time. Obviously it is hard to move a bunch at a time accurately without some kind of counter, so why is there no slider for troop movement? There is also a problem during attacking when you want to keep rolling till you win. Again, you must hold your finger on the screen, but if you are not paying attention you may win the fight and move all of the troops in the same moment. Small gripes, I know, but all are very bothersome, fixable things.

Overall, I think that Lux DLX is a good game, but not quite great. As a basic Risk port, it succeeds quite well, so if Risk is what you need, get Lux DLX. There are flaws though, and these flaws detract from the game just enough to be bothersome. As for the price, I would say that it is a bit steep. I think that the same game at $4.99 or $5.99 would be deserving of a higher score, but I expect close to perfection at $7.99. Maybe we’re all spoiled with good, cheap games in the app store, but that’s just the way it is.

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