Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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Game Controls Rating:
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Luxor Evolved tries its hardest to not be a match-3 game. There's a vector graphics theme, plenty of pyrotechnics, and even retro shooter elements, but at its heart, it's still a match-3 game.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Luxor series, as I was, the game uses similar mechanics as Puzzloop and its derivatives. Balls of a specific color roll around a track, and the player must shoot their own colored balls at the one rolling around the track. The key difference is that instead of firing from somewhere in the middle of the game board, players are situated at the bottom of the board. So, the game takes on some properties of a retro shooter.
The "Evolved" part of Luxor Evolved relates both to the colorful vector graphics, as well as the new elements that are introduced. There are powerups like fireballs, lightning bolts, and missiles that can take out multiple balls at a time.
The experience is very different from a traditional match-3 game, what with the Geometry Wars-esque neon aesthetic and the way that the crazy action elements come together to make it an overall more intense experience. I will certainly admit that I liked this more than most match-3 games. I try to stay away from the genre because of how saturated it is, and this wasn't a bad choice for the occasional match-3 game to remind me why match-3 games exist. The game's secret levels, homages to classic to classic arcade games, are incredibly fun additions to the game, and great callbacks to the games of old that inspired this one's retro homages.
However, match-3 is match-3, and there's only so much that can be done to dress it up. It's still the same basic mechanic from Puzzloop and Zuma, and a different firing location isn't going to automatically freshen it up to a point where it'll feel completely fresh and fun automatically. Sure, the "Evolved" elements make it just crazy enough to make it different, but it's still match-3. It still feels the same.
So, while this isn't a bad game, and I appreciate the work that went into the iOS version – the controls are a great fit for touchscreens, and hey, it's a universal app – it still feels like I've played this game before. Even if I really haven't.