Developer: MumboJumbo
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m not sure if Luxor is a new concept to anyone at this point, having been downloaded as many as half a billion times this decade in some way, shape, or form. Type in a search for Luxor, and you’ll probably be playing some version of it within 10 minutes. Well folks, Luxor just recently jumped into the app store and is just starting to make a splash.

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For those of you who have no idea what Luxor is, it’s what I would call a match-3 marble shooter. Each level presents you with a winding pathway for the marbles to take, and it is up to you and your Breakout looking marble shooting platform, controlled with either your finger or by tilting your iDevice, to take out these long strings of marbles. The marbles come out relatively quickly and because of the curves, some marble sections get blocked, so you must work with some diligence. The game, much like any puzzle game in existence, gets progressively harder as you go, allowing you to rack up higher and higher scores, determined by how many fancy trinkets you gather.

The way the scoring works, or I suppose the game altogether works, is that you try to eliminate color coded strings of marbles by shooting your colored marbles at a string. Just like any match-3 game, you try to make combos out of the color strings, and these combos give you big scores and trinkets. Some trinkets are coins which can give you extra lives, some trinkets give you things such as fire ball which destroy big marble chunks, and some trinkets give you more points.

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Since the whole game is single player, the campaign is where the meat (all) of the game is. In the game, there are a seemingly endless number of levels, all of which are just a bit different, and a bit harder, than the last. Besides having the satisfaction of beating the game, the only other reason for playing past the beginning stages is to get a high score. The high scores are easily posted on Facebook and Twitter from within the game, but the best way is to use the ngomco Plus+ network. Luxor is one of the first non-developer exclusive game to use another scoring network as their own, something which will hopefully catch on as the app store evolves. The problem with Luxor’s scoring is that it is seemingly arbitrary. 148 points here and 1982 bonus points there and I’m working my way up to kmacleod’s ridiculous high score of 29695850. I have no idea what that score means, or what it takes to get that high of a score, so to me the high score system is pretty useless. Unless the score is something that I can grasp, like a Flight Control planes landed total, I just become uninterested. I’m sure someone out there is hell-bent on beating kmacleod though… I say good luck.

To me, because the scoring system is so absurd, I really can’t see myself playing the game longer than it takes me to beat. Fortunately, the game has 88 levels, which will probably take a few hours to beat… hopefully not all in one sitting. The levels really aren’t all that difficult, but there is a good amount of stuff happening on the screen to keep you sucked in. I sat in bed last night until 1:30 AM playing, thinking that I would be asleep at midnight. If a tired Chris (me… yeah, I speak in 3rd person) can play a game for close to 2 hours, it must have something going for it.

To recap, or maybe just to better explain myself, I don’t think that Luxor is a bad game at all, I just don’t think it’s amazing. The scoring system is just so out of whack that I can’t really get a gauge on where I stand from level to level. If there was some wifi multiplayer, maybe I could get some satisfaction out of beating my friends, but as it stands now, kmacleod might as well be Mt. Everest. Maybe if I quit writing for 148apps and play Luxor full-time I’d have a chance, but I doubt it. To put things in perspective though, the game only costs $0.99, and for less than a dollar, there really aren’t too many better experiences out there.

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