Luxor for iPhone full review

There is apparently no end to the number of games based on the concept of shooting marbles, moving marbles, or making marbles disappear. I spent a lot of time with Peggle, and liked it a lot. But MumboJumbo’s Luxor manages to stroke the same parts of my brain that Tetris does, creating a challenging (yet not overly frustrating) game that’s beautiful to look at and fun to play.

Luxor’s Egypt-themed premise is fairly simple. A scarab beetle slowly pushes a rack of marbles along a circuitous path that leads, ultimately, to a pyramid. At the bottom of the screen, you’ve got a winged marble shooter loaded up with a single coloured marble.

If you shoot a coloured marble into a chain of three or more like-coloured marbles, they’ll disappear. Do it enough, with enough speed or panache, and bonus coins and power-ups will fall down for you to catch in your shooter.

Once you eliminate all the balls in the rack, the scarab beetle departs… but another rack is close behind. Once you’ve exhausted all the scarabs on a level, you advance to the next level. But if a single marble makes it all the way to the pyramid, you’ve committed a “foul” and have to start over.

The levels start simple, but ratchet up in intensity. Initially each level contains four different marble colours, but as you advance, you’ll discover new colours adding even more complication. Sometimes two strands of marbles advance on you at once, making things that much more difficult. On particularly trickly levels, new strands appear at the bottom of the screen, obscuring older strands until you can clear away the new ones.

I was able to complete most of the levels in one or two tries, but a few of the levels bedeviled me, taking as many as five tries to get through. As a result, I always felt challenged but didn’t end up getting frustrated as I would have if I felt that I wasn’t making any progress.

NEXT: Good use of the iPhone’s interface

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