IGN Review of Luxor Quest for the Afterlife
Remember the days when you would spend your time playing games like Zuma or the original Luxor when you should have been doing work? Well, for better or worse, Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife, the latest installment in the Luxor series, is here to recreate that same-old formula for you. "Same-old," being the key phrase here.
The saying "If you've played one-match three game, you've played them all" comes to mind when playing Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife. However, to be fair, there are two general types of match-three games out there. If you've played the previous Luxor games then you would know that the gameplay mechanic here is more Zuma than Bejeweled. For the uninitiated, the goal in this game is to eliminate all of the colored marbles before they roll to the end of the level. You do this by shooting your own marbles to the corresponding colored marbles in the chain to make matches of three or more.
However, this is sometimes easier said than done because the levels in Luxor will have the marbles swerving in and out of snake-like positions. In this Luxor, your cursor/shooter is locked at the bottom of your screen. With mouse in hand, you can move your cursor on a horizontal plane.
One thing that Luxor allows you to do is switch between two marbles from your inventory via a right mouse click. This gives you some more tactical options. Additional maneuvers come in the way of power-ups. The game tosses out collectible power-ups for every third match you make in a row. Power-ups include speed shots, devastating fireballs, destructive laser blasts, and more.
While this installment of Luxor isn't a terribly original game, it does offer other modes that take a slight spin on the familiar gameplay. There is a battle mode which makes you race against an AI opponent to rack up the most points. There's also a fairly interesting mode that forces you to eliminate a string of marbles situated on the other end of a river, but the catch is there are other strings of marbles floating across the river which block your path. This mode would often feel unforgiving and random at times. While all of these other modes offer a fairly unique twist on the age-old gameplay, they are basically different variations on the "shoot stuff" mechanic.
While this game is for the most part solid, there are a couple of things that hurt the overall score. First of all, booting up the game takes way longer than it should. I would be more lenient if the game booted up graphics of Crysis-like proportions, but a 45-second initial load for a puzzle game's relatively static menu is pretty hard to forgive. However, that isn't the worst thing about Luxor. On my more-than-capable laptop, the game would constantly lock up on me; so much so that it simply became unplayable. I later got it up and running on a desktop computer, and while lock ups were rare, there were a couple of glitches that prevented me from progressing to the next level.
Visually, this game doesn't look much better than Luxor 3 before it. The game has an Egyptian aesthetic to it, and as a result, most of the colors are different shades of sand tones. While the game is 2D, Luxor does try to create the illusion of 3D by allowing some of the marbles to slip under rocky passageways and so forth. Making the marbles smaller to convey a sense of distance is also an appreciated touch.
On the auditory front, the music is quite sweeping. It's actually very reminiscent of Sony's God of War score. The story is narrated by a woman, and her voice acting is also quite serious and epic, especially when you consider what type of game you're playing. In addition, the sound effects are solid and things seem to clang and explode as they should.
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