Luxor: The Wrath of Set review

  • Simple gameplay
  • Explosive power-ups
  • Losing hours of your life
  • Lack of variety
  • Price tag
  • Lack of variety

Although geographically-minded smarties may recognize the name Luxor as the site of many amazing ruins in Egypt - and gamblers or tourists know it's the black, pyramid-shaped casino in Las Vegas - causal game addicts are more familiar with Luxor as a downloadable, colored ball grouping PC game by MumboJumbo.

Making its handheld debut on the PSP, Luxor: The Wrath of Set is a rather simple game: you hurl colored orbs from scarab-shaped launchpad at the bottom of the screen, blasting them into a snaking line of balls that twists its way toward you. Creating clusters of three or more spheres of the same color will blast them away before they reach the pyramid at the end of the trail.

Fail, and Isis will be pissed and you’ll be forced to try again. Succeed and you'll collect coins, jewels and the approval of an Egyptian deity as you continue to the next level, where the balls will have a different path, more colors or a faster rate of descent.

By the way, yes: it's essentially the same as the Xbox 360/PC game Zuma, and as the DS game Magnetica, and probably also some other clones we don't remember. The only difference is that you're hucking balls straight up from the bottom of the screen instead of spitting them every which way from the center of it. We don't actually know which variation came first, but this one was apparently invented in ancient Egypt, so we reckon its chances are as good as those of any version.

Anyhow, power-up stones deliver the game's big twist by temporarily reversing or stopping the approaching spheres or by destroying a few with explosive fire, zappy lighting or a magical scarab with an extreme case of the munchies. Besides helping to clear the level, they also provide an occasional flashy punch to the game’s stoic hieroglyphs.

Given the basic visuals and similarity of many of the trails, it hardly seems there are 123 truly unique levels to play. But monotonous or not, we consistently lost hours at a time before we remembered to stop playing because the game is so annoyingly compelling. Apparently, we underestimated the sense of accomplishment one derives from eradicating a line of multicolored colored balls, just like it's impossible to quantify just why lining oddly-shaped blocks up in a row is probably the best game of all time.

Though Luxor is addictive, it ultimately lacks the oomph, variation and a multiplayer mode that would help to make it an all-around great game. Since its PC predecessors are available for $20 or less and it's not really substantive enough to be a stand-alone title, we can't really recommend it at full price. Either snatch it up the second it hits bargain bins or pray with us to the gaming gods that it be offered on every internet-enabled game system as a much less expensive downloadable game.

More Info

Release date: Nov 17 2006 - PSP (US)
Nov 17 2006 - PSP (UK)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Mumbo Jumbo
Developed by: Mumbo Jumbo
ESRB Rating:


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