Luxor Evolved HD
If you like your puzzle games to offer up pain and pleasure in equal measures, then you'll almost certainly have gorged yourself to death on the likes of Zuma already. A marble-firing match-three game, it both delights and distresses with its winding mazes that fill with snaking color chains, while you fire from the center to make match-threes and prevent the level from being overwhelmed.
Now Zuma wasn't the first of these games to come along (and it certainly won't be the last) but it's a combination of variety and visual splendor that has brought Luxor Evolved HD to our attention. Set across more than 60 levels, this vector-lined and retro-styled extravaganza mixes up the gameplay effortlessly to produce one of the finest games in the match-three genre.
Unlike games like Zuma, the craft from which you fire your randomly-colored charges can actually be moved from left to right, opening up even more opportunities to either a) brilliantly kick-start an epic chain of match-three combinations (rare) or b) screw up your plans even more by firing straight into the wrong pack of colors (frequent).
Luxor mixes up the gameplay tidily too, so rather than just working your way through increasingly complex mazes, certain sections will task you with surviving a massive onslaught, or even challenge you to take down a boss via well-timed potshots as you battle through the usual chaos. It's also a game that's not afraid to have some fun with itself, with special bonus missions which make a nod at classic arcade games such as Centipede.
There's variety to be had too in the upgrades that you earn across the campaign too. One such upgrade allows you to fire destructive shots at the snaking blocks, rendering the entire purpose of the usual gameplay rather redundant. Another helps to transform a chain of mixed-up colors into a single color, which is handy if you've had a bad round that's been composed of even worse targeting.
What we liked most of all about Luxor Evolved HD is that it takes the core mechanics of an existing subset of the match-three genre, and makes the gameplay a thing of joy that's entirely its own. The previous games in the series may have had their roots in tradition, but Evolved breaks free and charts its own new ground.
What's Hot: Great visuals and huge variety in the gameplay. Very addictive.
What's Not: The controls can be a little unwieldy, especially if moving and firing with different hands.