Luxor: Wrath of Set
Set unleashes his wrath, and while it's far from unholy, it does make for a good time...
Who the hell is this Set guy? And what did I do to piss him off in the first place? Eh, no matter. The point of the game isn't trying to dissolve a situation out of right and wrong - it's simply a matter of eliminating as many multi-colored balls as you can from the playfield. Luxor: The Wrath of Set is a variation of the hit puzzle game Zuma, but done in a different perspective.
See, with Zuma, players were put in the middle of a certain playfield, shooting colored balls out at a moving string of balls. Only when three or more are hit together can they be eliminated from the playfield. The player has to work quickly, though, as the balls move rapidly towards an end area. Once they reach this area, it's game over. Luxor works in a similar manner, but instead of placing the player at the center of the screen, it places them at the bottom.
This is both a good and bad change. It's a good one in the way that Mumbo Jumbo didn't rip off Zuma's formula completely, opting for a fresh perspective. But it's also kind of bad when players are trying to eliminate strings of these spheres and they're moving in a vertical pattern, making it literally impossible to hit the string you want. This costs you precious time and bonus points, with the only resolution being shooting the ball in your cannon away until a different color comes up.
The graphics and music are heavily influenced by the old-school Egyptian culture, and the game benefits greatly because of it. The music, while repetitive through most of the stages, is classy and well-done. As for the graphics, they by no means stretch any new bounds for puzzle gaming, but they're respectfully programmed just the same. Balls are easy to see, and each of the stages have cool little designs to them, like Egyptian gods and other relics scattered throughout each route.
If the game lacks in anything, it's extras. There is no story mode to speak of, not allowing you to take on Set in any way shape or form. So what's the point of advertising his Wrath if you never really get to see what it's all about? There are fun Survival and Time Attack modes that get harder and harder with each coming stage, but that's relatively about it. There are zero multiplayer options offered within the game, which is a real bummer. Something like Luxor looks set for fun multiplayer action. There's no interactive scoreboard either, meaning that the only way to challenge others is if they play on the exact same system as you.
Hey, what do you want for a $20 puzzle game for the PSP? A miracle? Lumines II simply can't be beat in this category, so all programmers have left to go on is to try something a little varied instead. Fortunately, Luxor: The Wrath of Set still works, even with its barebone efforts. The gameplay is addictive and worth going through many stages with, and the presentation has some surprising depth to it. Just don't expect an Egyptian tomb filled with extras and you'll feel right at home with this budget purchase. Hell, if Set would just calm his Wrath down and sit down for a few plays, he would too.
What's Hot: A nice alternative take on the puzzle game Zuma; ambient graphics and music draw you in; good price.
What's Not: The puzzle revamping isn't perfect; a severe lack of modes; zero multiplayer.