If you were to put the original Egyptian marble-matching game, Luxor on a disc along with a copy of Geometry Wars then set that disc near a magnet for a few hours the resulting infusion would be Luxor Evolved. It only takes a glance at any screenshot to see the multi-color vector graphics similarities, but Luxor has “evolved” its gameplay as well, with a much more intense and frantic pacing that mirrors arcade games from the 80's.
The concept is the same as always – shoot your colored bar at the conga line of other colored balls snaking their way toward your temples to match three or more joining colors and explode them. You have a ball launcher at the bottom that you can move sideways (Space Invaders style) to fire your ball at the approaching snake; a target indicator will show you where the ball will merge into the existing line. Your ball launcher will also show you the next color up on deck allowing for a bit of pre-planning and strategy if you can think that fast. The truly "evolved" player will plan cascade matches where by removing one set of matched colors will trigger additional matched clusters.
Thankfully, Luxor Evolved introduces all-new power-ups like fireballs, lightning bolts, and missiles to help you get through this challenging new game design by destroying large sections of the snake. The resulting explosions will rain down items that you must steer to collect and boost your high scores. And with more than 60 levels, 20 power-ups, 3 super power-ups and plenty of secret levels to discover, Luxor Evolved will keep you addicted for quite some time.
The app is universal although I found it a bit difficult to play on the iPhone – you really need the extra screen size to play effectively and appreciate the explosion of colorful line art. The touch controls are surprisingly effective with a few options, and I really enjoyed the high-energy techno music and futuristic sound effects that fit the intensity of the game perfectly, especially in the boss battles. Luxor Evolved also supports Game Center so you can track your scores against your friends.
If you love match-3 puzzle games or are a fan of previous Luxor titles then you'll definitely want to check this out, although the $5 launch price is a bit salty – to me Luxor Evolved seems like a $3 game, so you may want to wait for a sale, but that’s your call. The action and graphics are blindingly intense and will leave you breathless at times. It's hard to put a price on that kind of classic entertainment.