Gamezone Review Rating

Despite how much the game industry has grown, many people still believe there’s always room for a little retro gaming. Someone who’s avidly into the Call of Duty series can easily break away and play Tempest for an hour or so and still feel the same “twitch shooting” rush that Activision’s series delivers. There’s just something about the “retro” style of gaming that never gets old. And somehow, MumboJumbo has been able to channel this into its long-running Luxor series, thus creating Luxor Evolved HD. And how Evolved it is.

The game continues to carry the same style of gameplay that has made Luxor work so well over the years — guide an on-screen cursor along the bottom of the screen and shoot marbles at a constantly moving field to eliminate three or more in chain attacks before they reach a “home” point. But the graphics and music have changed completely, fitting in with a style that’s very similar to the classic Geometry Wars games. Modeled balls and backdrops have been replaced by old-school vector effects, including neat little explosions that occur when you destroy balls; it creates 80’s style firework displays that will have you reeling back to the old days of Asteroids. You know, a simpler time.

The effect is quite mesmerizing, especially when you get into a heated stage where you have to shoot at multiple strings of marbles at once to eliminate them, and you successfully create a multi-combo chain that bumps up your score and causes everything to fizzle out beautifully. What’s more, the retro-style font in the menus and level introductions is also quite cool.

To match the crazy on-screen visuals, MumboJumbo has also made fine use of the soundtrack, with great 16-bit style beats (SNES processor, not Genesis) that keeps up with the action. The “pew” style explosions are excellent, and the other little effects will have you thinking old-school Missile Command style of set-up. It really is quite something.

The only downside is that your iPad/iPhone device needs to be running the new iOS 5 or better in order to keep the game from crashing. There were very mild performance issues with older devices, but do yourself a favor and make sure you update before you plunk down the cash for the game.

Luxor Evolved HD offers hours worth of gameplay, between the traditional levels and the new ones you can unlock, both bonus and secret. The more you play, the better your score gets, and the more power-ups you unlock, including powerful lightning bolts and fireballs that light up the screen. What’s more, you can also earn Achievements and compete with others through online leaderboards.

Normally selling for $6.99, Luxor Evolved HD is available for a bargain basement price of $.99. A buck! That’s well worth the price of admission for a game that’s so fittingly old-school, you’ll be looking for a coin slot on the side of your device. MumboJumbo has done something very cool here, and we can only hope it continues through downloadable add-ons and a possible sequel. Keep things Evolved, baby!

Tags: Luxor Evolved HD, MumboJumbo, iPad, iPhone 4S

By Robert Workman