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Luxor: The Wrath of Set (PSP) artwork

Luxor: The Wrath of Set (PSP) review

"In Luxor, you are a warmongering scarab out to destroy all the other scarabs before they can push a bunch of multi-coloured balls into a nearby pyramid. I guess these balls are bombs or something, because if even one makes it into the pyramid, YOU LOSE."

Desperately Seeking Nephthys

On the back of their new puzzle/shooter hybrid's box, fledgling publisher MumboJumbo makes a big deal out of the fact that Luxor: The Wrath of Set takes place in Egypt. As we all know, ancient Egypt was an extremely cool place to live... if you can look past the human sacrifice, slave labour, and tiny scorpions crawling into peoples' ears while they sleep.

Luxor: The Wrath of Set, which I will heretically refer to as Luxor from now on, is actually the third or fourth or maybe even fifth game in the series. (There are a lot of them.) If I had played the other episodes, which are also set in Egypt, I'd probably be getting pretty bleeping tired of sandy graphics and casual references to gods I've never met. Fortunately for MumboJumbo, I haven't played the others, so it all feels new to me.

In Luxor, you are a warmongering scarab out to destroy all the other scarabs before they can push a bunch of multi-coloured balls into a nearby pyramid. I guess these balls are bombs or something, because if even one makes it into the pyramid, YOU LOSE. Fortunately, the enemy beetles don't just skitter straight to their goal -- they tirelessly push their train-like chain of orbs along a sunken groove that winds across the screen. Each stage (there are over 100) features a different pattern for the evil ball-pushing scarabs to follow.

The game itself plays kind of like a bastard cross between Space Invaders and Puyo Puyo -- you can move left and right, and you shoot upwards to destroy the multi-coloured orbs. When all of them are destroyed, the enemy scarab dies. The trick is that you don't shoot bullets. You shoot balls at the... balls. Each shot you fire gets spliced into the train of doom. Careless attacks just make your job tougher (since the train gets longer), but if your shot creates a chain of three or more like-coloured orbs, then that section of the train dissolves. This often reveals valuable treasures or flashy power-up icons.

My favorite power-up is a giant scorpion that runs along the groove like a bat out of hell and eats a bunch of the balls.

If that description's clear, great. If not, then don't sweat the details. All I'm trying to get across is that Luxor is both fresh and thought-provoking. Even without the quaint setting or robust music, it'd be fun simply because of the concept. Fan-made games, doujin games, homebrew games -- whatever you want to call them -- often live or die based on their concept. Luxor feels more like a fan-made game than a commercial release, but it's a damn good one.

I've never played anything quite like Luxor: The Wrath of Set, but now I can say I've played a fun dozen hours -- and I've still got more difficulty levels left to master. It's a long, challenging game that's perfectly suited to the PSP's wide screen. I'd call that worth buying.



zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (December 13, 2006)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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