Luxor 2

Luxor 2

Luxor 2

Inexorable balls.

Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt. It's also one of those casual games available on the internet, that also mustered a release in the shops and on the PSP. Now it has a sequel that's available on Xbox Live. Having played through it though, it's difficult to see why somebody thought such a sequel would be necessary. It's even more difficult to see why someone thought such a sequel would be suited to Xbox Live (except for the fact that the associated fanfare when it went up would shift a few more micropayments). Luxor 2's natural habitat is the office, tucked away in a window that can be handily alt-tabbed away when a colleague strays too close. It might be perfect for soaking up the hours in the office, but devoting your free time to it just feels wrong.

It's basically the same game as the original Luxor, which was the same game as Zuma, which was the same game as Puzz Loop, which means it's a bit like Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble but different. You shoot coloured balls at a snaking line of other coloured balls in order to make those coloured balls disappear before they go too far. Firing off a coloured ball to make a cluster of three or more coloured balls will make those coloured balls disappear, and as they disappear they might create a chain effect of other clusters of disappearing coloured balls - a 'combo', if you will. Linking together combos produces various sorts of power-up, which variously freeze or slow the advance of the coloured balls, or randomly destroy some of them. And occasionally some treasure will fall down the screen to grant you more points or extra lives.

The main difference between this and Zuma is that the shooting thingie (or 'mystical winged scarab' as the press release puts it) whizzes along the bottom of the screen instead of rotating in the middle. Annoyingly, this means that whenever your Xbox decides to tell you that one of your friends has just joined you online, you can't see what coloured ball it is your thingie is firing. Equally annoyingly, pressing the Left Stick for too long will make your mystical winged scarab whizz too fast. And it's not always easy to interpret the game's backgrounds. The game's balls snake inexorably around various different maps, looping over and under various obstacles, but it's not always easy to tell what they're going to go under and what they're going to go over. Consequently, it's not always easy to tell where your coloured balls are going to end up when you fire them off.

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LUXOR 2 on XBLA tomorrow

Fire balls at chains. Again.

LUXOR 2 will be this week's addition to Xbox Live Arcade, so ready up your 800 Microsoft points if you fancy puzzling your way through the game's 88 levels and 13 bonus rounds when it goes live at 9am GMT tomorrow.