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Inside Mac Shareware - February
February 20, 2006 | Marcus Albers
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Lumox
One of my favorite gaming platforms, besides my beloved Mac, is my Sony PSP. The portable system is powerful and there is finally a good selection of quality games available for the system. One of the first games to come out for the system, though, was a puzzler by the name of Lumines. The game, with its trippy graphics and addictive gameplay, is probably one of the best games released for the system to this day.

Developer Laser Pirate Squad has released its answer to this superb game in the form of Lumox. The game, while not as polished as its PSP cousin, is a definite plus in the Macintosh game library.

The mechanics of the game, like many puzzlers, are deceptively simple. Create blocks of four or more like-colored cubes by rotating falling 4-by-4 blocks and landing them in the building pile at the bottom the screen. A sweeper line passes horizontally across the board at regular intervals, deleting all of the blocks of four or more cubes that it touches. As blocks disappear, the meter at the right of the screen will slowly fill. When it is full, you move up a level, and the sweeper starts coming across faster.

The challenge of this game comes in trying to set up your plays before the sweeper comes across, which is not always an easy thing. You can be in the middle of setting up a killer combo, only to have the sweeper come past and take out your key blocks before you can get the others set. Of course, you are also at the mercy of whatever combination of blocks the game decides to throw your way. You can often end up with a board that looks more like a checker board gone wrong than anything.

The graphics are simple, but nice. They are very clean and unobtrusive, yet they have the trippy feel of the original PSP game. The one complaint that I have about the graphics is the fact that there is no real feedback when your blocks disappear. If you look a a game like Tetris Cascade, there is a slight pause as the bricks disappear and the others fall into place. This gives you a visual cue as to what is going on. In Lumox, the bricks disappear and the others fall into place immediately, which can make it hard to tell just what happened if you are not concentrating. This is a minor quibble, and doesn't do too much to detract from the gameplay.

The sound is, well, nonexistent. Hopefully this will be coming in a future version of the game, as a good soundtrack can really add to a puzzler.

For $3, it's hard not to recommend this game. For its few shortcomings, the gameplay is addictive enough to keep you coming back for more.



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