Figgie | Added on: October 19, 2009
This is a beautiful game, with three game modes to offer a long playing time or a quick break. If you like the look and feel of Egyptian artifacts, this would be a fine Mahjong game to add to your set. I appreciated the unusual aging of the tiles. The tile sets in Luxor Mahjong have the look of ancient, well-worn tiles. They look like they are made out of papyrus or clay. The designs are based on Egyptian symbols. NOTE: It was difficult to see the depths of the layers, so it was hard to make matches without making some mistakes. (The shadows on the edges are not pronounced enough, except on the lower end.) The backgrounds were beautiful Egyptian artifacts, locations, or Egyptian-style drawings, which changed frequently enough to add interest to the game. These lent a nice feeling of connection between the tiles and the background. I found the “Adventure Mode” to be direct, with a minimal storyline. With the completion of each tile layout, there was a wise saying to read (or not) before moving on to the next layout. Artifacts were being recovered as you passed through various levels, but almost nothing was said about the artifacts and I don’t think they were real items. A timeline showed the player moving forward through Egyptian dynasties. As a player advances to higher levels, their job title and function also changes. The storyline is minimal, but consistent. This plain, barebones storyline is fine if your main goal is to play Mahjong and you appreciate the beautiful backgrounds. “Adventure Mode” is an unrealistic way to describe this relaxed game. It may sound good, but it’s not even close to being a true description of this part of the game. Adventure? I think not. If there is a sequel, please raise the bar on the storyline – BEFORE daring to name one of the three game modes: “Adventure Mode”. If you hope to learn more about the Egyptian dynasties, history, or artifacts, this is NOT the game for you. Some information and photos of genuine artifacts could easily be added in a side category – like a museum guide - for the interested player to click on and view, without interfering with game play. If the designers are going to go Egyptian, give the player more; it would add to the almost nonexistent storyline. Right now, there are gorgeous sets, but nothing happens on the stage. There are some unusual layouts, with a good variety: 200 in all. I appreciated the three difficultly levels; there’s a level here to suit almost anyone – from beginner to advanced. But this is not for younger children. Even on the beginner levels, there were too many tiles for a child (or adult) with a shorter attention span. If I could see the depth of the tile stacks more easily, I would like to give this game FIVE stars because it offers beautiful backgrounds, good layouts and the tiles have an ancient feel. The “ancient appearance” of the tiles leads to the biggest flaw in this game. The tops and sides of the tiles are very close in color – a soft golden, toast – so there is little to be seen of SHADOWS on the sides. And it is the shadows that give the player the biggest clues as to the depth of the piles. The contrast between the tops and sides could be easily changed by the designers of this game – without losing the ancient feel - if they ever make a sequel. It’s a very attractive looking game, but the shadows are a must, so a change is required. There are some shadows on the lower ends of the piles. I think the shadows need to be seen of TWO faces to make the depths obvious. This game needs two visual changes: 1. A bigger contrast between the color of tops and sides 2. Plus side shadows need to be seen from more than one direction. The player could also be offered the option of having usable tiles light-up. (I would want lighting to be optional, not standard, because even though it would make the game easier, it would delete the ancient appearance of the tiles.) Overall, the Egyptian designs on the tile sets are refreshingly different from the typical Chinese tile designs, the backgrounds are lovely, there is no real story in the Adventure Mode, and there are enough options to suit the majority of Mahjong players. Shadowed edges are needed to show depth, which costs one star. Nice addition to a Mahjong gamer’s library of choices. Four stars.