Review: Lux Deluxe
A while back, a free risk game appeared in the app store - Lux. It was a big hit, and for any of use risk fans it was a great way to play.
Little did we know that it was simply a precurser to the pay-version of the game, Lux Deluxe. In many way, Lux Deluxe is a huge step foward from Lux, but in a few ways it is also a step or two back.
Most people should be familiar with the concept of Risk, the game of global domination, so I am not going to explain the rules. Let's just say that there are parts luck, skill, and good strategy involved, with the winners usually claiming it was good skill and the losers claiming it was luck.
Lux (the free version) was a port of the classic risk game. I found when playing it that I could usually beat the iPhone about 80% of the time - either indicating I was consistantly lucky, had great skill, or the AI unsed in the game was not that great (I will let you be the judge on that). One things I noticed right away when download Lux Deluxe was that you can set the AI levels for your opponents - and I have already noticed that I am not winning 80% of the time anymore (more like 50% or 60% now). However, this may be due to the third change from the free version I will discuss, rather than a change in the game AI.
There are three main differences in the Lux Deluxe version and the free version. In Lux Deluxe, you can change various game setting parameters - including things like that number of armies you get with the cards, the AI speed (I have no idea why you wouldn't choose anything but the fastest), and how the game starts (random placement, picking your spots, etc). This is a nice change from the free version, so you can modify the game to your liking. Unfortunately I didn't see an option for one variation that I often see in computerized versions of risk - rebellion. The ability for a territory to randomly rebel against the rulers and change teams.
The second primary different is that ability to choose the different players. You can have up to 6 players in a game, choosing between human players, random AI, easy AI, medium AI, or hard AI. Now, while I haven't noticed an significant difficulty posed by the hard AI (and in fact I have noticed some very stupid moves made by the AI - even the difficult one) if is nice to be able to select a difficulty leve.
A quick note about the human option. You can play with multiple players, but they need to be playing on the same iPhone. No internet or wifi based multiplayer - hopefully that will come soon! That would be one of the best ways to ensure a challenge - play over the internet against real people.
The change from the free version is that ability to play with different maps. Anyone who is familiar with the classic Risk maps knows what it looks like, what are the best places to start, the best strategies to win, etc. This version allows you to choose from a huge array of maps, ranging form the classic, to a modified classic look, to things like specific states (the pictures below are from my "Texas" game), to specific time periods in human history. This is agreat change, and it really allows people to test their skills as opposed to simply following the standard "take Australia first" strategy of Risk.
Now onto the bad. The game is siginificanlty slower than the free version. There are lags, stutters, and serious pauses that occur during game play. I am not sure why this is, but it really holds up the game quite a bit. The other issue is with the touch screen sensitivity. In the free version, I very rarely had any problem with choosing the wrong territory to attack, put armies in, or anything like that. With this version, I find myself very frequently hitting the incorrect territory when placing armies, or choosing a territory to attack. I suppose you can say that evens out my super-Risk playing ability, but it is frustrating. you can zoom in and out on the map, and this does help a little, but it still happens to frequently.
The changes in this game are nice, and I hope to see some of the flaws correct (along with adding an internet multiplayer option!).
Pros: MANY maps, customizable settings, play against other people
Cons: Can be slow or lag at times, control sensitivity an occasional issue.
Compared to the free version, the updates that this version provides are great. I especially like the huge number of maps that can be downloaded for use. Unfortunately, there are saw steps backwards in the game play due to various time lags that occur, and the computer AI still seems spotty at times. In addition, the price is the game is fairly steep ($7.99). This may be the best Risk option out there, but for that price I would expect more options and a more polished game. Primarilly because of the high price, I am only giving this app three out of five stars. If the bugs get fixed, or if the price drops significantly, the rating could be higher. If you are a Risk junkie, it still may be worth the high price.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.