Steam: Lux Delux
Reviewing Lux Delux is like reviewing Candy Land, these are games that are far older then I am and will be around long after I am gone and buried. Essentially when you break down Lux Delux, it's Risk with multiple levels and online player support. I could end the review here and call it a day however, there are some things that this game does right and does wrong. So as we move forward with this review, keep in mind that if you love Risk, you're going to love Lux Delux. I can't really say anything negative about a board game that has been around since 1959. Lux does capture the spirit and fun of its inspiration.
On the other hand it does have some issues, ranging from graphical to interface. When you first load up the game, this is what greets you.
This isn't the most friendly of sights at first glance. This looks like something out of the Windows 95 era. One could say there is a plethora of options, in that regard, that is very true. There are menus upon sub menus that let you tweak, twerk, twist and twiddle all of the rules and many other options that I could list here for quite a while. Needless to say if you're the type person who enjoys an extreme amount of customization, it's all there for you. The only problem is that this menu kinda sucks for lack of a better term. It's not very user friendly. Not only that, it completely fails in its Steam integration. If you load the Steam overlay, it completely over laps and messes up the entire appearance of the menu.
At the heart of the problem with Lux is that it doesn't work very well with Steam. Graphical issues abound inside the menu and in game as well. I had my game corrupted in the middle of play many times as the graphics just wigged out for no reason. This required me to save, reload the program, and continue playing. The current fix for it is to simply turn off the Steam overlay, which does work, That doesn't excuse things like menu buttons not working properly and other weird issues that this program seems to have.
Now at the end of the day, do these issues really technically matter? No. Your playing this game cause you love Risk/Lux and want to play the 900 levels that are possibly at your fingertips. For all you strategy lovers out there, there are more maps then you can shake a stick at and more readily available for download, if you get tired of the basic ones. The levels range in designs, some of them are nice, others are clunky. There is still plenty for you to chew on and eventually find the one that you like. You can even create your own levels, if you have the patience for it.
So lets talk about the meat of the gameplay. The options of varying AI are quite abundant and seemed very well versed on how to kick your strategic bee-hind. I found myself several times struggling to maintain a border as the enemy smashed against my troops over and over again. I noticed though that sometimes the AI tends to work together against me. This could be paranoia talking, it just seemed like one enemy would weaken me up and then the next would just smash through me. This particular AI strategy happened many, many times. I did not falter though and I did win the basic map after a while. Matches against the AI can last anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. I still feel like there is plenty of matches left for the AI and I am scared to find out how the game behaves on hard.
Which brings me to Online multiplayer. This is a bit of sore area for me. You would think attaching itself to Steam it would take advantage of the platform in bringing players together. This isn't the case sadly, I only ever saw 8 or more players online at any given time. Port forwarding was another issue that I had heard about but thankfully was spared. I feel like if Lux did a little bit better with integrating itself with Steam, more players might be playing the game. Of course, that's speculation. As it stands Lux feels like a 3rd party program that you can buy on Steam. Instead of a game ON Steam.
The audio element of Lux is fine for what it is, simple and explosion filled. Music is fairly well done and varied amongst the maps. I only occasionally ran into songs that played on other maps. The tunes are jaunty and have a nice pace to them. The game offers bucket loads of replayability either through the AI or perhaps convincing a group of friends to meet up at a certain time. I should also mention the game does feature two extra expansions, American History and Ancient Empires. What these expansions boil down to is just extra maps, nothing that changes the rules or adds any other features.
As I said at the beginning, anyone who loves Risk is going to enjoy Lux. You are guaranteed to find some interesting maps, and if you're lucky, interesting players. Just don't come into Lux expecting anything ground breaking. This is what it is, and it works, however I do feel maybe some extra rule bending would've added some fun game modes. As to the games issues, the graphical issues will eventually be patched out hopefully; the menus are rather ugly but you grow accustomed to it. If you're not convinced you will enjoy Lux, keep in mind that the actual board game of Risk is going to run you $25 usually. This seems easier, cheaper, and gives plenty of bang for its buck.3