Archive for the ‘Match-3’ Category

Dragon Portals

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This is a new take on Match-3, brought to you by the developers of Azkend, which is awesome. In this game, you have 5 Chinese dragons stretched across the screen, each filled with tiles of various colors. Tap a tile to drop it to the dragon below, to match it up with at least two other tiles and destroy them all. If you drop a tile from between at least three tiles of the same color, they will also pop and provide a bonus. All the while, the dragons are plummeting toward the ground, which is shown by scrolling numbers that represent how many feet until you hit the ground and lose.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Bust-A-Move

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Yes, THE Bust-A-Move, not a clone. I have no idea if it contains “all” the levels, but I would call this a faithful port, for the most part. I was forced at gunpoint to play the original a bajillion times by the Starcraft: Ghost team, but I still can’t claim to be an expert. I imagine this would be 4/5 for fans of the series, but I rate it 3/5, because I am evil.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Atlantis Sky Patrol

Friday, August 28th, 2009

This is a Zuma clone, although it’s more like Stoneloops of Jurassica, due to slide control, as opposed to rotation. It has beautfiul Victorian era artwork with dirigibles and steam engines, tons of powerups, achievements, a world map, and bonus levels that consist of catching or smashing coins. It’s a really solid title that right up there with SoJ.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Snood

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

I apologize to all you die-hard Mac Snood fans that have played this religiously for years, but man, I do not see the draw. Maybe the port is sub-par or something, but it just feels very static and it lacks the polish of games like Azkend, for instance. I think releasing so close to Bust-A-Move is going to hurt.

Puzzlings

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Puzzlings is a Match-3 game, with a heart. You have a fully customizable avatar that can be kitted out as adorable or hideous. You have a homebase for your adorable little Puzzling fellow, which includes a wardrobe. Entering the wardrobe allows you to customize facial features, hats, shirts, pants, etc. Initially, there are no upgrades, but they open up near-constantly as you proceed through the game. I’m sure there are 100s of thousands of potential combinations, so you can display your own personal style. Leaving your home allows you to view the overworld map, which can be panned around to your heart’s content. Initially, one location is available. Tapping this brings you to the puzzle screen. This is comprised of an animated version of your avatar, on the left, and a new take on Match-3 on the right. Other than the aforementioned features, what sets this game apart from others in the genre, is the way in which the blocks are manipulated. Typically, in a Match-3 game, you swap two blocks to form matches. This also works inPuzzlings, but there is more to it. You see, the player can drag-select any number of blocks in a line and the whole line flips to the mirror image. You can also drag-select a box of blocks, they will begin to rotate 90 degrees each second, and tapping them stops the rotation in the new orientation. This block box can also be of any size, up to and including, the entire game board. Kooky. The game is pretty easy, so the added manipulation isn’t really necessary, but the charm factor more than makes up for it. My 3-yr-old daughterloves this game. If the challenge eventually ramps up, my rating will probably go up, as well.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Countdown: DownToZero

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Countdown: DownToZero

This game is soon to hit the app store and I got a chance to play it early, so I wanted to give you guys a heads up to watch for it. It combines elements of Drop7Numba, and Big Top 10, but what it adds is a bucketload of timing, strategy, pacing, and competition.

Numbers drop from the top of the screen and the player must swipe across a set of tiles, starting with the highest number and ending with a sum of zero; hence, the title, Countdown: DropToZero. The score for a swipe is calculated by multiplying the first number by the total number of tiles swiped. Simple enough, right? Well, the tiles drop at a pretty decent rate and, early on in your learning, you find yourself having to swipe dupes, (4-4=0, 2-2=0), just to save yourself, because the like many Tetris-style games, if a column hits the top, it’s game over, dewd.

As your skills improve, you learn to chain together swipes, to increase your score. You see, each swipe has a buffer zone; swiping a correct set of tiles causes them to flash for a predefined duration and if you swipe another set, in that timeframe, the timer resets! Like many great puzzle games, when you discover this method, the core concept of game reveals itself to you. The optimal strategy is to have a board full of matched sets and then swipe them in succession for huge, high-scoring chains. To aid in this, you can press an empty section of the screen to speed up the drops temporarily.

As the game progresses, higher number tiles are added to the mix, and the pacing is really solid. There are four different modes, Endless, 1 Minute, 3 Minute, and “Clear”, all of which are fun to play. Not only that, but each has its own leaderboard to compete against your friends…and enemies. This game is addictive, challenging, and well-paced. I recommend it not only to fans of the aforementioned titles, but to anyone that likes puzzle games that challenge your mind and your dexterity.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Saqqarah – Temple of Isis

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Saqqarah - Temple of Isis

Match-3, with a twist; you have to fill the interiors, between gems. Don’t like it; too thinky and it jacks with the pacing, but YMMV. Not to mention the fact that instead of adding the remainder of the PC port as new free content, like many developers, they are instead just shipping 7 different titles for a buck a piece, leaving nothing for the player to unlock over the course of play. Get Azkend or The Treasure of Montezuma instead. On the upside, the game features a magical powder blue monkey, named Khufu, who is at peace with himself…

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Flu Fighter

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Flu Fighter

This is a good Dr. Mario clone with a bad theme; you line up falling quaaludes, as far as I can tell.

Update: Unfortunately, in later levels, I ran into some control issues and several bugs, one of which was a show-stopper, in which my save was lost. I typically don’t review, based on bugs, but many users are reporting the same issue I had. I would stay away from this at least until the 1.3 update is released. Personally, I don’t plan to play it again. Rating plummets.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ icon
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Color Drops

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Color Drops

This is a polished and fun Match-3 title that adds a number-match component.

Update: I enjoyed it, but it started to feel pointless at the higher levels, because it is hard to lose. Down a Star for allowing a degenerative strategy, the details of which I won’t mention, because it ruins the game.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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The Golden Path of Plumeboom

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The Golden Path of Plumebloom

The core gameplay is of the Puzzle Bobble variety, but the difference here is that the balls react to physics and they are housed on a pivoting wheel. This looks great, but doesn’t add a lot to the gameplay itself and the physics are wonky anyway. In fact, the framerate is noticeably low on my first-gen gramps-o-phone. Controls are easy; tilt to move the cannon, tap to shoot the balls. Balls can bounce off of the ceiling too. Try the lite version first, to see if slowdown is an issue. Also, if this type of game interests you, have a look at Dark Harvest.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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