Not too long ago before this review I wrote a preview for Azkend 2, so I decided to start over and play the game on my iPad this time around. I was about half way through the game on my iPod Touch, but the truth is that I’ve had just as much fun the second time around with this match 3 from 10tons. Actually, I think it was a bit more entertaining because I found it easier to pull off massive combos on the larger screen. Still, whether you’ve got an iPad or just a small screen device with which to play iOS games, Azkend 2 is definitely worth your time.
Azkend 2 is a match 3 style game where rather than swapping tiles like Bejeweled and its many clones, you trace a path through three or more adjoining tiles of the same object to match them. There are 17 levels to conquer, each with 3 or 4 different boards to play. The methods might be different for a particular board, but the end result of each is that you must recover a piece of an object that will complete the level and give you a new power up. There are two types of power ups, active and passive, and you can have one of each active at any given time. At the start or restart of a board you can choose which power up in each category to make active, and you might need to try several combinations before finding one that will help you beat the board.
Some boards will have you making matches to flip the color of each tile until all of them are blue. Others will require you to put out tiles that are on fire before the fire spreads to certain parts of the board, and some need you to squash bugs before they reach the top of the board. Every board is timed until you reach the secondary goal, and once that is reached the piece you’re trying to recover will appear at the top of the board, at which point you’ll have to get the piece to the bottom. All boards except the bug ones are timed during this process as well. If at any point time runs out you’ll have to start the board over, and in some cases you’ll also be thwarted if your secondary goal is not met (ie: a bug gets to the top of the screen or the fire gets to its target).
To make matches you just tap where you want to start and drag your finger to where you want to end. Once you let go, the match will be made, the pieces will be removed from the board, and new pieces will fill in from the top. Passive power ups take effect whenever necessary on their own, and active power ups will show up as tiles on the board that activate when you match them. The controls are pretty responsive and work especially well on the big iPad screen. The only problem is that it’s not so easy to back out of a move you decide you don’t want to make, because you have to retrace your steps backwards.
I always love it when match 3 games go above and beyond in the visuals department, and Azkend 2 certainly does that. There’s some nicely detailed scenery in cut screens as the story unfolds, and sometimes there’s even a bit of animation to go with the tale. The objects on the playing board look good and often change to reflect your location within the game. Azkend 2 offers up some nice special effects, especially when it comes to the Tesla coils and lightning power up. The only thing I wish is that they’d put the same option in the iPad as the iPhone version where you can view the backgrounds without anything on top of them.
The sound effects are fine, but the truth is you almost don’t need them. The music is so epic that the only reason other noises are necessary is because you’d probably notice if they weren’t there. As I listen to the soundtrack I half expect to hear a voiceover saying “Welcome to Jurassic Park” or see an adventurer in a worn leather hat fleeing from the villain of the decade. It’s certainly not the type of music you’d imagine from a match 3 game, but it adds a whole new level of exhilaration to the atmosphere.
I don’t know that I’m prepared to say whether Azkend 2 is my favorite match 3 game on the iOS platform, but it is pretty close. The insane challenge of some of the boards can get frustrating, yet in the end I’ve always managed to persevere once I’ve found the right combination of power ups to use. The audio and visuals are a treat, and there’s enough to keep me busy that I certainly won’t feel ripped off once I’ve completed the game. I just hope the ending lives up to the content.
|Title:||Azkend 2 HD – The World Beneath||Developer:||10tons Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||3.0|