Cavemania in Review: Stone Age Match 3 Mayhem
Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids. It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run. Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its own finish line. Now I’m not trying to say I love Scurvy Scallywags any less, and there are actually a couple of features in that game I like better, but Cavemania has me hooked. I’m really not quite sure what to classify this as yet, but if you had to give it a label I suppose “strategy / RPG / match 3” hybrid would work as well as anything.
So your job is to help a poor chieftain reunite his tribe that has been mercilessly scattered asunder. Of course one would suppose that had the chieftain been doing his job in the first place this wouldn’t have happened, but I digress. You’ll travel the land locating comrades, building structures and fending off predators. Along the way you’ll have to gather resources, which is where the match 3 part of the game comes in. The more items you match in one go the more resources you get (for example if you match 4 items you get 8 of that resource instead of just three). You can also earn up to three power crystals by making matches of 4 or more, and you earn a prize box for every match of 5 or more that you make. When you’re not busy making matches you’ll want to be sure that characters are next to any bad guys that are on the field, as they will automatically attack after every round. Characters can only move one tile a turn but at least they can move independently of making a match.
Each level has a set of tasks to accomplish in order for you to be successful, and those goals are displayed on the right side of the screen. You only have so many slots to fill with character types that you can use, so you’ll want to pick the best ones for the tasks that you need to get done. You also have a limited number of moves to work with, so make sure you keep an eye on the counter in the upper left corner. You can play as many levels as you want as long as you beat them, but every time you lose a level you lose a heart, and when all the hearts are gone you either have to buy more via IAP or wait for them to regenerate. Upon successful completion of a level you earn between 1 and 3 stars as well as coins for those stars. If you go back and try to do better on a level you previously completed you will only get coins for extra stars you earn. You can also collect money by matching certain items on the board.
The money can be used to upgrade your characters’ offensive and defensive skills, as well as reduce the cost of building structures. You can even buy boosts that will give you extra resources when you make matches. Don’t expect the cash to be too easy to come by, however. The three star ranking for each level also provides your “score” to place you on the Game Center leaderboards, and there are 27 different achievements to earn. You can also connect with Facebook, though I’m not sure how that plays in other than giving them cause to display the message “beat this level before your friends do”. Of course you can post your victories to Twitter and Facebook if you want.
The game looks great, with colorful characters and cute critters. Everything is nicely detailed and your troops’ victory dances can be quite amusing. The sound effects have somewhat of a Flintstones vibe to them, which I suppose is fitting giving the Stone Age nature of the setting. The music is decent as well, with at least two or three different tracks playing throughout the various levels.
When it comes to match 3 mash-ups, it doesn’t get much better than Cavemania. A fun atmosphere, challenging levels and mechanics that go beyond other games of this sort make playing quite a treat. As you get deeper into the game the levels do get rather challenging, but patience and often taking several tries usually pays off in the end. And of course nothing says “quick boost” like IAP if you’re so inclined. Despite the deluge of match 3 games that arrive on a weekly basis, this is one I can definitely recommend.
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.9||Min OS Req:||5.0|
|Price:||Free||App Size:||79.4 MB|