When I first saw this game I liked the screen shots but I thought it was basically going to be a “been there, done that” sort of match 3 game. In some ways it really is, but it packs in so many cool features from other games in the genre that it doesn’t really matter. Throw in great music and a story that ties everything together and you end up with one of the best match 3 games to hit the virtual iOS shelves in quite some time, if not ever.
You play Val, a vampire on a quest to rescue her father from the clutches of some evil fiend that seems to desire your destruction. As a progressive vampire family that drinks strawberry juice instead of blood you can’t imagine who’d want to hurt you, but you’re sure to find out as you travel through 75 levels across a variety of locations. Along the way you’ll encounter a variety of play styles including clearing away designated tiles, causing a variety of objects to fall off the bottom of the screen, and clearing a path so that you can move an object from one location to another. The last mode is cool because there are buttons that let you rotate the board 90 degrees in either direction so that you can get the tiles to fall to your advantage no matter how the path twists.
Occasionally you will have to fight some bad guys as well, which is also accomplished via a match 3 board. The difference here is that you and the villains will be making matches on the same board at the same time, so you have to be quick and pay attention to what they are doing at the same time. In grand super hero cartoon style, the first character to push their opponent’s ray back in their face wins the battle. There’s a lot to tackle, but thankfully at certain milestones you’ll collect talismans that give you the ability to do things like clear all the tiles of a certain color, remove all tiles in a selected area and even make diagonal moves for a short period of time. Some talismans require you to match tiles that are the same color as the talisman, others just require matches of four or more of a tile, and some give you one use and then you have to win them with the spin of a wheel in order to use them again.
The game uses a simple tap or swipe mechanic to swap two tiles for a match. Some talismans require you to drag their energy to a target location on the board, while others require basic taps to activate. Overall the control scheme is easy to use and quite responsive. Beyond the 75 level campaign there is no infinite level but there are both relaxed and time modes as well as the ability to add additional tiles to each level where you must clear away designated tiles. This at least adds some replay value. The game offers 3 profiles so multiple people can play on the same device and iCloud support so you can play across multiple devices. There are 15 achievements to earn and one leaderboard to compete on which ranks you based on your overall score for the game.
Vampire Ventures is not the fanciest looking match 3 game around, but the visuals are still pretty nice. The characters remind me of something out of a PBS cartoon, and there are some nice special effects when you use the various talismans. The sound effects are okay, and I do like the voice they used for Val in the cut scenes that appear between many of the levels. The most impressive part of the aesthetics is definitely the music. Sometimes bouncy, sometimes series and occasionally bordering on moody, I could easily see this score being used in a Hollywood soundtrack.
When I first played Kitten Sanctuary I felt like Clockwork Pixels knew their way around the match 3 concept pretty well, and Vampire Ventures just validates that theory. Multiple play styles, useful power ups and a story to tie everything together all help this game stand out from the crowd. Now if they’d just throw in an infinite play mode the replay value would be incredible.
|Title:||Vampire Ventures||Developer:||Clockwork Pixels|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.02.0||Min OS Req:||4.3|
|Price:||$1.99||App Size:||89.8 MB|