Guardian Sword in Review – Match 3 / RPG And So Much More

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I’ve always made the assertion that there’s room for one more match 3 hybrid on my device as long as the game keeps me entertained.  Guardian Sword has done so much more than that so far – it has become an addiction.  Rather than just mindlessly slogging through battle after battle this game actually has a story, items for you to collect and use, and multiple paths to pursue.  The characters and bosses are cool, and even the combat is handled differently than most games of this style that I’ve played.  I wasn’t at the point of being burned out on the match 3 / RPG mash-up yet, but even if I had this game would have sucked me right back into it.

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You play an adventurer named Guts that is on a quest for a weapon known as the Guardian Sword.  Of course whether or not he plans on using it for good is the question this story is hopefully going to tell.  Along the way you’ll meet some interesting characters, tangle with diverse minions and take on some powerful bosses.  You’ll also have to explore tunnels, unlock gates and flip switches almost like you were playing a Zelda game.  Then there are skills you can acquire, special tiles you can collect to aid you in your match 3 battles, and ancient relics that have awesome abilities like turning you into an owl to get over uncrossable gaps.  This game has almost as much to do on the map screen as it does in combat, which makes it more in depth than most of its peers.

Each minion battle sees you taking on 3 bad guys, while the boss battles are one on one against some of the toughest hombres in the land.  The match 3 mechanic has you dragging your finger across as many of the same tiles in a row as you can.  Your main weapons are a sword for melee damage and a crossbow for long range torture, and once you finally get magic you’ll trigger that by making matches with the mana tiles.  Any special tiles you’ve discovered will be used when you match them with their corresponding color tiles on the board, though you can only take four of them into battle at any given time.  The same applies to skills, though those are triggered by hand simply by tapping on the icon for the skill.  Each skill requires a certain amount of mana and has a cooling down period before it can be used again, and for the most part they take the place of making a match.

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Battles earn you experience, coins and sometimes an item as well.  Items will be things like healing potions or anti-stun herbs that can be used during battle.  Coins are used to buy additional items or upgrade your weapons and armor.  You’ll also collect gems which can be used to forge your equipment into even stronger equipment or to continue if you’ve been defeated in battle.  Finally you have skill points which can be used to build up certain aspects of your character.  There’s a lot to collect and customize which gives you the opportunity to experiment in how you’ll play the game.  One other great feature is the ability to have a teammate.  Teammates will join you at various points in the story and will level up as you use them.  On the plus side they do their thing automatically, but you can only have one “equipped” at a time.

The visuals in Guardian Sword are really cool.  The maps look good, the characters are well drawn and the animation is pretty slick.  The sound effects are decent for the most part.  It would be nice if the different creatures actually made unique noises to compliment their differing designs.  The music is nice enough to listen to, and each area has its own track to listen to.

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There are plenty of match 3 / RPG hybrids out there, with one or two popping up seemingly every day.  Because of that, it takes something special in the genre to get noticed any more, and Guardian Sword is just such a game.  The combination of skills, special tiles and teammates that you can have is enormous, and when you through in several different stats you can update the depth for this type of game is incredible.  The graphics are great, and story is actually humorous at times.  As a whole this is certainly one of the best recent releases in the mash up genre, if not one of the top released so far.

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App Summary
Title: Guardian Sword Developer: Picsoft Studio
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.1.1
Price: Free App Size: 119.10MB
  • In depth skill / special tile / teammate system
  • Lots to do on the map besides match 3 combat
  • Actually has a story
  • Great graphics
  • Nothing significant

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