Lately I’ve been more focused on RPG hybrids when it comes to my match 3 experiences (like Dungeon Story), but I’m all for a good old fashioned pure match 3 romp, given the right game. Sadly, those options don’t come along much any more. Now we have Jelly Duel, however, and my faith in the genre is slowly returning. Unfortunately, this game will only do you some good if you have WiFi or data connectivity since it is an online offering. Still, as much as I don’t like “connected” gaming, I’m seeing a lot of potential in Jelly Duel.
The concept of combining the RPG with match 3 mechanics seems to be pretty popular, though few entries come close to either Puzzle Quest for a more hardcore experience or Dungeon Raid for the casual folks. Still, many of the options at least offer a few things that make them worth giving a chace, and Dungeon Story is no exception. While there are no quests to speak of, it’s more persistent than Dungeon Raid in that you can build up your character between plays. It still provides a more casual experience than Puzzle Quest, however, because even if you get “stuck” in a dungeon all you have to remember between sessions is that when you come back there is another monster to fight.
When games set the bar so high in a particular genre, much like The Treasures of Montezuma 3 did for match 3 games, I often wonder if new variants are even going to be worth trying. I was especially nervous about this one because I had played its canine sibling, Puppy Sanctuary, on the PC and didn’t really care for it. I’m happy to report that not only is Kitten Sanctuary a much more interesting game than its puppy partner (or I didn’t give the other enough of a chance), but it can actually be quite addicting. The whole Tamagatchi style interludes aren’t even that bad.
Yesterday, we saw a quality game go free in geoDefense Swarm. Today, PopCap is offering Bejeweled 2 + Blitz as a freebie for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Most of you likely have played this match 3 on one platform or another, and perhaps even consider it among the most addictive in the genre. No word on why and for how long this offer will last, so if you still don’t have Bejeweled on your iDevice, be sure to grab it ASAP.
PopCap, Bejeweled 2 + Blitz, 17.0 MB – Free
I didn’t think the match 3 mash-up could get any better than the original Puzzle Quest. It figures that it would take the sequel of the game that pioneered the concept to prove me wrong. Puzzle Quest 2 raises the bar that its predecessor set with a new isometric perspective that actually lets you wander around town, side quests complete with mini-games, and a tournament mode that allows you to fight with the monsters! I’m not sure what Puzzle Quest 3 will bring (or if there will even be one), but if it’s even half the upgrade this one has been we’ll be in for another treat.
The App Store is littered with match 3 games, so one would think we’ve had enough of them by now. The truth is that there’s always room for another match 3, as long as that game either plays exceptionally well or brings something new to the table. Fortunately, Heroes of Kalevala does both, making it a refreshing addition to the genre – or is it a village simulator that just happens to use match 3 boards as its means for resource gathering?
One thing that’s both good and bad about mobile platforms is that they encourage developers to take franchises in whole new directions. Doom Resurrection is an on-rails shooter, Wolfenstein was turned into an RPG, and now we have Encore Of The Night (EOTN), a Castlevania adventure with a big twist. The problem is that, unlike the first two I mentioned, this one feels out of place. It’s not necessarily a bad game, but it just doesn’t resonate with the charm that is the Castlevania series. I’m trying really hard to get into it, but so far it’s more of a chore than a joy to play.
Match 3 fans, meet Headcase Games’ 180, a title which claims to be a match ‘em style of game with a difference. True, it’s a little different – but Bejeweled it ain’t. In 180 you have a screen full of coloured coins and you must tap the empty area below a column to shoot the coin that you have at the bottom of the screen. You must keep shooting your coins in order to match three or more, and then the matched coins will disappear. To add another dimension, you can tap any coin already on the board to flip it over, revealing another colour. What makes the game difficult is that the coins are advancing down on you from the top of the screen, and when they reach the bottom, it’s Game Over. So you’ve got to be quick to keep those tiles at bay.
For those of you that are getting fed up with match three games, you might want to look away now. Although in actual fact, developer 10tons’ Abundante! (also the publishers behind the amazing Azkend) is a match four game. Considerably different from other games of its type, Abundante! has you venturing deep into the jungle, and beneath the earth.
PAC-Match Party was released to commemorate PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday. It’s difficult to believe that the little guy has been around that long – since before I was born! Quite rightly, PAC-MAN is a legend and so it’s only right that he should have a party for his 30th birthday. And that’s what this game is. A match three party.