Mar 31, 2014
The puzzle-RPG hybrid has generally been a winning combination. By mixing match-3 puzzles with RPG gameplay, this has led to some really fun games: Puzzle Quest, Dungeon Raid, and 10000000 are all great examples of titles that combined familiar gameplay with dungeon-crawling elements to make for a fun mix. I may be tired of standard match-3 titles, but I’m down for a good RPG match-3 game. Thus, I entered Block Legend with some excitement, but found that it fell flat due to poor pacing.
The puzzle part of the game plays more like Collapse than the average match-3 title, as players just need to tap blocks to remove them, as long as at least two are bunched together.Thus, the game works a bit better in frantic instances because players just need to tap to find a match, rather than dealing with a block-switching mechanic of some sort. However, the game is built around turns in combat, where every few matches the player makes, the enemy gets to attack, so it’s not the ideal situation for this matching method. Players are not always in combat – outside of it, the attack icons which do damage turn into EXP blocks. Health and shield blocks restore those stats, green magic blocks do magic damage, and coin and treasure blocks increase one’s money and collect a new boost item, respectively.
The RPG parts have players starting off as characters with various stats, collecting EXP when between battles to upgrade a certain stat each time one levels up, and gold to buy temporary boost items. There’s a hard currency, starblocks, which are used for the permanent unlocks and pre-game boost items. These are earned largely by completing challenges, so keeping an eye on these is a good idea, as many of the unlockable characters have higher base stats than the two starters.
However, the big issue with Block Legend comes when its boss fights start. The bosses do so much more damage than normal enemies do – and it’s a ruiner of game momentum because many wind up doing more damage per turn than anything but the perfectly-prepared player can dish out. So, one can try to heal up and collect shields, but this is merely delaying the inevitable in some cases. 10000000 did this well: normal enemies could serve as hindrances. Block Legend makes any boss fight a potential stumbling block. As well, since progress is about nebulous scores, there’s not much satisfaction in the progress. By the end, I found myself merely trying to chase down more of the starblocks so I could unlock more characters and environments, rather than playing to improve my performance, as I feel I should be doing.
While I wanted to like Block Legend – its graphics are colorful and its style whimsically-amusing, the flaws do significantly hinder what should be a winning combination.