New puzzler Match Land arrives on Google Play

New puzzler Match Land arrives on Google Play

Apr 27, 2017

There’s a new match-3 puzzler in town… called Match Land.

This one comes to us from Race Cat.

Welcome to Match Land! Run a fantasy medieval market in this match 3 adventure!

Form a team of heroes then battle and catch critters to serve as ingredients for your fantasy food shops! Yum!

• NEW action/turn-based match 3 gameplay!
• Make multiple matches per turn to build up massive combos!
• Unlock and upgrade over 25 fantasy food shops!
• Form the ultimate critter catching team from 20 unique heroes!
• Battle through over 300 levels and 25 formidable bosses!

Match Land is free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Check out the trailer:

Empire & Puzzles Launches on Google Play

Empire & Puzzles Launches on Google Play

Mar 2, 2017

Small Giant Games, the crew behind Oddwings Escape, just released a new game on Android called Empires & Puzzles: RPG Quest.

As the title hints, its heavy on RPG elements, and tosses in match-3, PvP and multiplayer online concepts for good measure.

The game boasts questing and great graphics as well.

Small Giant Games chief Timo Soininen talks about creating something simple. “We started with a clear vision that we want to create something that’s super easy to pick up and play, but that also surprises the players with unforeseen depth and a fresh take on familiar elements,” he says. “We’re already seeing strong indications that we succeeded in this goal, and are extremely excited to continue the journey with our community!”

The game is free (with ads) and has in-app purchases.

WWE Champions Free Puzzle RPG Review

WWE Champions Free Puzzle RPG Review

Jan 31, 2017

Truly, we didn’t know what to expect with WWE Champions Free Puzzle RPG. I mean, it’s WWE, so there’s going to at least be a suplex or two, no?

Ah… not so fast.

From looks standpoint, it has a bunch of comfortable characters. It isn’t too glitzy, and the stars themselves look a bit whimsical. The animations are decent, and the other visual pieces are quite well done. The game plays in portrait.wwe3

The game launches with The Rock — and, seriously, no one is better — leading the tutorial. You’re the team manager, and here’s the opportunity to lead WWE superstars to victory.

By now, you must have figured it out: this is a match-3 game. Come again? Yep, this is all about manipulating pieces for points.

The game leads you to a grid with gems of different colors. The idea is to, of course, make matches by gesture swap. Making matches dissolves the gems and yields power.

And here is where the main gimmick really reveals itself: the gems power WWE stars… wrestling WWE stars. Said fighters are above the grid of gems; every time you make a match of three (or more) horizontally or vertically, the star you are managing is able to perform some action against the opponent.

And then there are some special cases. Matching specific colors unleash specific moves. Combos are always great. There are special move cards that can be charged, and everything is geared towards dealing enough damage to be able to pin the opponent.

Now, a great element is the defense. When a pin is attempted, the defending wrestler gets three opportunities to match three gems to generate enough energy to kick out. If not, match is over.

The RPG part is pretty involved. Winning yields coin (and more, like more superstars and XP), and the game money can be used to improve one’s stars, which is important. There is a collaborative online mode, and other aspects that make the game fun.

There are opportunities to use real cash to expedite processes.

All in all, an engaging, atypical “wrestling” game. Not bad.

My Food Truck: World Challenge Zooms Onto Google Play

My Food Truck: World Challenge Zooms Onto Google Play

Nov 5, 2016

My Food Truck: World Challenge is a new game from Gamecubator Labs, and it on Google Play for our gaming pleasure.

This one is a food-themed match-three puzzler that tosses in travel and social sharing aspects. Per the Play Store:

*TRAVEL THE WORLD and match delicious dishes to make scrumptious combos spread across 250 levels.
*CHEF YOURSELF! Click a Selfie to become a chef yourself or choose from various avatars
*GAIN POPULARITY by sharing your fan count on social media
*ADDICTIVE MATCH 3 that combines your dream of world travel and cooking tasty dishes
*OWN THEMED FOOD TRUCKS as you progress and travel to more countries
*BECOME FAMOUS by collecting smilies from happy customers to increase your fan base in each country
*KNOW FUN FACTS about landmarks across 10 countries as you travel

Sounds fun! It’s free (with in-app purchases). Check out the trailer:

Match-3 Puzzler ‘Force of Elements’ Launches on Google Play

Match-3 Puzzler ‘Force of Elements’ Launches on Google Play

May 13, 2016

Force of Elements is a new match-3 game from Wicked Fun which just made its way to Google Play.

Use match-3 puzzle skills to compete in real-time matches against other players. Battle random opponents from around the world or directly challenge your friends and fight your way to the top of the leaderboards.
CHALLENGE YOUR FRIENDS: Invite your Facebook friends via Facebook or text message.

CLIMB THE GLOBAL RANKS: Challenge and fight your way to the top of the leaderboards.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR HERO: Unlock unique Heroes and earn shards that allow you to buy custom, thematic Hero skins.

HONE YOUR SKILLS: Play in practice matches against computer-controlled champions of the Force Of Elements universe. Sol, Ki, Tarkin, and more await you!

ARE YOU WICKED FAST? Test your gem-matching skills in a race against the clock in ’Timed Mode’.

ARE YOU A PUZZLE MASTERMIND? Use strategic gem-matching in 5 ‘Moves Mode.’

The game is free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

Fishdom: Deep Dive Review

Fishdom: Deep Dive Review

Mar 10, 2016

Fishdom: Deep Dive (from Playrix Games) is a bit deceptive.

Right from the get-go.

It comes out the gate masquerading as a cute little aquarium sim. The graphics underscore this, with gorgeous animations and friendly-faced, self-aware sea animals. It looks great, sounds well and almost works in and of itself for folks who are solely into virtual environments.fish3

But Fishdom has a trick up it’s sleeve, and it’s a gimmick that should appeal to folks who may not be satisfied with barebones aquariums: one can garner game coin to acquire more fish and better equipment, but it takes the conquering of the games match-3 gameplay to make one’s personal sea world rock.

It’s about bragging rights, and matching prowess is the in-game currency.

Now we’re talking…

The looks on the main play side are just as glossy as the pet maintenance side, with several pieces laid out on a grid, just as one would expect. The pieces themselves reflect an aquatic environment, showing up as pearls, shells, starfish and the like. Thee core idea is to dissolve pieces by creating sets of three or more, and this is accomplished by swapping adjacent pieces. Matches can be bade up and down, but not diagonally, and once made and dissolved, they are replaced by random pieces that drop from the top of the grid, in a fairly “logical” manner.

The game is leveled, and one is expected to finish the tasks required within a set number of moves; the key is that the tasks start to get more complex, including things like dissolving materials, or picking up embedded gold, working around columns, or dealing with chained pieces and more. There are achievements to be garnered too.

In the end, success yields gold coins. Which brings us back to the aquarium. As noted earlier, one can use these gains to make the sea house spiffier. Real money can be used, but is not mandatorily needed.

It all come together nicely, actually; a game with two interconnected facets.

Yes, Fishdom is sneaky. Delightfully so.

Scrubby Dubby Saga Review

Scrubby Dubby Saga Review

Dec 31, 2015

Matching pieces is always fun, and King looks to prove as much with Scrubby Dubby Saga, a new entry on Google Play.

Scrubby Dubby Saga works as a sliding match-three adventure, and is set up as such. One gets bright colors, rows against columns, and a grid set against bright naturescapes and beautifully blue sky. It incorporates rather smooth animations and explosive sequences, and the pieces in this one are whimsically shaped bars of soap. It looks and feels like an arcade game, and developer’s King’s hand is clearly at work in this one.sds3

Gameplay is a easy to understand: yep, the underlying idea is to line up three pieces of the same shape and color to dissolve them; doing so is accomplished by sliding an entire row up or down a column (or left/right across a row) to move a matching piece in place. When a set of three is created, they dissolve and are replaced “naturally” by pieces that cascade randomly from the top, such that the pieces are replaced and the grid remains full. If another set of three is created by a replacement cascade, they also dissolve, and the sequence continues till there isn’t a match of three that is active.

The game is leveled, and each stanza gives one objectives, such as getting a set number of soap pieces dissolved so as to move on. This takes a bit of cunning, as one needs to be able to strategize a bit. As the game goes on, the puzzles get more intricate, involving stuff like cages and such that require more maneuvering than usual, and creates challenges. When one tosses in the limited amount of moves per level and the possibility to create and use boosts (like from matching more than three pieces), one does get a compelling digital experience.

There is an energy requirement — failing to solve a level costs one a life — and as such, one can be patient and allow for replenishment over time, or expedite it with real cash.

Still, it’s mostly a fun ride.

Seriously though… with games like Candy Crush Saga and Farm Hero Saga as developmental stablemates, what would one expect?

Muertitos: A Matching Puzzle Review

Muertitos: A Matching Puzzle Review

Jan 8, 2015

It’s Christmas season, so what better way is there to celebrate it than to play some Halloween-themed puzzles? Alright, maybe there’s a lot of ways, but unless you can name two of them that don’t include severe intoxication, I’ll stay with the Halloween games. Besides, Muertitos: A Matching Puzzle, is pretty cool.

Muertitos has a simple playing field, and rather simple rules, but that doesn’t stop it from being quite a challenging game – part of the reason being that it’s not a copy of any existing game that I know of. The field is a simple 4×4 square, with the monsters appearing on the borders. When the player taps on a border tile, the monster on it slides onto a playing field, and another one appears on it. If the place on the field is taken by something, the monster pushes that onto the next tile. However, the player can’t Muertitos 2summon monsters to a line that is completely filled. When three or four monsters of the same kind get in a straight line, they disappear and the player gets points. Of course, the goal is to get the most points before the whole monster field is completely monster-filled (sorry).

The tricky part in Muertitos is that the player can only interact with the monsters already on the field by pushing them over with a newcomer. So clearing up the board is really difficult. You have to think your moves through, as a couple of monsters at random points on the field can actively ruin the game – especially later in, when there are more monsters spawning. The good part is that the player can use one of the four power-ups that he gets by scoring points. The power-ups can be dragged onto any place on the field, including the ones already occupied by monsters. Putting a power-up on a monster destroys the monster, while the power-ups can be activated and removed at any time by tapping on them. Oh, and you can also see the monster that will be summoned next.

I almost forgot to note how great the soundtrack in Muertitos is. It’s incredibly cool, gives the game a lot of character, and makes it really cozy, for the lack of a better word. There’s also an alternative skin pack for the monsters, so that’s nice. Overall, a fine game for the fans of puzzles.

Sparkle Unleashed Review

Sparkle Unleashed Review

May 13, 2014

Sparkle Unleashed is all about saving the world, one orb at a time.

The premise is relatively simple: there is an evil darkness that is overcoming the land. The only way it can be slowed down and combated is through the power of match-three orb technique.

To explain, the playing area needs to be understood; it is usually a windy path that snakes its way from the entrance point all the way to the the end point. Along this trail a line of orbs of different colors move, like a train of spherical cars, moving towards the ominous black hole. At the bottom of the playing area is an orb-shooting device that can slide along the bottom. When the playing area is tapped, this device fires an orb in a line to that point.

To stop the structure from reaching the hole, the orbs need to be reduced; this is done by familiar matching mechanism. The idea is to use the shooting device to launch orb and create matching groups of three or more orbs ofsparkle1 the same color, which dissolve and slow down the line. even better, with quick thinking and use of special orbs that can be collected by contact, it is possible to clear the board and beat the level that way. If the line of orbs make it to the black hole, the whole playing area is swamped in darkness, and the level is lost.

Stopping the orb is a delightful challenge though. Aiming looks deceptively easy, till one realizes how carelessness can be costly. The power-ups are easy to understand, and the gameplay flows along nicely. Beyond the first free 23 sections, even more challenges and modes are present, so the game isn’t too short at all. there are levels with multiple lines going at once, which ups the challenge level. The power-ups are fun to discover and implement too.

Unlocking the extra levels ($5.99) might cause folks used to binging on dollar some angst, but the gameplay just might cause one to overlook that. Even without the unlock, it’s easy to fall in love with.

Again and again.

Block Legend Review

Block Legend Review

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.

BlockLegend-1

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.

Caveboy Escape Review

Caveboy Escape Review

Mar 20, 2014

Caveboy Escape is an enjoyable combo-type puzzler.

It takes the match-3 paradigm, and tosses in some tile travel to create a fun series of puzzle situations. The tutorial does a fine job of walking players through the finer aspects of the gameplay. The successive playing areas are rectangular, and made up of smaller tiles. The tiles are of different colors seemingly randomly placed, and there are usually two special points, start tile (point A and an end tile (point B). Facilitating the escape means moving the avatar from point A (usually at the bottom of the screen) to point B (towards the top). cave1

Now, movement is guided by one major guideline: the avatar moves in steps of three tiles of the same color. So, to get from the beginning to the end, one has to find a set of three tiles (end on end or adjacent), and then another set of three, and so on and so forth, till you get to a tile that is adjacent to he end tile, from which escape can be made. Control is done by gesture swiping, and the playing piece can only move in the approved manner; if the move does not follow the rules in an attempted direction, the playing piece won’t move. Moves can be reversed when progress seemes impossible.

The first level or two are easy, and as mentioned, the tutorial plays a part. A quick visual look definitely helps to take stock of the situation and plan moves. Eventually, the gameplay gets harder, with layered puzzles and interesting angles like timed problems with potions as helpers. Levels can all be replayed, and getting the coveted three-star ranking is a huge goal.

Even with the extras, the game can feel a bit monotonous at times, but in short spurts, it is a fun, engaging time waster that is worth a look.

Matchagon Review

Matchagon Review

Dec 31, 2013

Matchagon is a match-3 dropping block game from Tinytouchtales.

The game gets high marks for simplicity and invoking familiarity. The playing grid is coated in stark white, and the 2D stylings kinda remind one of Tetris. The playing pieces are octagon shapes, and are different colors, mostly soft pastels, with a sharp purple here and a dark blue there. These 6 or 7 colors drop one by one from the top of the playing area randomly, with one visually on deck.

The white playing area can take these playing pieces five playing pieces wide and six deep, and by dragging, it is possible to pick the lane a particular piece drops in; the idea is to use the matching powers of same colored pieces to prevent the playing grid from being completely filled. match1

When three or more pieces of the same color are stacked vertically, they combine to become a powerful combo piece. When a diagonal or horizontal line of colors is formed, they explode for points, and all the pieces around the disintegrated ones obey simplistic laws of gravity and fill the vacated space. If a combo piece is used in one of the sets, more points are gained, and it is possible to create a super combo piece by stacking three sets of three pieces of the same color. If and when the area is completely filled, the run ends, and the final score is tallied.

The gameplay is patient, but challenging at the same time. the randomness of the dropping pieces does create situations in which ad hoc strategy has to be created an adjusted in a play or two. the gameplay comes into two flavors, normal and hard. The hard playing level is set apart by the addition of an extra black piece,which are dead shapes; they just occuoy space, and create gaps that need to be played around.

For a simple brain teaser, this game hits the spot. The graphics are not going to cause George Lucas envy, but the gameplay doesn’t really need any extra sass to resonate.

It just works.