Angry Birds Fight! Review

Angry Birds Fight! Review

Jun 19, 2015

Angry Birds were first released in 2009 – six years ago. It’s literally a thousand years in internet time. Although the franchise has long been erased from the collective memory, the games are still being released, and judging by Angry Birds Fight, they’re still going quite strong.

Angry Birds Fight is a simple match-three arcade with some fighting flavor thrown in for a good measure. The player picks one of the birds that have different abilities and stats, and fights against other players in a simple 1v1 matchmaking multiplayer. The task is to get more of attack and defense boosts than your opponent until the time runs out. After this, the birds fight each other and the winning bird gets experience, gold and possibly – some items as well. Defeating a certain amount of enemies allows the player to fight against AI pig boss that, when defeated, will open a new location and spawn some random accessories as well.

The match-three mechanics don’t really do anything different to any other similar, arcades, the only difference being that the players can mess each others’ boards by making different combos, erasing four or five blocks at once. The inventory system is really unoriginal, and while it provides some variety, I found it a bit cumbersome for simple gameplay of Angry Birds Fight. Really, the whole game has too many elements and would work a lot better as a simple multiplayer match-three arcade without the lengthy campaign and useless ship battles.

Angry Birds Fight is surprisingly balanced, if you don’t count the obnoxiousness that is its FTP restrictions. While Angry Birds Fight 2the gameplay itself is rather skill-based – at least for the time I’ve played it – there’s the whole package of the free-to-play elements, including the gems, the item upgrading, and the energy shtick, which is as repugnant as it always was. But, if you’re okay with playing up to fifteen minutes at a time, the game is rather enjoyable.

Overall, it’s another game, ruined by corporate greed and desire to have the same elements that the popular kids have. Angry Birds Fight could be a really great, simple game with good design, just like original Angry Birds were, but it’s sinking under the weight of the obligation to include every single FTP mechanic there is.

Cinderella Free Fall Review

Cinderella Free Fall Review

Mar 30, 2015

The interesting thing about Cinderella Free Fall is that it doesn’t have anything in common with the Disney’s classic cartoon. Considering that the game was actually licensed by Disney, I can’t understand this logic. The game doesn’t have any story at all, and the graphics don’t even hint at the cartoon, which is pretty weird. Besides that weird disassociation, the game is just a pretty free-to-play princess-themed arcade.

Cinderella Free Fall isn’t really trying to set itself apart from any other free-to-play match-three games, so if you’ve played a single one of them, and since they keep making them, I can imagine that literally everyone on Earth already did at this point, you can probably imagine what the game is about. The player must connect the colored gems together to break them. There are several tasks the level may require to complete, like getting a certain amount of points, or clear the board of the Cinderella Free Fall 3blocks, in a certain amount of moves. There are a couple of powers that the player can use to complete the level, but they’re are pretty restricted and require some money to purchase. If the player fails, one of his hearts is destroyed, and the level must be replayed. The hearts restore over time (a pretty long time, I should add), but of course, it’s possible to spend some money to purchase the additional hearts.

By this point, a pattern emerges. The game isn’t impossible, but it gets really difficult to complete the levels without resorting to the power-ups, or restarts, after the first 15 levels or so. Since this game is obviously for children, I can’t help but notice quite a cynical approach, especially when it’s mixed with the whimsical graphics and sounds.

So, while I tried to maintain a simple mind with Cinderella Free Fall, it’s just not good enough – especially for young children, who I can already imagine bouncing on their parents’ heads with demands to purchase some power-ups for a pretty unimaginative match-three clone. And it’s not even connected to the classic cartoon! Disney really should pick their gaming department up.

Runes of Camelot Review

Runes of Camelot Review

Feb 27, 2015

Camelot (of course) is our location and, of course, there ain’t no Camelot without Arthur. Amelia and Merlin are out to help the noble monarch save Camelot by thwarting the evil Morgana’s plans, and they do this with runes or special potions. To begin the game, one gets to choose a character, and each is said to have a unique storyline.

At its core, Runes of Camelot is a match-3 puzzle game. As such, the idea is to get a line of three or runes of the same color, horizontally or vertically. Getting three straight (via gesture swipe) dissolves the matched set, and they are replaced by pieces that fall from the top. The pieces are randomized, but any triples created from swaps also dissolve and are replaced. When a set of four pieces are formed, a diamond-looking rune with special powers is formed. These runes can be manipulated to create column shattering reactions that help finish levels. Regular matches yield special powers that are diverse and helpful in time crunches.

There are also a bunch of tricky pieces — blockers — that create havoc, and cannot be swapped. Working around them to drop them is an effective strategy, but easier said than done.

runes3

And yes, the game is leveled. Success in one generally unlocks the subsequent one.

One thing that makes the game interesting is that it is more than a set of mini-games; it has few other quick hitters up its sleeve. This definitely helps with regards to monotony, as there are reaction games (tapping ravens) and symbol-matching exercises (mixing potions). I also like the different type of boards, with atypical gimmicks: irregular boards, hidden pieces, aforementioned blocker pieces, boss battles and more. I do believe that this is the one game where paying attention to the tutorial is a good idea.

The graphics are simple but decent, as is the sound.

All in all, I admittedly liked it a bit more than I thought I would. The boss battles are the perfect culminations, and everything ties together quite well.

Luminux Review

Luminux Review

Jun 10, 2014

Luminix is a story of saving worlds pleasantly cloaked on match-3 robes.

The backstory is simple, but players should be happy to know that their efforts in this game go to keeping a solar system alive; matching the tiles releases energy that prevents disastrous cosmic meltdowns.

The gameplay deviates somewhat — positively — from “standard” match-3 gameplay. The playing area is a grid made to fit the square tile playing pieces in a 5 X 4 manner, and the luminescent tiles pop up randomly on the grid. The tiles themselves come in different colors: green, yellow, blue, purple and orange, and the key is to line up three or more sets of the same color to dissolve them, release energy and score points.

Moving the tiles to be matched can be done by tap, holding and dragging tiles to where one wants them to be. With lum2tiles popping up all over the place, quick movements are key, and it is also strategic to keep the board as empty as possible by matching early and often. Keeping holes open is another valuable concept, as it is tough to find space to manipulate movement when the board is filled up. Getting fixated on a color when the board is getting crowded can backfire too, as there are usually several possible combinations at any given time. As one progresses, the action gets wild, with quick, continual gestures needed to continue the matching which makes longevity possible.

If the board gets completely filled, the run is over, and points are tallied. When particular point thresholds are met, a player can level up, and it’s interesting how the game tells players how close they are to the next rank in percentage points.

I think the gesture controls are intuitive, but could use a sensitivity meter; landscape play functionality might also be welcome. All in all though, its simplicity is hard to dislike.

Dragon Academy — Path of the Elders Expansion Now Released

Dragon Academy — Path of the Elders Expansion Now Released

May 8, 2014

Dragon Academy 2

In the latest expansion to Dragon Academy, a free match-three puzzle game, the players get to meet the elder dragon in the new episode, Path of the Elders, play across 48 new levels, and hatch a new dragon, called Bloo. Dragon Academy is available for free from here: Dragon Academy on Google Play.

Jumping Heroes Review

Jumping Heroes Review

Apr 29, 2014

Jumping Heroes is a match-three game. If you don’t know how a match-three game works, welcome to the wonderful world of the future, filled with joy and micro-transactions. There’s a field, full of colored blocks that need to be switched, in order to create lines or rows of three or more blocks together that immediately disappear, making place for more colored blocks. Gameplay-wise, this particular game is more complex than other match-three arcades in exactly zero places. In fact, it’s even simpler than others – and frankly, I can’t say it’s a problem.

There is no description of the connection between player’s block-breaking business and the hero’s flying capabilities, but the relation is obvious. It doesn’t matter whether the blocks are destroyed in large quantities or not: the only thing that matters is that the player makes at least one connection every couple of seconds, until the bar above the game field completely goes away and the hero plummets to the ground. To be fair, there’s no indication that the so-called “heroes” have any heroic qualities. For all we know, they’re Jumping Heroes 3just jackasses in capes and a jetpack in their back. Anyway, the farther the player launches their jackass, the better score he gets.

Jumping Heroes has three difficulty levels: low, with just your basic match-three gameplay, medium, which I think is actually the hardest of the three and in which there are four square-wide glass frames on the field that won’t let the player swap the blocks inside with any surrounding blocks, and hard, in which one or two different rows get randomly hidden and locked down every half a minute. To compensate, the heroes have a special regenerating power that destroys three rows when activated.

Although Jumping Heroes lacks any depth or unlockable content, it also lacks any FTP mumbo-jumbo, just quietly playing ads in the bottom, without any interruptions to the game process. It’s a small, comfy arcade. It’s great to try and reach for the global high score with Google’s high score system, and is great to pass a couple of minutes. Underachieving is achieving, too.

Puzzle & Dragons Hits 3 Million Downloads, and Possibly More, Now That it Has a Colorblind Mode

Puzzle & Dragons Hits 3 Million Downloads, and Possibly More, Now That it Has a Colorblind Mode

Mar 14, 2014

Puzzle & Dragons 3

The popular match-three RPG Puzzle & Dragons has reached three millions downloads in North America, congrats to them! The game will also get a great update that will make it accessible for people with color vision deficiencies. The update will feature color adjustments for HP gauges, modified images, and changes to the element orbs. The game can be downloaded for free from here: Puzzle & Dragons on Google Play.

Bejeweled Blitz Update Brings Lovely New Features

Bejeweled Blitz Update Brings Lovely New Features

Feb 21, 2014

Bejeweled Blitz 3

New features for the casual match-three brick-breaker include a heart-shaped rare gem that red gems with special hearts, new starting boards to let the beginners get acquainted with the game, and an ability to win more coins after a level through a special cupid. Bejeweled Blitz can be downloaded for free from here: Bejeweled Blitz on Google Play.

Major Update To Alien Hive Released

Major Update To Alien Hive Released

Jan 16, 2014

Alien Hive 4

The new update to this quite unusual match-three puzzle features improved game balance and a completely revamped Boost System, as well as more powerful Supreme Aliens, and a Google Cloud Save feature, allowing people to play across several devices. The game is available for free from heree: Alien Hive on Google Play.

Farm Heroes Saga Review

Farm Heroes Saga Review

Jan 13, 2014

Farm Heroes Saga is a new match-three puzzle from the developers of Candy Crush Saga, where the player needs to collect fruits by matching them together. It’s a lot like other match-threes, only this one is about farming. So… There’s really nothing new or original about it. Not that it’s bad, though! I mean, apart from being absolutely creatively-dead.

The goal in each level of Farm Heroes Saga is to gather a set number of greens by combining them, minimum three at a time. As the player progresses, the requirements become more and more challenging. There is no time limit, only a limit on the number of moves. The player can get up to three stars, but unless he gathers enough crops, the level will be failed. Some of the tasks differ a bit, but the basic rules are always the same. The interesting feature in Farm Heroes Saga is that the crops around the gathered bunch get additional value, and will count as several units. For example, if the player matches three different tiles near the strawberry tile, and then matches it with other strawberries, it will count as four.

Of course, this being a free-to-play game, there are some limitations. While I’ve managed to complete levels for more thanFarm Heroes Saga 3 an hour without having to wait, after I’ve failed different levels a certain amount of times, I had to wait, while my “hearts” would recharge (this takes a while), or had to purchase them using gold – of course, it’s only purchasable with the real-world money. That said, the game doesn’t have any ads or other sneaky money-dragging mechanics, and could be very well enjoyed.

Personally, I found Farm Heroes Saga quite enjoyable, despite the annoying sounds that it’s filled with, and the utmost boredom that is its graphic design. The bonus point system is pleasant, and most often, the levels can be passed with one or two tries. It’s not better than all the other match-threes, but it’s no worse than them, either.

Puzzle & Dragons Collaborates With Batman: Arkham Origins Again

Puzzle & Dragons Collaborates With Batman: Arkham Origins Again

Dec 30, 2013

Puzzle & Dragons 2

Another update, featuring the caped crusader and his most popular villains, is introduced into Puzzle & Dragons, a free-to-play match-three monster-fighting game. Interestingly, it’s the second time the two universes collide. There are 11 new heroes and villains, including Joker, Catwoman, and Batman himself. The game can be downloaded for free here: Puzzle & Dragons on Google Play.

Candy Crush Saga Now Has A New Game World in Moonstruck Update

Candy Crush Saga Now Has A New Game World in Moonstruck Update

Dec 20, 2013

moonstruck03

A new update for the popular match-three sugar-coated game brings gamers into a whole new world of dreams. There’s a new character, and a new gameplay trick that requires crashing a specific kind of candies to keep the character balanced. Several new power-ups were also introduced to help the players complete new challenges. The game can be downloaded for free from here: Candy Crush Saga on Google Play.