If you've not been bitten by the Tsum Tsum bug yet, let me assure you in the words of Master Yoda, "You will be. YOU WILL BE."
There's something irresistibly cute about the stackable plush toys, so much so that people love them even when they are forced to do battle. You'll find them doing exactly that in Marvel Tsum Tsum,the latest release from XFLAG. Interestingly, you don't actually stack them, but you do match three or more and get them to unleash cool special abilities.
You won't find that in your average plush toy. Or maybe they're pillows, because that's how my wife uses her Hulk Tsum Tsum. In any case, if you'd like to get the basics of Marvel Tsum Tsum down, we've got the tips, tricks, and hints you need.
Match to clear
Yes, this is a match-3 game. But it's not quite like most you've played before.
Instead of a playing board or grid, the Tsum Tsum just sit on top of each other in a circular area, kind of like you threw them into your drier from the top down. You make matches by tracing a line connecting adjacent (or almost adjacent, as the game gives you some leeway for space in-between them) groups of three or more of the same character.
Simple matches clear them from the board, allowing more Tsum Tsums to drop down. Matches of seven or more create bombs, which you can detonate to clear out characters around it. Longer strings also leave coins, which you can use for various helpful purposes.
In most stages, you're racing the clock while trying to accomplish specific tasks and getting a score high enough to earn three stars. So speed is key.
Skills and Mega Charge
Every successful match helps fill two different meters. The first one is the skill meter, which is different for every hero and located in the bottom-left corner. When it fills, you can tap it to see a cool animation and a beneficial effect of some sort.
Skill meters only fill for the Tsum Tsum you actually own, but the Mega Charge meter fills with every match, regardless of character. When the Mega Charge is active, scores triple and the combo meter continues on. So it's extremely helpful when a high score is your primary objective.
Heading to Battle (Mode)
Every few stages, you'll get to battle another character. Battle Mode is still a race against the clock, but of a different sort. You can damage your opponent by clearing Tsum Tsum, or using bombs or skills.
Enemies attack every so often, and you can see how you're faring with the health meters at the top of the screen. Instead of Mega Charge, you get a Rush bar, which allows you to do extra damage when it is active. There's also a rock-paper-scissors relationship between characters of different types that you can exploit to your advantage.
Powering up your Tsum Tsum
Items called Boosters (they look like little stars) can be earned as rewards and used to level up your Tsum Tsum. Just tap the Tsum Tsum icon at the bottom of the main menu, tap on the Tsum Tsum you want to power up, then tap on the plus sign next to its experience bar.
Because this is a Marvel game, ISO-8 also makes an appearance. You can use it to increase the effectiveness of any Tsum Tsum's skill, or unlock other abilities. You'll need to find the right color for the right hero though.
You'll uncover more depth to Marvel Tsum Tsum as you play, but this should be more than enough to help you off to a great start. Good luck, and tell the Phil Coulson Tsum Tsum I said hi.