Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
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Sometimes a game doesn't have to do anything particularly new, innovative or original to still be a heck of a lot of fun to play. 7 Wonders HD is one such game. You've seen all of this before; it's another match three game, a la Bejeweled, but in this case the game is themed around building the famous structures of the ancient world and you have to match a large series of three colored runes in each level in order to keep construction on schedule. As is traditional, there are several ways to earn power-ups along the way, whether it's a lightning ball (clears one horizontal level of runes) for matching four runes or a fireball (clears a vertical and a horizontal level of runes) for matching five.
Unlike the traditional Bejeweled model of gameplay, where you only get one "life" that is forfeit if you can't make a match, in 7 Wonders you have three lives at your disposal, but these can be lost in more than just one way. Besides not being able to make a match, you are also on a timer for each level. Run out of time and you lose a life. 7 Wonders focuses on speed, as you generate workers for your building projects each time you make a match. If you take too much time to make a match, workers will go on strike and it will take you longer to complete your wonder. Your workers are nicely animated at the bottom of the screen, and when they strike they begin shaking picket signs at you. It's a simple, but clever, touch, and one that keeps the theme firmly in place throughout the game.
Cornerstones and capstones of your building project also show up in the rune grid from time to time, and these necessary construction components must be moved to the bottom of the screen in order to be used by your workers. Again, this is an effective tie-in to the theme and adds another layer of strategy to the game.
7 Wonders looks and sounds great, with colorful, well-animated graphics and music that, while a bit repetitive, never really becomes annoying. Gameplay is also enhanced by allowing players to use the iPad's multitouch display to make multiple matches simultaneously. This is a welcome update to the conventional control of a match three game, and certainly helps in levels where you are feeling a time crunch.
If you are already disposed to like match three games, you will really enjoy 7 Wonders. There's enough new here to make it seem fresh, and those elements that are repetitive are so well executed it's hard to complain about them. If you're looking for a good introduction to the genre, or if you want a strong match three game on your iPad, you can't go wrong with 7 Wonders.