Developer: Rhapsody Network Technology Co.Ltd
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 2.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

When a game has a name like Hollywood Fighter, it is hard to not imagine a scenario where legends of the silver screen are duking it out “Fight Club” style. Though this would make for a great game premise, in actuality Hollywood Fighter is a free-to-play match three game with a light online component thrown in for good measure. Yes, it is very weird. But for once, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

IMG_0285Most match 3 games revolve around finding combinations across an entire grid of glowy bits or gems. Hollywood Fighter deviates from this formula a bit and instead only offers the player a single teetering row of bricks, arranged like the most precariously stacked Jenga tower in history. The fighting mechanics involve sliding the aforementioned bricks, one at a time, from the left of the screen to the right, in a smooth throwing motion. This action launches the projectiles at the opposing combatant.

So where does the matching come in? Linking up combinations of three or more of the same color bricks meld together to form a single, more powerful block. The player continues to chain these combinations together to form a projectile that induces a potentially ever-increasing volume of damage upon impact. As the bricks begin to meld, they also take on power-up capabilities and special environmental effects like freezing the enemy into a giant block of ice or flipping their entire arena upside down.

IMG_0293As simplistic as Hollywood Fighter is, there is something viscerally pleasing about chucking what amounts to “death cubes” across a screen. The action ends up being both fast-paced and enjoyable, but it ultimately ends up lacking much challenge. Online functionality doesn’t help matters much, because the number of potential combatants available in the arena offer up a similarly low level of challenge.

If it weren’t for the blatant use of firearms, this would be a perfect game to occupy the attention of children while still teaching simple problem solving skills like matching colors and patterns. Unfortunately for adults, the repetitive combat will grow tiresome quickly. There are certainly worse ways to spend a half hour of iOS gaming, but Hollywood Fighter doesn’t offer anywhere near enough variety for a return visit.

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