Developer: Social Titans LLC
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Pixel Defenders Puzzle is a really unique match 3 game with some strategy and combat. It’s refreshing to see an innovative concept in an otherwise saturated category. However, the game is pretty complex and requires a good bit of time to learn.

The game includes a series of really great interactive tutorial that explain the game mechanics. The basic idea is that at the beginning of each turn, players get a random unit to place. That unit can be placed in any square on a grid that is empty. The units can either be defenders or pixels. When 3 pixels of the same color are placed adjacently, they automatically merge to create a defender. Each color of pixel transforms into a unique and different defender. When 3 defenders are matched, they merge into a stronger defender, and 3 of those can be matched for an even better defender.

Each level also has a VIP who moves randomly and must be protected from enemies. Enemies stand at the top of the screen and try to kill the VIP. Each turn the player takes reduces an enemies turn count, and when it reaches zero, the enemy attacks.

While placing units and playing the game, players earn action points, which are critically important. The action points can be spent to make defenders do an action, such as attacking an enemy. One challenge players face is that when defenders have no more moves left, the turn into obstacles on the game board that have to be avoided.

Pixel Defenders Puzzle is definitely not a casual game. It takes a while to go through all three tutorials and learn the many aspects of the game. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly the type of game to try to play for 5 minutes. There is a learning curve and no one could just pick it up and intuitively know how to play. The complexity of the game does make for a really thought-provoking experience and always leads to many options for what to do.

The graphics are retro and reminiscent of the 8-bit era, but still look good. The music and sounds also compliment the art well.

Overall, Pixel Defenders Puzzle is a good mash-up of a match 3, strategy, and combat game. It’s not what a causal gamer looking to kill a few minutes will want, but for a more dedicated person, it could be exactly what they are looking for.

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