Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Puzzles games have been combined with everything from fighting games to mythic fantasy adventures. So it’s not like Puzzle Breaker's puzzle/role-playing mash-up is particularly shocking. What is shocking is just how well it manages to convey the feel of both genres.
Puzzle Breaker's 30 stages resemble enemy encounters from classic JRPGs. Everything from the first-person perspective, to the upbeat battle music, to the lively monster designs and animations feel ripped out of an early Dragon Quest game. However, instead of taking turns selecting actions from a menu, players match icons on the lower puzzle grid. Matching the right tiles launches attacks, restores health, and provides defensive buffs. Players don’t even have to make moves that immediately cause a match. They can just move a tile into a better position. However, they only get so many moves per turn before the monster’s attack so there’s a lot to consider.
The tense back-and-forth goes a long way towards making each skirmish feel like true combat instead of just rearranging colorful trinkets. In later, harder stages, even a single wrong move can spell disaster. Fortunately, players can enter a powered-up state usually once per round letting them perform way more combos. They’ll also occasionally find special, explosive tiles that deal extra damage and expand the board - opening up more matching opportunities. And if all else fails, players can just buy boosters to force their way through the game.
However, for all of its fun RPG trappings Puzzle Breaker really is just a match-3 puzzle game. It doesn’t have the depth of something like Puzzle Quest, which balances its genres a bit more effectively. There’s no exploration, just the 30 battle stages which don’t take too long to complete. Epic grandeur is the biggest RPG hallmark the game is missing.
Still, anyone who is just looking for a match-3 puzzle game should give Puzzle Breaker a shot. Think of it as an action-packed brain teaser, not a puzzling action game.