Developer: Mobage
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 3.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

It’s interesting how puzzles games, typically the most peaceful video games available, have become a bit more war-like in recent days. For every regular match-three game there seems to be another that somehow throws battle mechanics into the gem-matching mix. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Matching jewels, cookies, and candy has a universal appeal, but sometimes we need a little strategy. A little blood.

World of Thingies: Puzzle from Mobage is a match-three puzzle game with literal teeth and claws. Matching up animal faces on-screen helps fuel a savage monster war that’s chock-full of biting and scratching. The match-three element of the game is likewise competitive, making World of Thingies: Puzzle a fast-paced and addictive title overall. There are some free-to-play trappings that get in the way of the action, however.

thingies_04thingies_01World of Thingies: Puzzle takes place in a weird universe full of weird beings called Thingies. A villain with the awesome name of “Bossy Badsacks” has stolen a whole pack of Thingies and plans to sell them on the Internet. Players must travel across Landiland (another word that’s fun to say) and retrieve the weird little beasties.

World of Thingies: Puzzle pits players against other players, as well as occasional computer-controlled bosses. Each player commands a stable of Thingies, which have their power levels built up through the short match-three portion of the game. All that stored-up power is discharged in the second half of the battle, wherein the pumped-up Thingies tear at each others’ fuzzy throats.

The more points the player scores during the match-three round, the stronger their Thingies become. That’s why it’s important to out-do rivals – a feat that’s made easier with the game’s hilarious power-ups. “Distraction” is probably the best one. When it’s used, a cat video appears on the rival’s screen. Attempting to close it brings up several “Are you sure?” pop-ups. It’s an infuriating setback to deal with, but still funny to be on the receiving end of.

thingies_02thingies_03While going head-to-head with other players in World of Thingies: Puzzle is fun, the boss fights are far less enjoyable. They’re usually paired with stipulations for victory – score a certain amount of points before the screen floods, destroy letter tiles – and the action moves at a blistering pace, leaving the defeated player to wonder what the heck just happened.

To make things worse, every battle in World of Thingies: Puzzle requires a “cup of coffee.” Players are given only a small stash of the stuff and they burn through it in no time, especially when they’re up against a boss. This coffee system damages the game’s pacing; it’s pretty disappointing, especially now that almost every free-to-play puzzle game has adopted King’s method of taking away a life only after the player fails a stage.

World of Thingies: Puzzle is packed with character and action, but it’s also packed with the long waits that are synonymous with free-to-play games. Visit Monster Island at thine own risk.


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