Lets just face facts and admit that as much as we would like to believe otherwise, the “match three” puzzle game is here to stay. The success of the gametype could be chocked up to everything from its simple to grasp concepts to the use of bright colors and often flashy animations, but the problem is that no developers are willing to mess with the formula. Hoping to take the nauseatingly stagnant bull by the proverbial horns, a new game named Virus Strike looks to change all of that in one quick swoop of their handkerchief. How are they hoping to breath new life into the stagnant genre? The answer is simple: give it a personal touch. Well, line drawing controls at least.
While much of the competition fumbles with fake analog sticks and gimmicky finger shuffling, Vertigo Software may be onto something with their unique new line drawing scheme that has more in common with Flight Control than it does Tetris. To help you better wrap your brain around how this awesomely simple schema works, glance over the brief gameplay footage below:
After viewing that video, I think it would be reasonable to assume that we have never controlled a “match three” in quite this manner. This may be the kind of change that has been needed for quite some time. Though, I do have to say that I have some concerns over the precision of the above methods; if nothing else, it will give a much needed change of pace that could further drive innovation.
Place your bets on how long these controls are exclusively in Virus Strike. Sadly, I am guessing it will be not long at all before someone from a larger publisher “borrows” it. However, the genre may be better off because of it. Be sure to give credit where it is deserved and take the innovator out for a test spin. The game will only stay free for a limited time.
I know the pieces fit, ’cause I watched them fall away.
On This Episode:
Carter speaks to Jakub Majewski and Tomasz Strezlczyk of Vivid Games about the upcoming Speedball 2: Evolution, discussing what they’re doing to modernize the game while keeping the game true to its roots, and how they’re handling development across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and PSN Minis.
Carter talks to Gavin Bowman, discussing not only Retro Dreamer’s new puzzle game Linkoidz, but also about the recent sale of Chillingo to EA.
Who We Are:
Host: Carter Dotson
Guests: Jakub Majewski and Tomasz Strezlczyk, Vivid Games
If you don't have a Bejeweled-style game yet, Babo Crash is a good choice. The lack of additional modes and innovation keep it from being a must-have, but the fast tempo and new power-ups should please genre fans nevertheless.
iPhone gamers who’ve been trawling the App Store for a while might remember when the first chapter of Puzzle Quest made it debut. The popular match-3 / RPG mashup has been a huge hit on the DS and PSP, but the initial iPhone port was sloppy, overpriced, and almost impossible to play. Thankfully, those problems were addressed after the release, and the second chapter was added as a free update to Chapter 1. However, Puzzle Quest is a three-chapter game…and now, a year after the second chapter’s release, the full experience is finally available to play.
You can purchase the third chapter as an in-app purchase for $1.99 if you own the paid version, but I recommend you go with the lite if you don’t own Puzzle Quest yet. Not only can you get a feel for the game, but you can purchase all three chapters for a bargain $4.99 in-app. Yes, you’ll be stuck with “free” on the game’s icon…but it’ll save you two bucks!
Puzzle Quest is really a great title—despite its simplicity, the balance of light RPG elements like spells and attacks mixes very well with match-3 gameplay. Quests require you to “battle” certain monsters in match-3 face-offs, and if the plot is unimaginative, at least the game is addicting! If you’re a fan of Bejeweled and its ilk, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. Even if you don’t particularly love match-3′s, Puzzle Quest is still fun.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 10th, 2010 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: GREAT PUZZLER
Tetryon is a fun take on match-3 bringing with its immersive visuals and solid game play. While it does try to be match-3, some of its in-game restrictions and methods make for much more interesting and challenging gameplay.
Colorix, a kicked-up Tetris/Columns game has taken the leap from Android and is now available on the iPhone.
Colorix from Portuguese developer Awesome Software has done something few games have. They’ve taken the jump from the Android marketplace to the iPhone App Store. The game has been a top selling game on the Android, we’ll have to see how it does on the App Store.
Colorix isn’t your normal match 3 game, more in the style of Columns than Tetris with a few extra twists thrown in. It’s taken to the next level. Wonderfully rendered and amazingly smooth graphics.
The game does require some extra strategy if you want to make it onto the global high scores list though. You need to know the game extras, the patterns and sequences that you get extra points for. Then you have to do the hard part and actually set up the board for those patterns. Oh yeah, and you have to keep from losing too.
Well worth a try if you are a fan of a good, casual, match-3 game. There’s a good tutorial included along with local and global high scores. There’s also a lite version available, give it a try.
Gelex is not your average match-3 game. Not in many ways. For one, it’s a bouncy, physics based Tetris like game, but the main reason is that it was developed by an 78 year old grandmother of 5, Maria Bila.
The game itself is a match-3 game that uses bouncy tetriminos that you can control for a certain amount of time as they fall. The goal is to match 3 of the same color in any formation. Obviously the more you match, the more points. After playing a few times, I’ve found the game rather satisfying. it’s fun to be able to bounce the pieces into each other and have them force new matches. Satisfying indeed.
There do seem to be some odd game design issues, ones that I’m sure will get fixed. For one the pieces need to touch sides, touching a corner of a square to another pieces is not good enough. Another oddity is if the falling piece is above the cut off line, the game is over even if it hasn’t landed yet. There are some other oddities — I’ve had the game end for no apparent reason.
Now here’s the best news, the game is free for launch right now, so grab it while you can. I’m sure it will improve, and even with the issues above, it is a rather fun take on a match-3 game.
At both E3 and WWDC, we had a chance to talk with Stuart Duncan from Canadian gaming studio, Bight Games. They have a number of games coming out this year for the iPhone, published by Sonic Boom.
Tower Defense + Giant 50′s Horror Movie Bugs = Kill All Bugs
Kill All Bugs is a tower defense game with a great 50s monster movie feel. This TD game differs from others in that it is much less complex in the setup, but perhaps more complex in the strategy. You only have 3 different towers that are not upgradable. Their unique power is in their ability to work together to increase their power when placed in certain formations.
Another unique feature is that the bugs in the game are a little smarter than your usual TD enemies. They, apparently, will have the ability to avoid defenses or find the route that will damage them the least.
We should see this game soon as the expected release date is mid to late June. Take a look at the preview trailer below for a better idea of how the game plays.
Puzzlings is a match 3 type game with lots of twists and a huge collection element. As you play the game you will unlock various clothing items that you can dress your character up with. There are literally thousands of different combinations you can create once you unlock all of the items. The actual game play itself looks like your typical match-3 game, but there are some interesting combos and different matching methods you can do that might breath a little more life into the genre. Continue reading E3 Wrap-up: Canadian Game Studio Bight Games Bringing It Big to the iPhone »
Aurora Feint II: Arena Daemons is a complex, compelling match-3 with actual depth, featuring many multiplayer features and quite a bit of strategy. While it's plagued with crashes and will drain your battery, the actual game is excellent.
In Dapple, instead of swapping blocks, you have to use your paints to blend new colors and clear clusters of four or more. It's a fun new take on the color-matching formula that requires some new strategies and makes for loads of fun. If it weren't for the price, Dapple could be a real hit.