I know what you're thinking. "Another match-3 RPG? We've seen these before."
That's certainly true. Match-3 has proven to be a very popular mechanic for RPGs of all types, and even the trappings of Hibernum's Saber's Edge -- a crew of pirates that has a flying ship -- may seem familiar.
Still, spending a little time with this one suggests that it's selling the game short to simply lump it in with what's come before. Not only does Saber's Edge have an intriguing story that plays out gradually after each completed quest, but it offers a deeper RPG experience than you might first suspect.
We're happy to guide you through your first steps into this world of pirates and soul stones, so read on for all the Saber's Edge tips, tricks, and hints you can rattle a saber at. And yes, that's kind of horrible English. Sorry for that.
Match-3, but there's more
Every character in your party of pirates has his or her own board, upon which you'll find four groups of symbols: melee attack, ranged attack, special, and faction. Once a character's action bar fills up (that's the one underneath the health bar), it will be up to you to draw a line between three or more like symbols, connecting them horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
When there's a flashing symbol on either edge of the screen, you can create a combo with another character by making a match that ends with that symbol. It's often wiser to pass up a slightly longer individual chain to pull off a combo, though since you don't control what symbols get matched from the next character, there's an element of chance to it as well.
Every character also has special symbols that will occasionally pop up as well. These can be matched to normal symbols of the same color to produce status effects on the targeted enemy -- stuns, offense debuffs, etc. You can switch the target at any time simply by tapping on a different opponent.
Finally, bonus currency symbols will appear on every character's board on occasion. You can collect them by making matches that cause them to drop all the way to the bottom of the board, though you don't actually receive them until you win the battle.
Keys are the key (to more loot)
Rewards in Saber's Edge come in the form of chests that you earn keys to open. You'll find them by tapping on the 'Treasures' icon at the bottom of any screen.
Armory Packs and Heroic Packs are available every few hours for free. Spending doubloons (for the former) and gems (for the latter) is also possible if you don't currently have any keys and don't want to wait for the timers to expire.
The chests yield a variety of rewards, including XP boosts, equipment, and shards that you need to unlock new characters or promote the ones you already have (think Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes or other similar games). Buying the Heroic Packs in bulk guarantees you a certain number of shards and a new hero unlock, so it's not a bad idea to save your gems and go for the 30-card bundle.
Improve your crew
As quests get more difficult, you'll need to improve your crew members to keep pace. There are several ways to do so, and none are particularly difficult.
- Level up - The simplest form of improvement is simply to level up crew members, increasing their base stats. Characters receive XP automatically after successful battles, and the process can be sped up with XP boost cards. Note that a crew member's level can't exceed your overall reputation rank.
- Skills - Leveling up a crew member's skills increases the effectiveness of the corresponding symbols on the game board. Skills can't outpace the character's level, and you'll need to spend increasing numbers of doubloons each time.
- Equipment - Every character has six equipment slots where you can equip one of five different levels of gear. Each piece of equipment grants a specific bonus, and once an entire tier has been filled out, you can promote the entire set to the next higher tier. The Forge -- accessed using the anvil icon -- allows you to take six unwanted pieces of equipment of the same rarity and use them to create one higher tier of a specific item. Equipment uses a pretty common succession of colors to indicate its rarity and power: white, green, blue, purple, and orange, in that order
Ahoy for rock-paper-scissors
There are five different factions in Saber's Edge, each of which is stronger against one other particular faction and weaker against another. You won't need to memorize the chart early on to find success, but as the battles grow tougher and you find yourself unable to always have your characters maxed out at all times, it's going to come in handy.
Unfortunately, it's not as intuitive to remember as in some games that use elements or something similar, but if you simply refer to the image above, you'll have no problem keeping the relationships straight. You can bring that same image up in-game by tapping the shield icon in the upper-right corner of the screen before you begin a battle.