At first glance, Drop 7 would appear to be just another tile-matching game. While this puzzler does involve placing tiles in such a way that it and others might disappear, it is completely set apart from the large crowd of lookalikes. Whether you like the somewhat mindless fun matching 3 or not, the things that make this game so unique might just win you over.
Originally developed by Area/Code Entertainment, the Drop 7 now carries the Zynga brand name along with the team that created it. Unlike other titles stamped with that little red dog, this one isn’t hampered by microtransactions or unnecessary social hooks. It’s three bucks, which seems steep for such a straight-forward puzzle game with so little flair, but the price of admission is worth it, if you like a good challenge
Demanding much more of your brain than most of it’s kin, the game asks players to drop number numbered circles onto a grid, one at a time, attempting to place the tile in a spot where either the row or the column it lands in will then have the number of tiles in it that matches the one in the bubble. For instance, if you’re given a four, you’ll want to try and drop it in a place where it can land fourth from the bottom of the screen or touch a group of only three sequential tiles of any sort in the same horizontal line. As difficult as Drop 7 is to explain, it’s far more difficult to master.
As I’m sure anyone who is aware of their existence knows, the people at Adult Swim are a little off their rocker. Their zany rapport shines through in the games they pump out as well. GameWoof reviewed their title Robot Unicorn Attack recently, but this title, Super Monsters Ate My Condo, may not only be even weirder than Robot Unicorn Attack, but so insanely fun, you’ll find yourself a glutton for it.
Super Monsters Ate My Condo is a sequel game to the Adult Swim game Monsters Ate My Condo, which is also available on Google Play for 99 cents. The joint effort by game studio Pik Pok and Adult Swim is a merciless fast paced match 3 style game where different colored condos and other assorted objects fall from the sky in a Condo Tower while two lovable looking but menacing mutants approach from each side hungering for their color of condo. Players have a set amount of time to score a bajillion points (or complete whatever goals for that level) before the building completely implodes and quite literally, the fat lady sings. No, for real, at the end of the level, a voluptuous women in full Viking gear sings her best opera ballad. Joining her is your game’s “MC”, a rather manly looking finger done up in Geisha make up. Because, you know, that’s a thing…
Over the years we’ve all been indoctrinated in to thinking we know how games work, and most of the time we’re right. Can you really say that one racing game controls radically differently than the last one? Steer left and right to go in the direction you want. Press button to go forwards. We’ve become accustomed to a certain way of doing things in games that they just seem natural.
Once Mario 64 cracked the 3d platformer, no one messed with the formula, and when Medal of Honor appeared on the scene, it laid down the rules for twin stick FPS’s, which have stayed intact to this day. So when a game type so entrenched in popular gaming as the match-three puzzle, is rejigged the way that the brilliantly titled (and search engine unfriendly) 10000000 does it, the new spin on the genre had better be worth breaking from what we’re used to, or risk alienating it’s audience.
Eighty Eight Games’ first foray in to the games market distinguishes itself immediately with the retro styled graphics. I don’t mean cute enhanced fake 16-bit cartoony sprites or even the sparse pixel art of a Mega Man. 10000000 goes all the way back to something akin to what you would find on an old Atari console. It challenges you to like it from the outset, and if you’re not open to the ultra blocky art style then you may be turned off enough not to experience the game. If however you’re like me and grew up on the likes of Pitfall and Jet Set Willy (yup, that’s a real game) you’ll get that tingle of nostalgia as the chirpy chiptunes kick in and your character jumps out of bed with a digital “boing.”
It’s not difficult to find a good match-three game these days. Every mobile marketplace is flush with different iterations on the theme, some keeping it simple and streamlined and others adding on additional systems to give the endless puzzle more purpose. Dungeon Raid takes the latter approach and does it’s best to enable the mind to run away on a fantasy RPG adventure while the finger drags across groups of identical tiles to delete them.
Although initially compelling me to strategically match tiles for hours at a time, the addiction to random items and upgrades eventually abated, revealing a somewhat broken system that required more time investment to see than necessary. Okay, that sounded really negative. I had fun with a lot of Dungeon Raid, I really did, but once I started to peek behind the curtain, I didn’t like what I found.
With smartphones and tablets becoming more and more capable all the time, there is a tendency toward more and more complicated mobile games. With 7×7, developer Kiip Inc. rejects this trend, recognizing that there are still very simple ideas left that make for interesting gameplay. The three-character-long name is indicative of a lot about this slimmed-down puzzle experience. No leaderboards, alternate modes, or unlockables, just good match-four fun.
Of course, matching a few similarly colored blocks together to remove them is not a new mechanic, but this game takes that in an interesting direction. The board starts out with only three tiles on the seven by seven grid and leaves the rest empty. Every time you move a piece without creating a string of four or more horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, it adds three random colored tiles. You can move any tile to a position on the board that is not obstructed by other tiles. Basically, if you imagine the grid as board game, you could slide tiles around, but not pick them up to move them.
Triple Town has had quite a history before arriving to Android. It started life as a Facebook game and quickly endeared itself to the casual audience that platform attracts. It won several awards naming it the best game on the social network. Then there was the infamous lawsuit against the makers of the game Yeti Town, which developers Spryfox accused of wholesale cloning their app.
You might scoff at the proposition of a casual game being ripped off, seeing as it’s pretty much a common place occurrence. Even titans such as Angry Birds and Bejewelled show little true originality, and I’m sure people have spotted similarities between Zuma and Luxor franchises. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen those two in the same room together. With Yeti Town however it was very clear that the game was a direct lift, as Triple Town offered a unique twist on the match-three genre. Spryfox rightly won the case and gained ownership of the doppelganger app.
I consider myself a hardcore gamer. I’ve navigated through waves of bullet-hell shooters, defeated cheap over-powered fighting game bosses; I’ve watched and wept as Aeris died in Final Fantasy 7 (oops, spoiler alert) and headshotted with the best of them in Counter Strike–but I have never been faced with a challenge like Candy Crush Saga. The devious minds behind this match three arcade puzzler have transferred their addictive little gem over to mobile devices from it’s original home on the ubiquitous Facebook. Be prepared to invoke the ire of your friends as you repeatedly harass them to give you more lives, as the all the established Facebook free-to-play mechanics are seamlessly integrated in this version.
I’ve put countless hours in to this game. I’m hopelessly addicted to games of this type and instantly download a new contender for Bejewelled’s crown as soon as they pop up, only to be instantly disappointed by derivative gameplay. Candy Crush Saga is one of the better designed games in the genre, bringing genuine innovation to an increasingly stale genre. So why haven’t I given this game a perfect score? It meets all the requirements for a classic game, but it commits a serious transgression of it’s relationship with the gamer, which ironically is the reason that it’s one of the most financially successful apps on the Play store.
There are a lot of variations of the same simple idea, and then there are unique ways to combine those simple ideas into something even better. Imagine if you will, a game where the worlds of Digimon / Pokemon meet those of Bejeweled; creature collecting and battling meets match 3 jewels style games. Intrigued by this idea? Then Puzzle and Dragons will be your kind of game. While it has gathered some steam in Asia, Puzzle and Dragons has yet to catch on in North America. Surprising, given the popularity of both genres this game combines.
Puzzle and Dragons (Or PAD as it’ll show up in your Google device upon install) matches most of the experiences you’d get from playing Pokemon on your Nintendo handheld (creature collecting, logging, fighting various other creatures based on creature type and element) while also giving you the entertainment from Match 3 games like Bejeweled. Only matching jewels will allow your set of creatures to battle other creatures. Unlike Pokemon where the battles are one on one, because of the varied jewels you have to work with, battles can consist of multiple monsters versus the number of creatures you have in your active queue. The battle layout, in terms of enemies verses your Dragons is more like Final Fantasy than it is Pokemon. If you play the jewels correctly, you can score massive combos, allowing multiple allied creatures of either similar element types or different to attack opponents all at once. Like in Pokemon, different elements work good or poor against other elements, such as water works great against fire creatures. Knowing which works against what will be vital in assembling a balanced creature team in order to fight opponents. PAD also lets you add another player’s creature to your creature queue to aid in attacks. After a level is complete, you may add that person as a friend for further socialization and combined attacks.