Weekend Download:
Match-3 edition


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Weekend Download

JohnBSometimes a formula just works, and in the case of the tried-and-true matching setup, we've seen it work time and time again. This edition of Weekend Download highlights a few new games that take the matching to a new level with interesting twists on the old convention.

saqqarah.jpgAncient Quest of Saqqarah (Windows, Mac, 27MB, demo) - First things first: this game is gorgeous. I don't mean just spiffy or even really good looking, I mean crisp, clear, eye-popping gorgeous. The presentation of this Egyptian-themed match-3 game is stunning on every level, from the art design to the lighting/smoke effects, the interface, and even the voice acting. Technical achievements aside, in Ancient Quest of Saqqarah you solve sets of puzzles across themed temples and unlock new spells and games along the way. No boring grids here, instead you make matches across the curvy lines to highlight every section of the puzzle. But the fun doesn't stop there, as Saqqarah packs half a dozen types of matching games, one per temple, to keep things lively. Even if matching games aren't your thing, Ancient Quest of Saqqarah will capture your interest.

puzzlehero.jpgPuzzle Hero (Windows, 32MB, demo) - After the overwhelming success of Puzzle Quest and Bookworm Adventures, several casual games have been released to help establish the puzzle/RPG hybrid genre. Spandex Force is a good example of this, and now Puzzle Hero comes along with its own style of genre mixing, though this effort is notably less inventive than its cousins. Swap tiles at the bottom of the screen to attack and defeat a string of foes. Earn gold to buy new equipment, learn spells, and level up your character to increase your overall awesomeness. The role playing elements aren't as fleshed out as they could be be, making the Puzzle Hero experience much more Bejeweled-esque than Hero-esque, but the skeleton is there and there are some interesting components that make it fun to play around with.

19 Comments

Brandinat0r Author Profile Page June 29, 2008 6:05 AM

I dislike puzzle games etc, but I'd like to note that Puzzle Hero is free today at
http://game.giveawayoftheday.com/

Cheers!

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Just a note: downloading/using this "free" version of Puzzle Hero prevents you from getting future game updates and technical support.

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I guess you could say that even 'free' comes with a price. xD

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Free stuff=Awesome

This rule applies everywhere. Thanks for the tip Brandinat0r. :D

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What, seriously? Two weekend downloads (7 games) without a single Mac game? COME ON!

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>:(

Hey, don't kill the messenger!

We don't build the games, we just deliver the news about them. Go tell the developers to make more games that run natively on Mac OS X, because many just aren't doing it.

(If you were a game developer what platform would *you* develop for? This one here that over 90% of the market owns, or this one over here with less than 10%?)

And if you ARE a game developer reading this, there are plenty of Mac developers out there who would love to port your game over to Mac OS X so all us Mac users can play natively on our computers, too!

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Jay--I made a quick trip to the Apple Store and found a matching game that has been added in the last week and a half that could have been included here.

If I were a game developer, I would probably be making flash games, so the question is moot--but I also think those numbers are very old. Mac is coming back with a vengeance and there is clearly SOMEONE making Mac games because I download new stuff all the time (that is AT LEAST as good as the stuff available for PCs).

Maybe the solution is for me to volunteer to review new downloads from the Apple folks. As a grad student, I've just been afraid that I wouldn't have the time to commit, but maybe I could do one review a week. You tell me.

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We would love to have you finding Mac games for us to feature, and a review from you as well would be great! You're hired! \o/

Oh, and I wrote this in the other Weekend Download post:
(Factoid: Mac users make up 8% of visitors to JIG)

EDIT: by the way, just because there EXISTS a Mac matching game that was recently made available, doesn't mean we would recommend it. We're not just a news site, and we don't just post anything that comes available. If we have to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get a Mac-compatible game up, we would rather pass.

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I played Ancient Quest of Saqqarah yesterday. As great as the visuals are, I find it weird that a Match 3 game would shout at me. I half expected that WWF mascot would say, "Good! Now break that folding chair over your opponents' back!"

I can just imagine what that game crew will come up with in the future. Death Race Mahjong. Doom Chess. World Of Warcraft Wedding Dash.

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Hahaha! Those are great game titles, Corona! xD

*jots down notes in his game design ideas notebook*

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dsrtyrosy: If I were a game developer, I would probably be making flash games, so the question is moot--but I also think those numbers are very old. Mac is coming back with a vengeance and there is clearly SOMEONE making Mac games because I download new stuff all the time (that is AT LEAST as good as the stuff available for PCs).

The biggest problem with what you wrote is the obvious bias in that last sentence. The Mac games are all "AT LEAST" as good as the Windows games? Give me a break. There are far fewer Mac games, and it isn't because the Mac developers work so much harder and refuse to release trash. I have no doubt that there are some games that are as good or better than your average Windows game, but simply being on the Mac doesn't automatically make them better.

I don't think Jay or his staff are a part of some large anti-Mac conspiracy. There are fewer games, and the amount of reviews of Mac games are probably more proportionate than you think.

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Ben--I didn't say they were better. I made that comment because PC users are always trashing Mac games. Every game I download is AT LEAST AS GOOD as any game I've ever downloaded on my PC. I don't spend a lot of money, so I'm usually looking for free stuff, and I have found the offerings to be pretty good.

Jay, I find it hard to believe that only 8% of JIG users are on Macs when so many Mac users comment! We must just be a really chatty demographic!

John, I know you try to have at least one Mac game per week, but I was just kind of shocked at how easy it was to find a matching game of at least equal quality to those listed that wasn't included. Maybe it's an update and it was reviewed here before...I'll check it out.

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dstrosy - is your evaluation "of at least equal quality" determined by looking at screenshots? Or have you actually played the games we're talking about here?

Just curious.

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nycavedweller Author Profile Page June 29, 2008 10:19 PM

I just happened upon this Mac games discussion as I was looking for a place on JIG to ask about Mac games -- not directly connected to your current discussion, but at least it's recent. I've been reading JIG reviews, walkthroughs., enjoying lots of your links to great online games for probably a couple of years and really enjoy your site.

Just recently, I found the Casual Gameplay site with Mac game downloads. It's not every day that there's a whole section of Mac games listed anywhere new. Very excited, I downloaded a couple, only to discover I can't use them. Apparently you've shut out us OSX 10.3 users, even on games that I've played previously from other sites and quite a few that I own. I realize older OS's won't be supported forever, but don't understand why with discussions like those above about the limited availability of Mac games, that further reduction is caused by changing OS requirements. Certainly it's a far newer OS than Windows 95 which is still supported by many of your download games! There are very recent game releases (i.e. Virtual Villagers 3) that are available from other sites (including the developer!) that I can use. Is there a technical reason you don't make them available, or do you assume all Mac users are only using the latest and greatst?

By the way, I too, am surprised about your 8% Mac user number. I've had a Mac for years (started with the original little one piece Mac "box.") Don't even remember what it was called, but wish I still had it for "antique" collection! Anyway, over the last year or so, I know of an awful lot of people who've purchase Macs -- either totally switched over, or use both. I'm sure my limited data on this can't be unique to my acquintances. Please don't forget us or limit us more than necessary. Thanks! And thanks for your great site and all the info you make avilable.

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I am actually comparing the kinds of games I play to games I've played on PCs (a generalization). No, I didn't play the games listed here because I no longer play on a PC at all if I can help it--my PC mostly gathers dust as it has become basically obsolete in my work, but the games were/are never anything special in comparison to Mac games (again, a generalization).

The one game I found this morning is both a PC and Mac title and when I downloaded the demo it met all the marks of quality discussed here. I don't see any lowering of quality in Mac games, whether they cross platforms or are specifically designed for Mac. That's my point! I'm not trying to be a jerk.

In regards to my earlier note to John, I noticed that it is one you've already reviewed on your other site, and I don't know what your policy is on keeping the content separate.

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nycavedweller - It is most likely the DRM wrapper that is put around the game that requires at least 10.4 to run. It's not up to me.

Have you tried running one of the demos with 10.3 to verify that it's not possible?

Big Fish also has decent support for Mac games, and their OS requirement is a bit less restrictive. You may want to stick with them until you have a chance to upgrade.

With Leopard out now and stable for months, your Panther OS is now two versions behind. Is there something that prevents you from upgrading?

We have 3 Macs here at the house all running Leopard, and haven't had a problem with them at all: One MacBook, one Powerbook, and one Mac Pro.

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nycavedweller Author Profile Page June 30, 2008 4:58 PM

Jay, Yes, I've tried some of the 10.4 games and they don't open. I don't know who it is dependent upon if not you, because as I said, some of the games I own and/or have played elsewhere that have 10.3 DRM wrapper, b ut on Casual Gameplay, it's 10.4. Some, like Virtual Villagers, don't have a DRM wrapper, but are "magically" transformed to 10.4. How? Maybe your 10.4 computers are automatically updating the games? If so maybe you could get the games with 10.3? Just a thought. Check out LDW's website for requirements -- it's 10.3. And yes, Big Fish still supports 10.3 so they're my main source. All Mac games on Big Fish are 10.3 useable.

I'm not sure my iMac is all the upgradeable and other than this problem, I haven't found a reason to upgrade.

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