The graphic presentation is fairly simple, but this is a deceptively deep Dr. Mario-style puzzler with a unique color-matching mechanic. Whenever you make a match, you leave behind a ball of a new color, and your job is to work your way up to the top of the rainbow scale. This adds a lot more gameplay dimension than you'd expect, and once you get into it, you will be hooked, trying to make that last couple of levels. Definitely give Combine a chance.
4 Elements combines classic puzzle matching gameplay with a hidden object game and just a dash of fairy tale fantasy for good measure. Help restore the power of the elements to protect the land from an evil power.
A mash-up of casual gameplay from the match-3 and RPG genres, Knightfall plays like a cross between Mr. Driller, Same Game and Puzzle Quest. It's a well-balanced and well-executed game with a fun story mode and an unlimited purgatory mode to keep you coming back for more. Achievements add to the addictive quality that Knightfall will bestow upon you.
Unwell Mel is a light-hearted and humorous match-3 puzzle game. In the grid comprised of Mel's organs (some of which are shaped like dogs and birds, which we'll assume is normal), click two adjacent pieces of food to swap them and form a line of three in a row to clear them. Thrown in with the food are medical packs, which can restore your power-ups, and bugs that, in some instances, actually help you clear away disease.
Dreamsdwell Stories is a unique match-3 type puzzle game with some strategy game (as in the village building variety such as Totem Tribe or Westward III) elements that build into the experience. Wrapped in a package of crisp, sometimes beautiful, graphics and catchy theme music, the core of Dreamsdwell will have you enjoying the game for hours.
Boonka is a cute, kid-safe and surprisingly challenging puzzle game with unique gameplay that combines strategy, timing and satisfying explosions. A luscious green paradise has been invaded by Skours, nasty black clouds who cut down trees and turn the whole world grey, chasing away the adorable rainbow-coloured Boonkas and generally being total downers. The sage Bababoonka introduces you to each tree, and gently encourages you through the process of growing them from a stunted stump to a magnificent specimen of hardwood by doing what you do best: making color matches and blasting them skywards!
They call him Mr. Sweets. He makes a living selling delicious candy to children with the help of music and a match-three puzzle game, developed by SKT Products. Make combos with magical expanding candy and fill up the customer's happiness meter! It's hard to bring a new twist to a classic and do it well, but SKT know what they're doing.
Your goal is to build stacks of animals as high as you can. Combine identical animals along with their favorite food and they begin to breed, multiplying their number and pushing your totem even higher. Each animal interacts differently with others, so learning their relationships is key to creating massive stacks of animals.
Bejeweled Twist is PopCap's latest installment in the well-recognized series. Instead of clicking a single tile and then choosing an adjacent space to move it to, Bejeweled Twist turns your cursor into a 2x2 circle that spins its contents one quarter turn clockwise. The result is a new kind of match 3 that's fresh and fun all over again.
Jump Jump Jelly Reactor is a matching puzzle game that isn't afraid to try out new ideas. Instead of flat and boring blocks, tiles or even gems, this game fills your screen with lively jellies that can be combined to form larger characters with brand new properties. Gameplay is a unique combination of strategy and puzzle matching that extends a good variety of tasks your way. It's rare that a matching game really catches my eye, but Jump Jump Jelly Reactor provides such a full experience, it's hard to pass up.
- • Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
- • Puzzle Hero
Sometimes 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.
New from Tonypa comes Floribular, yet another simple yet highly engaging puzzle game. A 6x6 grid of tiles fills the screen, some of which are covered by colored flowers. The goal is to place a flower on the grid to eliminate as many like-colored flowers as possible. The catch is that matches don't have to be made by adjacent tiles, they can be three or more flowers in that row or column. Difficult to describe, but easy to play, Floribular has the uncanny ability to steal your interest and hold on for quite some time.
With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
Following the highly-successful footsteps of puzzle-RPG hybrids, Spandex Force combines several match 3-style jewel swapping games with a sim-like spoof of superhero life. Patrol the city surrounding your headquarters searching for thieves and citizens in need. When you engage a bank robber or intervene to save a helpless human, a simple puzzle interface appears as your challenge to complete the task. It's a surprisingly fresh take on a rather tired genre that scores major points for wearing a wacky sense of humor on its sleeve.
Fall in, troops! It seems we've got ourselves another attack on our hands. Menacing spiders are descending from the skies, and it's up to our platoon of cannons to stop them! We've got to divide our forces to gather bullets on one side, and shoot down the spiders on the other side, so you'll need to divide your attention to win the battle!
If you've seen one match three game, you've seen 'em all, right? Azkend aims to change that, but not in the way you might think. Instead of shaking up the gameplay or introducing awkward new features, developer MythPeople spent time polishing the game to a brilliant shine. The end result is typical puzzle gameplay with an absolutely gorgeous visual design and sound package. It goes to prove that a rich presentation can turn an otherwise ordinary game into a real gem.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords blends a match 3 game with an old-school fantasy RPG. As you roam the overworld you complete quests, earn gold, gain experience, buy equipment and upgrade your stats just like any role playing game. But when you encounter an enemy a Bejeweled-like tile swapping game appears. Match gems to cause damage and collect mana to cast spells to help you defeat your enemy. It's a remarkably well-balanced game that's as easy to pick-up and play as it is to continue playing for hours upon hours. And it's one of the most addictive games I've played in a very long time.
From the Gorillaz' website comes Tiles of the Unexpected!, a game which puts a new spin on a familiar genre. Like a cross between SameGame and Mahjong, the challenge is to clear all of the tiles from the board. Click on any set of two or more adjacent, identical tiles to clear them.
Brand new from Game Pure, creator Speed Cluster, Oshidama and Bound Bear, is a small and simple puzzle game titled The Quiet Night. It takes the familiar Puzznic/Flipull sliding blocks formula and wraps it in a stylish media package to create something familiar that's worth playing for the atmosphere alone.
A new stylish title from Game Pure has just been released: Micro Art. The hybrid puzzle combines elements of SameGame and your classic match-3 game with a unique line-drawing mechanism. A pile of puzzle pieces rises on the left side of the screen while matching pieces float freely on the right. Draw a line and collect the floating pieces to make matches and keep the stack from reaching the top of the screen.
Flashxed manages to breathe a little life into the familiar block-matching puzzle theme with a new mechanic: block dragging. You're presented with a set of bricks with colored orbs sparkling inside. Drag blocks left or right one at a time, and if two or more blocks of the same color touch, they smash and crumble away. It's extraordinarily perplexing at times, but that challenge is what makes it so fun.
Welcome to Tonypa's school of game design. Start with a very simple gameplay idea; it doesn't have to be original, but the idea has to be simple enough for anyone to understand immediately. Include a few attractive graphics in a minimalist style of your own design. Add a pleasing and relaxing soundtrack. Toss everything in a box and flip it upside down. Voilà. Brand new game all your own.
A match-3 action puzzle game with zoo animals and a memorable soundtrack. While the moody animals are a nice touch, it is the Quest mode which makes this game enticingly addictive. As the zookeeper, you are set to 10 different tasks by your angry little boss. With clever variations, an emotional lot of animals and an uppity, cigar-smoking boss, Kiteretsu's Zookeeper will keep you busy and entertained.
2007 IGF finalist Bubble Islands is a new falling-object puzzle game from Dot-Invasion, the talented crew behind the previously reviewed Meteor Busters. Flash-based and completely free, Bubble Islands is fun, cute and loaded with enough content to rival similar commercial games.
Farm Hustle takes the simple formula from games like Bejeweled and adds an interesting twist. In order to get the animals back into their rooms, you must swap them to make rows or columns of three or more. The catch is that you must also use every square on the grid, adding a new level of strategy to your game.
Hit the dance floor in this foot-stomping, original new take on the connect-three puzzle genre of casual gameplay. In Disco Jungle, play as a funky blue elephant with a special ability to absorb the color of any dance floor tile and then drop it anyplace else. Use it to match three (3) or more same-color tiles, horizontally and/or vertically, to score points and clear levels.
Combo! and Blockdown are two great flash puzzle games by Anders Pousette. They're remarkably simple and build upon classic puzzle gaming themes while throwing a few fresh ideas into the mix. Each comes with a public high score board to give you a chance at your 15 minutes of fame. You'll have to earn it, but with the amount of time you'll spend playing each game, odds are you won't really mind.
JP of Pepere.org recently released a new version of his Ringmania game, creatively called Ringmania 2. In this latest update to the connect-three game based on magnetism, control is now with the mouse allowing more freedom of movement as you try to eliminate all of the colored rings from each level's initial configuration.
Bola is a casual and enjoyable puzzle game created by the developers at Gamesheep.com, the same folks who brought us Manole and Makos. The goal of the developers who host the site is to eventually populate it with all their own games, and Bola is not a bad step in that direction.
Makos is a game that is somewhat similar to so many other games in the very crowded genre of sliding block puzzle games, and yet it managed to grab my attention with its adorable little forest creatures and addictive gameplay. The graphics and sound effects are all nicely polished and give the game an attractive charm that will likely have you coming back to play often.
Si et JP of Pepere.org sends word of his brand new game, Ringmania. A new take on a Puzzle Bobble clone, the object of the game is to clear the play field of all rings by connecting three (3) or more rings of the same color to make them "explode."
Dr. Strangemitten's Shrunken Heads is a Puzzle Bobble variation (Bust a Move in the U.S.) with a ghoulish Halloween theme, perfect for this time of year. And while the gameplay is unoriginal, the execution of this version is quite enjoyable to play.
From Shockwave Japan, this cute little Flash game requires you to click on adjacent animals to swap places and line up 3 or more of the same. It sounds a little confusing, and with the instructions in Japanese, I was a little confused at first myself. Just ignore the first screen with the cell phone, don't click it—it's an ad. Wait for the ga...