An underrated gem
This is a wonderful Match 3 game that for some reason has been overlooked.
It is swap-to-match, the tiles are beautiful to look at with an Eastern/Chinese flavour. They drop smoothly and you can do matches during a cascade - a must for me.
It is quite long - 100 unique levels - after this the levels start to repeat but you can play as long as you like, even after finishing.
It is timed, but with a very generous timer - I only ran into trouble a couple of times, and had no problems re-starting the board a few times.
It supports left-hand mouse setup, so no problems playing for me.
The objective is to build the Dragon Empire, same premise as in e.g. Cradle of Rome and Heroes of Hellas.
You do M3 boards to earn resources (there are wood tiles, money tiles, "Culture" tiles) - each giving you resources for the buildings. You can choose between 3 styles for the building, but the placement is pre-decided. As you build you unlock 'better' resources or get powerups to help with the matching. These powerups must be charged with special tiles, and it is random which charging tiles you get each board. Re-starting might give you a chance to carge a different powerup.
On the 'Map' part you can also play little mini-games, these are whimsical and cute, some are merely playing "skillfully" (e.g do a Match-five, collect a certain amount of Money in one level), others are more obscure and adds to the enjoyment. After finishing a mini-game a nice touch is that the achievement for this is placed on the Empire map, as trees, statues etc.
A total charmer of a game; pretty to look at, tongue-in-cheek and hilarious, that does not take itself too seriously.
November 21, 2011
BlueStarFish gave a great review on this game. I was looking for another M3 like this one. I went through all of them. When I pulled up BlueStarfish's review, I downloaded the demo. Then I bought the game. I have had a great time with this game. Yes, it is kinda timed, and I hate timed games, but if you don't finish a board in time, it just switches to another board, and then another board, and eventually it gives me a "hour glass" as an item to use to allow me extra time. You do build an empire, and I love the little characters and the beautiful building you build. This is not a Time Management Game. I do not like Time Management games, but this M3 allows you to the little characters and interact with them by clicking on them. They don't do much, but it's cute. I would like another game like this. I was a HOG fan, but I just got burnt out on them I guess, so I've been playing M3 games now for a while. I think this game has been out a while, so many of you may skip over it, but if you like strictly M3 games, and yes, it can be timed, but it doesn't worry me, because I know I just go through another board. It's fun. Thanks BlueStarFish for your review.
February 10, 2012
Fun and Relaxing Match 3 & Building Combination
I became so engrossed in this game that my trial hour was over before I knew it! This is a fun and relaxing Match 3 and building game combination. The graphics are nice. Not outstanding, just average as Match 3 games go. But neither are they too cartoonish nor are they blurry in the least and the colors are pleasing and bright. The little villagers are cute! If you watch the bushes closely, you'll see little heads pop up, look around and then hide back in the bushes again!
The matching part is timed, but not stressful. If you don't finish before the timer, you simply start the level over. Matching 3 or more like tiles removes them. Matching certain type of tiles, like coins or bells, earns you resources that enable you to build your empire and also power ups you can use to destroy tiles to free up other tiles.
Completing a level unlocks bigger and better buildings to build. You progress from building a simple forge and village, on up to temples, rice paddies, a town square and more. However, you can't place your buildings wherever you want to, as you can in "Heroes of Kalevala" (another combination Match 3 and building game on BigFish), which was why I give it a 4 overall rating and not a 5. Nor was I able to go back and choose from the previous buildings I had already built once I'd earned resources to progress beyond that building set, although it does say during the tutorial that you can add improvements. For example, I wanted to go back and add an additional village and watermill, but could not, although there may be a way you can do that once you get further on into the game.
As far as levels in the game, I'm not sure how many there are. But I think another reviewer here said there are quite a few, so replay value should be good.
I was enjoying the game so much that the trial hour was over before I knew it! Totally fun! The music is very relaxing, not intrusive. I actually turned it down and listened to a radio program while playing. Runs fine on my Windows Vista 64-bit desktop with a 19-inch flat screen. I'm not sure I'd pay full price, but I'd definitely pay the game club price and it's definitely worth a game club credit!
May 21, 2012
Almost Missed It
I would have missed this lovely game if it hadn't been listed in my "Games you'll love" section --- thanks BF. I love the bright, colourful graffics, and the lovely chinese style buildings. Game goes smoothly, and like BlueStarFish, I like the fact that you can keep playing during a cascade. I usually don't like timed games, but the timer on this is a generous one, and some levels give an hourglass bonus to extend time. Well done. I thoroughly recommend this game.
May 26, 2012