When You Think of match-3 puzzle games, the first two words that spring to mind are 'blood' and 'stone' - it's one of the most over-milked formulas in retro gaming history and has appeared on nearly every platform and Flash gaming website you can think of, and even on Sky TV. Yet even now I still get an odd sense of puerile satisfaction seeing triplets of similarly coloured bubbles or blocks explode and collapse, whilst being rewarded for triggering such comical chaos with twinkly noises and words like 'Combo!' and 'Great!'.
Puzzlegeddon is a refreshing new take on the well-established colour grouping genre. Similar to titles such as Jewel Quest and 7 Wonders, Puzzlegeddon sees you horizontally and vertically sliding blocks to match them into groups of five. Unlike the previous games, however, this fills up several colour-respective meters that grant powers that can be used to attack or defend against other Al or human-controlled players. It is here that Puzzlegeddon sets itself apart from its bubble-bursting predecessors. This competitive element makes the game strangely addictive, as your goal is not merely to clear the board or get a high score, but to group enough tiles to fire big fat rockets at your opponents who are occupying other islands on the bright and colourful planet.
This gets better: the more tiles you match, and the bigger the combos you get in the process, and the more powers you can unleash on your foes. The most gratifying moment in the game is when you group enough green blocks to reflect your opponents' own rockets back at them. Other powers include black holes that disrupt your enemies' attempts at block-matching and counter-measures that destroy their incoming rockets.
There are two similarly challenging battle modes that you can play both off and online with up to six other players: the time-based Deathmatch and the last man standing Battle Royale mode. The solo Poison Peril mode feels a little tacked on, but the slim $15 price tag makes the other modes worth the money.
As far as puzzlers go, this mix of traditional colour matching and a frantic party game is a fun distraction and definitely worth a bash if you're in the mood for procrastinating, or an extremely long coffee break.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP