My favourite match-three game has to be Zookeeper. What sets it apart from Bejeweled and all the other clones is the ability to switch the animal tiles while another move is being formed. This quickens the pace of the game and creates more chains. In the same way Zookeeper brought innovation to the saturated match-three genre, Collaptris mixes that style of play with the classic Tetris puzzle game.
Developed by Flaming Hammer Games, Collaptris lets you choose from three difficulty levels and among three to five colour tiles/icons – and off you go, watching and waiting for the tiles to fall automatically into place as you try to match three coloured tiles. Click on the group to make them disappear, and make sure the tiles don’t accumulate to the top of the screen or else it’s game over. The speed of the falling tiles increases as the levels progresses.
I discovered midway through playing that matching two tiles would do, so maybe I should correct the premise in that it’s match-two and not too much of Tetris.
Players can allow the tiles build up in a large group before clicking on them, for higher scores and bigger satisfaction. Anyone who has played match-three games before will tell you that the real satisfaction lies in matching a big line of seven or eight tiles, or linking as many chains as possible. Another special element to this manoeuvre is the spawning of bonus tiles, which is a function more of the Tetris part of the game. ‘Plus’ tiles remove the row and column they’re in, while the ‘minus’ tiles remove only the row they’re in. I’ve never managed to trigger the ‘plus’ tiles no matter how huge a group of tiles I removed. The downside of amassing tiles like that is you’ll likely have many ‘Did it already reach the top?’ moments.
There’s nothing much to mention about graphics for a game like this, since basically it’s just coloured dots on a scrolling black background. This is otherwise known as ‘Galaga/Space invader art’. Granted, there’s some sort of cloud effect… or is it the Milky Way? The chippy tune that loops over and over again while you play is annoying as hell, but the audio and video effects shouldn’t matter much in a casual game like this.
At one point in this review, I wondered whether I was over-analysing or under-analysing this title. This is what the game can do to you, causing you to underestimate the difficulty and become too confident of your ability. Just when I thought I was ready to tackle the four-colour mode, I was left overwhelmed. I still find the lowest three-colour difficulty a constant challenge, and I can’t get past level 10 at all!
Collaptris should be a better experience on mobile devices as opposed to how I experienced playing it on the PC. The developers seem to see it that way as well, and have released only the Android version free. It’s one of those games where you play while waiting for the bus or waiting in a line, and then realise that it has taken too much off your lunch break.
This review was completed using a copy of the game provided by the developer for that purpose.
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