Moments of glorious chaos - like pouring lighter fluid on an ant's nest
peej about The Saboteur
There’s this genre of puzzle games called ‘Match 3’ – you may have heard of it, even played one. Considering there is approximately twelvety billion of them around, that’s pretty darn likely. On virtually all other gaming platforms from consoles to handhelds, it’s tough to elaborate on the well trodden match 3 gameplay mechanic. The iPhone/iPod Touch however, has one ace up its sleeve with the oft poorly utilised accelerometer.
LeftRight Studios have decided to grab this idea with both hands and delivered DoubleMatch! - a match 3 game where the twist comes with using accelerometer controls to alter the layout of the playing pieces.
The actual gameplay rules are the same as virtually every other match 3 game: Find adjoining blocks of 3 or more pieces of the same colour, tap to remove them from the board and see if the resulting downward fall of pieces creates more combinations. Although new pieces are constantly dropped back into the playing area, gaps from removed blocks often stay clear. It’s at this point you can spin your iPhone 90º to alter the direction of gravity, forcing the blocks to drop into new positions.
It’s a really neat idea and works very well. You get quite a satisfaction from cleverly creating a new set of combos from a well timed rotation of the board.
Whilst the gameplay of DoubleMatch! is solid and fun to play, there are a few areas with which to improve. Mainly this is all down to presentation and the overall look. For instance, the colours of the playing pieces are quite drab and could really do with being much more vibrant. As it is, some of the darker colours often blend in with one another. Next, there is no background music. Often this is a blessing, but in this case, you miss having some fast paced beats to give that feeling of quick action and racing against the clock. These two combined makes the whole affair a little flat and is just crying out for more ‘pop’ and pizzazz from the screen.
Whilst most people will play solo, I should mention a two player mode is available, if a little clumsy to play. Both players operate on the same board and take it in turns to remove blocks. Between each move you have to tap when a player is ready which kind of slows down the pace a little too much. But it’s nice to have the option there than not at all.
Amongst the plethora of match 3 games, DoubleMatch! is an admirable attempt at trying to create something different. In the core gameplay style it succeeds highly, but the graphical presentation does leave a fair amount to be desired. Still, the game is free and with hopefully further updates to come, there’s no reason not to give it a try.