Match 3 games. Match farking 3 games. Match mother farking, h♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, throw-‘em-in-a-river-and-watch-them-die, 3 games. I’ve played them. You’ve played them. Hell, your 93 year old grandma has played them, and she’s been dead for a decade. Which one was it? Bejeweled, Candy Crush, one of the other 14 million clones out there? Did cool things happen when you matched more than 3 colors? Did lights and sparks and fancy graphics explode across the screen like blood from a gunshot wound? Did you feel proud of yourself, like you actually accomplished something, when you got the highs core? Did you spend real money on boosts, or power-ups, or weirdly specific cryptocurrencies? Did you actually enjoy any of it? Really?
There’s not much you can do with a match 3 game, other than take it out back, slit its throat, and chuck it in a ditch. You can dress them up differently, give them a nice coat of shiny graphical paint, and send them out to the market place hoping to become the next trillion dollar iPhone app, but in reality they’re all the same farking thing. You match 3 things, some shlitz happens, and then you match 3 more things. That’s what the game is, and ain’t shlitz going to change it. That is, until you play Puzzle Kingdoms. Then you’ll be all like, “Match 3 games aren’t so bad after all—maybe I just have anger issue and need to work them out with a therapist.”
Or something like that.
Yes, Puzzle Kingdoms is, at its heart, a match 3 game. You match 3 like shapes, some shlitz happens, and then you match 3 more shapes. The difference is this: Puzzle Kingdoms presents a CPU controlled adversary that tries its hardest to cripple your dlick. First, you build an army of knights, peasants, archers, etc., and march them through various kingdoms, conquering and killing on your way via the match 3 game. You gain experience and gold when you win, and death and humiliation when you lose. You can use the experience to level up, gain new abilities, and raise your offensive and defensive capabilities; you can use the humiliation to admit that you can actually enjoy a match 3 game; and you can use the gold to buy new recruits for your army, which you’ll need after realizing how hard and unforgiving the game can be. Your recruits will be dropping like flies unless you think tactically, and match those 3 shapes like a mother farking boss! BOSS!
In fact, the game is so hard (for me, anyway) that I couldn’t conquer the second kingdom. Of course, I generally suck at these types of games. A typical match goes as follows: I match 3 shapes, the computer matches 3 shapes, I match another 3 shapes, and then the computer chains together a massive combo that wipes out half my army and leaves me running away with my limp thingy in my hand. I just can’t see that many moves into the future, and the AI can, which is farking ♥♥♥♥♥♥litz. Fark that crunt. Occasionally I get lucky and use a spell or special move and manage to take out multiple enemies, but most times I’m matching shapes that give me health or magic points. It can get frustrating.
Let’s see, what else? The graphics are mediocre, but serviceable. Some of the character art is downright ugly, and the over-world maps lack detail and scale. The music and sound effects suit the action and generally enhance the gameplay. There are some nice sword clashes and arrow zings as you battle your way through each kingdom. All the other shlitz: it’s fine.
So there’s that.
When it comes down to it, I enjoyed Puzzle Kingdoms more than I hated it. I don’t know if that’s a recommendation or not, and I don’t care, so go screw. Even though it’s a match 3 game, which basically drops it to a zero-star game, the packaging around it is unique enough to bring it back up to a four star game (pro tip: all games are four star games). Go ahead and try it, buy it, fark it, suck it, or stick it up your sass, you’ve got my ringing and useless endorsement.