I never thought a game I picked up for less than a cup of coffee would be up there with my favorite Match 3 games of all time, but it is. With gameplay that is easy to learn but hard to master, I found myself addicted to The Treasures of Montezuma 4 in no time.
Gameplay consists of your standard Match 3 fair, swap the position of the tokens to match 3 of the same color to remove them from the board and score points. The twist comes in with totems and power-ups that you purchase with coins earned by completing levels. Chaining color matches will power up your totems and release their abilities onto the board. Determining which power-ups are most beneficial for each game board is where the real strategy comes in. Running out of time? Start chaining those oranges. Find yourself stuck with few good matches? Chain up a couple reds and let those fireballs fly. Snap decisions and twitch reactions are required, especially when playing on Expert, but finally FINALLY earning Gold on that one level that's been giving you fits is so incredibly satisfying you'll want to keep playing until you can't possibly play anymore. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=396043035
And there are plenty of game modes to play through. Aside from Story mode which consists of 98 increasingly difficult boards, there's Puzzle where you can play through sets of specific games (Catch the Frog, Spring, Archaelogy, etc.) to earn collectibles, and Quest where certain objectives must be met on each board as you search for the missing pieces of a medallion. The variety of games gives you lots of options depending on what you're in the mood mood for, whether it's the marathon session or just a quick fix.
Good or bad, luck is a bit of a factor in the gameplay. If you're stuck with a bad board layout, it's often better to restart the level and hope for better token placement than waste time trying to work with the wrong totems. Sometimes you just don't have enough of the right color to pull off the chains you need; however keeping a level head and planning your moves and power-ups wisely can help you overcome some of the bad luck. Then there are the boards where everything lines up so perfectly that you snag Gold within seconds of starting despite trying dozens of times to beat the timer. Sure, that's luck for you, but I choose to believe that I'm just that awesome!
Unfortunately, the rate in which you purchase your power-ups can be a bit slow. The game plays best when you have all the tools at your disposal to deal with any given situation. Later levels tend to be more enjoyable because you have most of your power-ups which makes things a lot easier to deal with. On the other hand, purchasing abilities one at a time helps teach what each does without confusing you too much, so there is some merit to it. But the game is most fun when you're fully empowered and chaining like a madman as power-ups, explosions and multipliers rack up your points.
As one of the best impulse buys I've made on Steam, The Treasures of Montezuma 4 does not disappoint. If you are looking for more relaxing and casual fair, however, this may not be the game for you. But if you're in the market for a fast-paced and rewarding Match 3 title that will have you playing to the wee hours of the morning, you cannot go wrong with this gem! Even at full price, it's a steal. Steam achievements and trading cards are just icing on this already delicious cake. Move over Bejeweled, there's a new king in town!
Bottom Line: Highly recommended for all Match 3 lovers and is a worthy addition to any gamer's library.