Type of app: Match-3 Puzzle Adventure game
Platform/where to buy: iPad (iPhone version here); available in the App Store
Developer: DAVA Inc. / G5 Entertainment
? Over 50 amazing levels to play
? 25 adorable houses to save from ruin
? 25 challenging mini-games to master
? 12 powerful upgrades and five magic tools
? Two game modes: relaxed and timed
? Game Center Support
? iPhone 5 support
Major features: I admit to expecting Old Clockmaker’s Riddle to be a standard story-based Hidden Object game. But after I started reading the description I was thrilled to see the Match-3 gameplay tied to an interesting story. You find a letter that leads you to a dead down that has utterly stopped, and you need to find gems and clock hands hidden in the houses of town to ‘restart’ them and get to the point of fixing the clock and restarting the town.
The core gameplay is called ‘Match-3’, as popularized in Bejeweled. You match three colored gems in a row to remove them from the board, causing the ones above to collapse into the open spaces. Matching four or more gives added bonuses, as does matching multiple sets of gems simultaneously. The game has numerous ways of rewarding you, such as a super-match mode, and at the end of each story puzzle you can attempt a bonus puzzle for even more rewards.
These rewards help you buy power-ups, which you will need to get past obstacles. As you progress you find that certain gems cannot be matched, and others are locked in place. With your power-ups you can smash your way through obstacles to help you win the round.
The game is playable in a ‘relaxed’ or ‘timed’ mode, but there is no ‘endless mode’ or gameplay outside of the story. The story mode will last for several hours across more than 50 levels. The character interactions and story details make the experience more fun and help the time fly past.
Ease of use/Overall performance: You can think of Old Clockmaker’s Riddle as ‘Bejeweled meets Mystery Case Files’. You have a story-based mystery, you have a solid Match-3 gameplay system, and you have plenty of added mini-games. The visual effects are also very well done, and most cues will be familiar to anyone who has played a Match-3 game in the past.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! I have adored the Match-3 genre since Bejeweled and still play Puzzle Quest regularly. Mixing up the genre and putting it into a story based adventure makes it more fun!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.
Price: $6.99 ($4.99 for iPhone) – but for January 24th they are on sale for $2.99/$4.99 for iPhone/iPad.
Here is the trailer: