While all sequels arrive with a fanfare of sorts, some greet us with more of a hoarse whisper than a bang. But for one series’ return, “bang” (or, in this case, “boom”) is the only description that could possibly apply. Fans will be happy to hear that the wait is over. Super Collapse 3 has arrived and is fantastic!

But first, a few words for the uninitiated…

Super Collapse 3 is the latest in GameHouse’s highly successful series. Basically, players click on adjoined clusters of three or more identically colored blocks, eliminating the clusters from the screen. And, larger clusters mean larger scores. Every few seconds, a new row of blocks slides into view from the bottom and pushes the stack upwards. Clearing the screen entirely or clicking with exceptional accuracy earn you trophies, while bombs, time-stoppers and block-swappers pop in from time to time to shake things up a bit. If any of the blocks reach the top, however, you lose.

So far, it sounds a lot like Super Collapse 1 and 2 (and Crunch for Super fans out there), but GameHouse has been hard at work. Here’s what’s been added to the mix.

In the game’s new Quest Mode, items can be purchased with coins earned by completing challenges. These items are then added to an inventory on the right-hand side of the screen to be used at your leisure. Other store purchases include game hints, puzzle solutions and the ability to unlock all the new game modes for play at any time. Coins can also be earned by playing one of Quest’s casino-styled mini-games, such as slot machines and various memory and shell games.

Super Collapse 3’s Quest Mode is an amusingly bizarre concept, really. It’s not so much an actual quest as it is a surreal journey through a brightly-colored Candyland where you’re asked by the cheery, invisible, alliterative denizens to break all their stuff. What it does is give you a chance to strategically pick your path, choosing the game modes you like best and sampling a little of each.

Other modes that should be familiar to anyone who has played the series before include:

  • Puzzle Mode, wherein you have to eliminate all the pieces in the fewest number of clicks.

  • Strategy Mode, in which every elimination advances the stack by a new line (so you really must think before you click).

  • Relapse Mode, where blocks advance from both the top and bottom to converge in the middle.

New to Super Collapse 3 are:

  • Slider Mode, in which blocks slide horizontally from side to side, constantly making and breaking matches as they march to the top of the screen.

  • Continuous Mode, wherein blocks appear on the board with increasing difficulty and no level breaks.

  • Countdown Mode, allowing just two minutes to score big.

Now, this game is not for everyone, as it can become fairly difficult to make matches in the latter stages when blocks really start flying. But as any Collapse master will tell you, there is an almost Zen-like state into which you’ll fall, given enough practice. Thankfully, GameHouse made it easy to unlock all game modes early on, so you’ll get a good taste of everything. Plus, challenges that prove too difficult can be skipped. For puzzle-minded players, a full 140 head-scratchers are provided.

A sign of any good casual game, Super Collapse 3 is simple to pick up for a quick coffee-break session, and easy to get lost in for hours. Sound effects are great, from the small chiming scores, to the enormous explosive combos, to the heart-attack-inducing “about-to-lose” siren.

The big question remains, does this game improve enough on Super Collapse 2 to justify the fanfare? Do the new modes stack up? Personally, I found Slider Mode to be imprecise and unpredictable, but the Continuous and Countdown modes are fantastic additions, Puzzle Mode is robust and the new item inventory in Quest Mode shakes things up in a great way. We’ve been waiting for Super Collapse 3 a long time, and it delivers mightily. Wait no more.