Puzzling can be a tense enough affair on its own, but adding interstellar combat into the mix? That's a recipe for madness! Puzzlegeddon offers a fresh take on color-matching puzzle games while adding in a surprisingly tense and exciting element of combat. It's been awhile since we've seen an iPhone puzzler that really surprised us, and Puzzlegeddon did that in spades.
The basics in Puzzlegeddon are simple to learn, yet require a bit of thought to master. You'll slide rows and columns of colored blocks in an effort to have 5 or more squares touch each other. Once they do you can either tap those blocks to make them disappear or continue sliding and shuffling the gameboard, attempting to add more blocks to the formation you've just created. Combos occur when you have more than one formation disappearing at a time, and chains occur when those disappearing formations create new ones in their wake. Both combos and chain can be built up and improved upon by sliding the columns and rows around after you already have a match ready to go. Doing this adds a level of strategy that really helps Puzzlegeddon stand out in a sea of color-matching puzzle games.
The other twist Puzzlegeddon adds to the formula is a surprisingly active form of combat. As you match squares you'll build up like-colored resources. Once you've earned enough resources you can spend these to unleash a devastating attack on your enemy. They, in turn, will try to unleash a nasty missle strike on you. You'll have a number of offensive and defensive weapons at your disposal (as will they), turning this puzzle game into something of a relaxed brawler. You won't be able to see your opponents game board or resources, so you'll never know when the next strike is coming. This combat makes up the majority of what you'll experience in the game.
formula in Puzzlegeddon would lend itself tremendously well to a multiplayer game, and yet there's no multiplayer component to be had. Between not being able to see your opponents game board, surprise attacks, and the faux-multiplayer built in to the game as is, the whole affair feels like a classic competitive card game without the cards. It almost feels a little like Uno in some respects.
Puzzlegeddon rotates through a variety of play modes each round, making sure the game never gets repetitive or stale. Last Man Standing awards the win to whoever survives their opponent's attacks, whereas Time Attack says the champ is whoever gets the most kills in a round. Then there are the Challenge stages. These are rather aptly named, because unlike the other modes this one is really going to put your skills to the test.
In Challenges, you'll be given a series of objectives you need to complete – get a x3 combo, make a line, that sort of thing. You'll have to complete all of the challenges within a set number of turns, which means you'll have to really skimp on the matches that don't do anything to help your bottom line. While we certainly had fun in the other modes, Challenges really felt like the bread and butter of Puzzlegeddon. Puzzle gamers looking for something to tickle the gray matter are going to love what they find here.
While we loved Challenges, this is a mode that requires more patience than some gamers might have. You'll likely use up all of your turns and need to start over several times before solving these puzzles. Challenges can't be skipped either — you won't be able to advance the story mode until you've mastered each one.
With so many puzzle games in the iPhone priced at $1.99 and under, we had a hard time believing that Puzzlegeddon would be worth it's $3.99 price tag. It didn't take long to convince us though – even at that price this title is a great value. Puzzlegeddon feels familiar enough to be comfortable, but offers unique enough gameplay to be a wholly original offering. Matching blocks hasn't been this much fun in a long time.