Match-3 games become a whole new experience when you’re given a limited number of moves.
I’m usually weary when someone explains a game to me by mentioning a ton of different genres. Sure, you could advertise your game as a first person shooter meets Tetris with a little Fruit Ninja thrown in, but meshing those things together is not going to be easy. Perplexo Seasons is advertised as “puzzle game with a touch of match 3 gameplay, a dash of sudoku’s pace, and a pinch of solitaire’s planning,” which sounds like a lot to cram into one game well. But that’s exactly what they’ve done!
The interesting route Perplexo Seasons takes separates it from the majority of other match 3 games. By limiting your number of moves instead of imposing a timer or constantly adding new pieces, the game takes on a very different pace. Instead of racing to constantly clear pieces you get to take your time to figure out the best move you can, instead of just going with the best answer you have at that second.
Once you create a group of 3 or more, you are scored accordingly and the pieces are locked into place and ignored. You can’t move them and can’t use them to create any more groups or score any more points that level. You need to be careful not to scuttle future groupings with a poorly placed one early on. This facet adds the interesting twist of a puzzle element, since you’ll need to worry about how to get these groups to fit together on the playfield.
While the pace and reasoning behind playing the game deviate from the standard match 3 style, at its heart that’s still what you’re doing here. As such, graphically speaking you’ll be looking at a grid with a bunch of little icons on them like flowers or snowmen. The game has 52 levels with represent each week of the year, so the icons change through different seasons. The icons are cute and functional, but they’re not going to blow you away. Of course, they don’t need to… they just need to be easy to differentiate.
The game imposes a difficulty curve by giving you varying amounts of moves in its “pool” and by having the pieces set-up in a certain way. It doesn’t appear to be random and in certain levels you’ll need to create a few huge combos, while in others you’ll just need lots of little ones. In the early stages making huge matches is pretty easy, but before long you’ll really need to plan ahead if you want to really nail down a high score. Luckily you always have a one step undo at your disposal in case you mess up.
Perplexo Seasons is by no means mind blowing, but so very few games are. The game is a fun diversion that plays into that part of my brain that wants to replay levels over and over because I know I can get a better score. The limited number of moves changes the way you’ll play the game, offering a really refreshing change of pace in a sea of similar match-3 offerings.