Dreamsdwell Stories 2 adds a refreshing “line of sight” twist to match-3 gameplay
The longtime gamer in me feels like I know what to expect from certain genres of games. If I’m told something is a first person shooter, or strategy or puzzle game, I can usually get pretty darn close to the conventions the designers used when building their game. The same goes for match-3 games – I’ve played and loved enough to have some assumptions about what I’ll find. Dreamsdwell Stories 2 – Undiscovered Islands actually threw a curveball my way that was more than welcome!
What separates Dreamsdwell Stories 2 – Undiscovered Islands from other match-3 games for me was the lack of playfield as we typically know them. Normally we click groups of 3 (or more) similar icons and they disappear, we earn points, and then more fill into take the place of the ones we just clicked. Here we’re also matching 3, but we’re doing it by line of sight, allowing us to jump all around the screen sometimes generating a high combo. Let me explain in more detail.
Each level starts with spheres of different sizes and colors spread out over the screen. To start a combo you’ll click on a sphere and it till draw lines out in any direction it can see a like colored sphere in its line of sight. Click any of those spheres and the process repeats itself, showing you which ones the new one sees in its line of sight. A line gets drawn here and there lighting up as many spheres as you can before running out of options or needing to have the line cross over itself (which it can’t). Those spheres vanish, you score points and spheres of a random color replace them.
In certain levels there were barriers that blocked some spheres from seeing each other to force you to work around them. Some of those barriers could be destroyed and some couldn’t, forcing the player to think a little more critically than just always looking for the easy way out.
This different aspect to clearing the levels really opens up a new way to interact with the typical match-3 game. The idea of using line of sight is certainly uncommon, and before long I was figuring out new ways to chain up some pretty nice combos. It’s not often I’m struck by the “newness” of match-3 play so I was delighted to see something I hadn’t really come across before.
You can play a timed or untimed game, which sets the tone for how relaxed or frantic the experience will be. There are bonuses for playing the timed version, but it’s up to you. Along the way you’ll earn various power items you can use or what the game calls “talismans” which you can attach to your character to give you different abilities during play. I liked these additions, as they gave me more of a chance to customize the game to my liking.
As is typical for match-3 games, the storyline feels pretty tacked on. There’s a fantasy theme to it where you come through a portal and, by playing the match-3 rounds, help a wizard build up various islands by constructing seaports, farms and such using gems and resources you earn during play. The graphics, look and sound definitely fit the fantasy story vibe and while not necessary provided a fun reason to keep playing.
I love a good match-3 games but at this point I feel like I kinda know what to expect, so it was pretty refreshing to find that Dreamsdwell Stories 2 – Undiscovered Islands gave me something new. I think if you’re a match-3 fan you owe it to yourself to give it a try, you just might find something new here too!