Bayou Blast takes match-3 to the swamp
Since Bejeweled Blitz took the Facebook world by storm, puzzle games on the platform have largely become formulaic. And Bayou Blast isn’t an exception. It features bite-sized, minute long gameplay sessions combined with fun power-ups and a charming, colorful presentation. Thankfully, it also includes a somewhat novel twist on the standard match-3 formula to make it a viable alternative to the glut of Facebook puzzlers.
Just as in games like Zuma Blitz or GameHouse’s own Collapse Blast, each session of Bayou Blast lasts just 60 seconds. In that time you’ll need to rack up as high of a score as possible. In order to clear away blocks you’ll need to match up groups of two or more like-colored blocks. This is done simply by dragging your cursor across any gems that happen to be toughing each other. Once you let go, all the connected gems will disappear. And the bigger the group you match, the more points you’ll earn.
This set-up creates situations where you can link up massive chains that are very satisfying. And, as is the norm, you’ll also unlock power-ups and other special abilities as you play the game. You can create explosive blasts by matching up certain pieces or add a few crucial seconds to the clock. You can buy these power-ups with in-game currency that can both be earned in game and purchased with Facebook credits. And, as with most games of this sort, there’s a high-score leaderboard to add a dose of healthy competition with any friends who might also be playing. Game sessions are limited by lives, of which you’ll have five, which recharge over time and can be purchased with Facebook credits.
Even though the structure of the game is relatively uninspired, the moment-to-moment play is very fun, and it’s bolstered by an attractive, New Orleans-themed presentation starring a cute little firefly. You’ll play levels set in surprisingly attractive swamps and as you match gems a twangy banjo will play. It’s sort of like a puzzle game set in the world of The Princess and the Frog.
Bayou Blast ultimately provides a nice change of pace for those who might be burned out on constantly swapping gems to make groups of three or more. The structure is the same, yes, but the core gameplay is a nice twist that’s absolutely perfect in one-minute bursts. And it doesn’t hurt that it has a fun and charming sense of style filled with a number of adorable little critters. As far as Facebook time wasters go, Bayou Blast is great way to fill up your idle minutes.