Witch Wars conjures up a fantastically fun multiplayer twist on match-3 gaming

I’m a big fan of match-3 games. Then again, who isn’t? But despite their universal appeal, there haven’t been many match-3 games that genre fanatics can play together. Witch Wars bucks that trend by creating a competitive multiplayer match-3 experience that’s every bit as engrossing as the solo games that have come before it.

Veterans of Dungeon Raid will find the basic idea behind Witch Wars fairly familiar. Players will need to match a variety of different items like swords, coins, and health potions. Once matched, those items will have some sort of an effect on the game. Match three swords and you’ll deal damage to your opponent. Match three potions and you’ll regain some health.

But while Dungeon Raid was about drawing lines over items and Witch Wars is more of a traditional match-3, the concept is largely the same. Where Witch Wars varies from Dungeon Raid, however, is that Witch Wars is all about one-on-one battles. So when you match three swords, you’re actually damaging another player that’s somewhere else in the world trying to do the same thing to you. As a result, the gameplay is fast and frenzied, but surprisingly well-balanced. If you really stink at match-3 you might have some trouble, but I’d consider myself average at best, and have managed to win about half of the matches I’ve played so far.

Of course, a game like this wouldn’t be much fun without some variety thrown into the mix, and Witch Wars has plenty. In addition to the potions, swords, and coins mentioned above, players can match handcuffs to lock some of the opposing player’s items, and match spellbooks to raise their own mana.

It’s in this last element that Witch Wars really tries to change things up a bit. Players will be able to unlock different playable witches with currency (some with coins, some with real world cash), and each witch has their own unique collection of spells that players can activate in the game.

Witch Wars

In addition to witches, coins can be used to level up the effectiveness of each item on the board. So the more you play, the more coins you’ll have to spend to improve your skills. And if you don’t feel ready to take on live competition quite yet, you can always battle the AI to grind for coins and try to improve your game.

This is normally the point in the review where I’d point out some of the game’s problem areas, but honestly, Witch Wars is one of those rare games that simply doesn’t have any. Some people might cite the pricey in-app purchases as an issue (some witches cost $9.99), but none of these witches manage to imbalance the game, so purchasing them isn’t in any way required. This isn’t a game where you can simply buy your way to success. Likewise, each day a different witch will unlock temporarily so that you can play with them and see if they’re worth a purchase, so you’ll know what you’re getting into beforehand.

Witch Wars is one of those rare gems that manages to get everything right. It offers up a fresh, competitive take on a well-worn genre, while reimaining fast-paced, addictive, and perfect for quick bursts of on-the-go gaming. Whether you’re a fan of match-3 or multiplayer, consider this your next download.