We all know Kellogg’s lovable Tony the Tiger and that beautiful Bengal from Esso ("Put a tiger in your tank"), but you’re about to meet another cool cat – and this one has a heck of an arm.
Introducing Bengal: Game of Gods, a new action-puzzle game that borrows heavily from marble-shooters, Zuma and Luxor, but adds a few neat twists to keep players on their toes.
Despite some shortcomings, the game proves you can build on a winning formula.
In Bengal: Game of Gods, you control a striped tiger who must throw a colored ball at a long string of multi-colored balls that snake out onto the screen. The balls follow a specific path, which varies from level to level, and ends inside the mouth of a stone monkey. Your goal is to aim and shoot the ball so that it touches same-colored balls (example: blue with blue); when three or more touch — one of which must be your ball — they explode and disappear. The goal is to clear the entire chain before it makes its way into the monkey’s mouth.
If you don’t want the color held by the tiger (e.g. red), you can swap it with the one on his back (such as green) by simply clicking the right-mouse button. The left-mouse button fires the ball onto the game board.
After every dozen levels or so, the board get increasingly faster and more complex as you travel through the Indian continent.
Bengal: Game of Gods, however, adds a few interesting twists to this tried-and-true formula:
- Golden statues will pop up from time to time during the level, and in different places, so you can shoot a ball to destroy it for bonus points.
- Power-ups will appear on each board, represented by an icon inside a colored ball. Depending on the icon, you can slow down the speed of the track, temporarily reverse it, increase your accuracy with a light that shines in the direction of your throw, blow up a part of the chain, or turn all nearby balls into the same color. In order to use the power-up you must make a match of at least three touching balls with the same color as the power-up ball.
- After the first few levels, you’ll notice the path of the stringed balls will actually change shape before your eyes. This adds another layer of strategy as you must alter the direction of your tiger’s throw to suite the new path. It may also interfere with your ball in mid-flight as it’ll end up somewhere you didn’t anticipate.
Visually speaking, Bengal: Game of Gods looks slick and colourful; the exotic theme plays well throughout the level architecture, tiger and monkey animations and map screen, not to mention the middle-eastern music fits well, too.
It would be remiss, though, not to mention a few glaring issues with the game. Bengal: Game of Gods only features one game mode; it would have been better to include three or four different game types (each with unique rules) to add to the game’s replay factor.
More importantly is an issue with how the next color ball is shown. Because you’re looking at the chain instead of your tiger, you are seeing the next ball color out of the corner of your eye. The colored ball you’re about to toss onto the screen is only an inch away from the ball that will precede it, so many times I mistakenly thought I was shooting a red ball, for example, because it was queued up on the tiger’s back, when in fact it was a yellow ball, which ruined my shot. Compare this to games such as Zuma or Pirate Poppers, where the ball you may swap is much smaller than the one you’re firing, so you don’t get them confused.
If you can get past these issues, and the fact there are many similar games out there in cyberspace, the extra features found in Bengal: Game of Gods, such as the fun power-ups and a shifting chain, makes it worth playing.