May the luck of the Irish be with you: You’ll need it to get ahead at pattern-matching puzzler Luck Charm Deluxe.
The challenge here – seeing if you’ve got what it takes to be a real-life leprechaun. (Minus, of course, that goofy beard, gruff accent and Scrooge-like obsession with a certain treasure hoard…)
Guided by one of the mythological creatures themselves, you’ll try your hand at one of over 100 mind-bending levels. The name of the game – collecting coins for your magical pot o’ gold by creating matches of three or more adjacent tiles which, when connected, disappear from the board.
Forget pomp and circumstance. Featuring only one core play mode and a Spartan options menu (which, lets those so inclined turn the host character’s voice off), right from the get-go, you’ll dive right in.
Observe the general setup.
A nondescript looking cauldron sits on the left-hand side of the screen. Directly opposite rests a meter that rapidly depletes with each passing second, tracking the passage of time. (Note: You can freely choose to turn time limits off).
In the center of the screen rests a series of patterned tiles, fashioned in the likeness of various symbols associated with good fortune. Purple horseshoes, red hearts, green clovers… Ladybugs, playing cards, and slot machine-style 7s aside, you’d think someone had emptied a box of Lucky Charms cereal out on your monitor.
To get started learning the tricks of the trade, simply click on the mouse and drag it over at least three similarly-adorned tiles to eliminate them. Beware, though – painstaking accuracy’s required, so make sure you move in sharp, straight motions. (All too often moves will be canceled by an accidental flick of the wrist.)
Tiles removed from the board are instantly filled with randomly-generated replacements. Any with coins located behind them – the game’s chief innovation – deposit the currency in your pot before disappearing. (Except in the case of say, silver coins, which require two matches be made using them before they’ll vacate the playfield.)
Mind you, there’s a catch. Freedom of movement is greater than in other 3-in-a-row puzzle games (Magic Match notwithstanding), so you can actually create diagonal, not just horizontal or vertical, chains. This mechanic not only presents more options for solving each level. It also creates opportunities for earning point-scoring bonuses and setting off gigantic combos.
At any given point, you can theoretically create a string of tiles that stretches across the entire screen. There’s certainly incentive to do so; each match of over four tiles builds your lucky rainbow, which, when full, colors your pot gold and temporarily doubles your point-earning potential. While adding strategy though, such options also make the title somewhat easier than similar games.
Granted, finding yourself temporarily stumped is possible, especially on stages constructed from smaller tile groupings. It’s nothing a few cleverly-executed matches designed to generate new titles or slapping the reset button – which randomly reshuffles the playfield, yet takes a few seconds to regenerate once utilized – can’t fix, though.
This being the case, pacing isn’t nearly as intense as it could be: A boon to those who prefer their desktop amusements more relaxed. Action fans needn’t apply, however… there’s too little variation between levels and scant white-knuckle moments to be had.
On the bright side, graphically, Luck Charm Deluxe satisfies with its simplistic, but attractive characters, objects and special effects. Some will surely find featured sound bytes – e.g. the chatty leprechaun who offers encouragement in a gritty, high-pitched brogue as you go – and Celtic-inspired musical score not to personal taste, though.
Nevertheless, beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. If you’re the type who adores the Emerald Isle, doubtless the game will prove much more endearing.
The same goes for the outing in its entirety.
Enthusiasts looking for something slightly different with an inherently more cerebral bent will be pleased. Those weaned on button-mashing, reflex-intensive games, not so much.
Depending on where you sit philosophically, Luck Charm Deluxe may offer hours of lighthearted entertainment. Still, given the game’s lone play mode and pleasing, yet largely subdued presentation, we’re hesitant to truly call it a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.