Eco-Match is on a mission to teach us that the world needs our help. We have abused our planet and now it is time to make changes while making matches. Have fun and learn how you can make a difference by saving endangered species, reducing your carbon footprint, and much more in this engaging and educational match-3 puzzle game.
The polar caps are receding, rain forests are vanishing, wildlife is losing its habitat and the air and water are being polluted at an astonishing rate. Eco-Match appoints you the leader of the "World S.A.F.E. organization," which has the power and resources to put things right again for future generations.
You’ll travel all over the globe with your assistant, Jillian, and several exotic "Eco animal guides" learning about such things as endangered species and deforestation while discovering how rapid industrialization and population explosions are taking their toll on our planet.
Eco-Match has more than 100 levels that each contain extensive teachings on environmental issues. The game map displays the seven continents with fifteen levels each, offering at least 20 hours of gameplay. Your journey begins in South America, and you work your way around the world solving major environmental problems one nation at a time. The game comes in timed mode only, and each level may be replayed once unlocked.
Each level gives you an assignment, which has one or more objectives you will have to complete before the timer runs out. There are three modes in which you will match items: "swap", "flood, and "drop." An indicator at the top right of each screen tells you which of the three matching styles you will be playing.
Three Eco change meters correspond to the items matched on the grid and slowly fill as you make matches. Once the meters are filled, power ups are unlocked for you to use on the game grid. Colored tiles are known as "Eco zones" and must be cleared by matching over the area one or more times.
When you complete all objectives before the timer runs out your assignment is complete. "E coins" are on every game board and accumulate when matched. E coins can be used to purchase and build projects such as recycling facilities, which gives access to new bonuses and skills. Once a project is purchased, it can be used on any continent for the remainder of the game. Once you have completed ten assignments, the next continent unlocks.
Eco-Match serves as a vast repository of information concerning the environment emphasizing in every level how change needs to be made to save the planet. Teachers and home schooling parents will find this an effective interactive teaching aid.
Those who are not teachers may feel the game is a little too heavy handed in the environmental lectures and may be frustrated reading the many environmental concerns of every nation. The game itself is simple match-3 fare with only a few levels offering a decent challenge. The game is best suited to children of reading age and adults new to match-3 games rather than to seasoned gamers.
Other than its emphasis on teaching, Eco-Match really offers nothing new to the genre. The music complements each scene with a nice mix of nature and industrial sound effects. I would like to have seen a relaxed mode offered as well as the ability to turn off all the educational material instead of having to click past all of it.
Eco-Match definitely has a spot in the match-3 gamers collection and has the added benefit of teaching about environmental issues and how to solve them. While the game requires a lot of reading and can at times feel overwhelming, it’s also a beautiful game with calming music that always offers something new to learn.