You can make a Match-3 game out of anything it seems. Even something like the consistently imaginative TV show, Futurama. Except Futurama: Game of Drones isn’t a Match-3 game. Oh, no. It’s a Match-4 game. Ok, that doesn’t sound much more excitin. But you know what? Futurama: Game of Drones is quite fun. It suffers from the usual bevy of freemium bits and pieces to entice you into spending money, but it’s one of the good matching puzzle games.
You’re matching delivery drones rather than gems or fruit this time round. Think of it as an example of what happens when Amazon drones go bad. Fortunately, they’re fairly harmless here. Matching is the usual mix of swiping and dragging your finger around. It takes a few turns to retrain your brain to match 4 rather than 3, but it also opens things up to some quite impressive combos.
If you match more than 4 in one move, you acquire various power-ups. You can form a laser beam that takes out all of one line, or a bomb move that wipes out a wide area in one sweep. The really cool moves are when you gain a colorful looking power-up which you can combine with a colored drone in order to turn all of that color into a power-up. Such bonuses mean that Futurama: Game of Drones is a consistently fast-paced experience. While you should always be taking time to plan your moves in advance, you can achieve a lot in one move, encouraging you to move quickly.
Some levels have you matching a certain number of drones to move onto the next stage, while others might require you to clear slime from underneath each tile. There’s the usual assortment of obstacles too such as cargo crates that get in the way. Oh, and in a typically Candy Crush style vein, some sequences expect you to help move a pizza box to the bottom of the screen. At times, Futurama: Game of Drones feels more of a puzzle game than a standard matching game, requiring more than just the luck of what colors appear to succeed.
It’s mostly business as usual for the genre, but Futurama: Game of Drones makes it quite fun. There’s a life system slowing you down a little, as well as some ads to skip past, but it’s not too obtrusive. I found occasional difficulty spikes, but nothing that made me feel like the game was trying to gouge me for money.
Futurama: Game of Drones also captures the spirit of the TV show reasonably well. At regular points, you unlock a scene as part of a longer storyline. Also, throughout playing, you get to hear lines from various characters as they boast about your exploits. Despite yourself, you’ll feel smug about that. it’s those little things that will endear you to what’s unfolding, even if you do end up craving more memorable quotes and more appearances by Bender, whose stay is all too brief.
It’d be understandable to approach Futurama: Game of Drones somewhat cynically. After all, the App Store is far from short of Match-3 games, but it offers enough to ensure that this feels like more than just a cookie cutter take on the genre. Embracing the subject matter, as well as maintaining a fast paced take on matching different colors, means you’ll find yourself frequently itching for just one more go. Even if a little part of you might realise you’re going over to the dark side.