A Mayan City Plus Bejeweled Blitz
What happens when you mix Ancient Mayan culture with an addictive puzzle game similar to Bejeweled Blitz? Find out in this review of the next must-play puzzler for your mobile phone.
Exploring the Mayan Temples
In Treasures of Montezuma 2 players revisit Alawar’s popular match three game. Similar to Bejeweled Blitz in term of gameplay users have to match 3-5 colored tiles in a row by switching their positions on a board. Some tiles contain gemstones that unlock powerful boosts. The main objective of the game is to destroy all the tiles with magical stones inside. The score is determined by how fast a player completes the puzzle. Finding and exploding gems at a steady pace can earn bonus points igniting the Frenzy meter. Gold coins are the reward for completing each level and can be used to buy totems in town.
Gem Explosions, the Gameplay
Adventure, Endless, and Puzzle are the three primary modes that users can play. Each mode has three levels of difficulty consisting of normal, difficult, and expert. A new puzzle is unlocked after the successful completion of the previous one. There are 40 puzzles in the Adventure mode alone. Purple, red, blue, silver, green, gold, and orange tiles randomly appear. As they are matched and destroyed more drop down from the top of the screen. Players can swipe the blocks up, down, left, or right. If a user gets lost they can tap on the question mark under the timer for a hint.
After each stage is completed players are taken to the town area. This zone functions as a shop infused with the Ancient Mayan theme and it’s filled with temples where you can purchase various power-up totems. The Endless Mode is simply a never-ending game session. Once the board is cleared another set of tiles falls into place adding to the total score. The most difficult is the Puzzle Mode. Players are presented with scattered tiles on a board featuring empty slots as well as spacers. Certain gems can only be moved once in a particular direction and there are no second chances.
User Interface/ Controls
The user interface is easy to navigate and the controls are pretty basic. Similar to most iPhone games players use their finger to switch or swipe jewels to make a match. A quick tap on the desired tab opens a mode’s menu or the town. The town has a dozen temple foundations that players can tap on to build a specific totem. These totems represent different power-ups accessed in the game. Each boost performs a specific action, from freeing all the crystals on the game board to restoring 15 seconds of time to provide a higher score. During the hidden object mini-games users can zoom in on the photo by double tapping or stretching fingers in the opposite direction.
The graphics in Treasures of Montezuma 2 are incredible. It surpasses the previous version. The little details embedded into the game like vines swaying in the wind, the sun rays beaming, or the realistic simulation of fire flickering with smoke rising, make the scenic backdrops come to life.
Gems twinkle, explode, and crumble into pieces as players swiftly make matches. Mystical orbs appear, clock handles rotate on hot jewels, and sometimes they catch on fire. As users accumulate points and execute combo moves notifications display on the screen. The flashing words are cool but they can interfere with a player’s pace since the entire game is being timed. Thunder can be seen striking across the board as multiple gems disappear.
Throughout the game a cool tribal soundtrack plays tying in nicely with the overall theme. A voice declares when a player has activated the frenzy power-up due to their speed. It sounds like an intense game show announcement.
The sound effects add excitement to the overall atmosphere. Electric shocks sound off as matching gems are destroyed. The clock counting down with hard ticks and tocks can be heard. The crackling of burning stones, powerful explosions, and cranks echo as boosts are used. Tribes rejoice in a native chant upon the completion of bonus puzzles. The continuous funky drum beat ramps up players’ adrenaline as they race against the clock. Depending on a user’s personal preference the sound may be a distraction or serve as motivation.
The Fun Factor
The fun factor in this game is its diverse yet challenging puzzles. There are so many levels and each stage is more difficult than the last. The fast pace requires users to think quickly. This sequel takes elements from traditional Blitz genres and mixes it up. Gamers get their money’s worth with this app.
In the midst of gem blasting once a player clears eight consecutive levels they can participate in a mini-game. The mini-games transport players to a random statue stationed in the jungle. Hidden in the scene are broken pieces of Mayan artifacts. Players must locate them while being timed, similar to the Adventure mode. The Puzzle mode consists of 40 hair pulling brain teasers that will make any puzzle fanatic obsessed with figuring them out.
Notorious for their multi-platform titles ranging from arcade style classics to shooters Alawar has also perfected the art of developing complex puzzles. New players or fans of the original Treasures of Montezuma will be pleasantly surprised at the enhanced features of the hit’s sequel. The breathtakingly beautiful graphics, nicely implemented theme, and fast action gameplay makes it definitely worth checking out.
Hardcore Bejeweled Blitz gamers will appreciate the challenging match 3 modes and creative power-ups. Although the achievement notification pop-ups often slow down a player’s pace, it is a solid game. Anyone interested in gemstone-exploding, Mayan-themed mayhem should give this iPhone app a try.