At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Dave Wickham Nintendo DS Avanquest Software Cerasus 1
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
None. Click here to buy Jewel Link Chronicles: Legend of Athena.

Jewel Link Chronicles: Legend of Athena review

Benjamin Franklin once said "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". Had he lived today, I'm sure this would have been slightly amended; "nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and casual puzzle games".

Yes, Jewel Link Chronicles: Legend of Athena is another puzzle game, specifically of the "match 3" variety. If you're not familiar with the concept of these, Bejeweled is probably the most well-known example. The basic idea is simple: you have a play area with various different tiles, and you have to make lines of 3 or more of these tiles with matching symbols, hence the name. Easy to pick up, and Bejeweled's success seems to show that people love it (or at the very least are compelled to keep playing).

It looks like a rather healthy Match 3 game

It looks like a rather healthy Match 3 game

Legend of Athena has a couple of gameplay tweaks to differentiate it from the rest. Firstly, you're actually playing through a story mode of sorts. This is just as immersive as you usually get from a puzzle game (i.e. not at all), but some aspects are reflected within the tile-matching sessions themselves. The story is set in ancient Greece, and sees you progressing through five "eras", with each requiring three buildings to be built, before finally unlocking the fourth building and progressing to the next era.

In order to construct these buildings, you need resources. There are three resources; food, building materials, and gold. You collect these by matching tiles which map to a certain amount of each resource - for example, a bunch of grapes gives you five units of nourishment. There are also other tiles which let you build up bonus powers, which can aid you in different ways, such as giving you extra time to finish the puzzle. The way that you unlock these bonuses (and higher quantity resource tiles) is by constructing buildings.

The game attempts to provide some sort of story

The game attempts to provide some sort of story

In addition to this RPG-inspired element, there are also some other differentiations between Legend of Athena and other games. The core gameplay mode involves a playing area with some of the squares coloured blue. In order to beat the level, you have to make lines with tiles on these squares to make them lose their blue colouring. Once all the blue is gone, an orb then appears which you have to get to the bottom of the play area by forming lines underneath it. There is one other type of gameplay, which appears after constructing a building; here you have to get rid of a certain number of tiles representing some kind of foe - one example is where there's a Cyclops enemy and eye tiles you have to remove. Other special tiles also occasionally appear in both game types, such as locked tiles, which can't be moved until they've been in a matching line, and arrows, which fire when a line is made beside them.

Unfortunately, whilst there are tweaks from the standard match 3 gameplay style, and whilst there are 100 different levels to play, each with a different shaped play area, I found myself getting fairly bored after an era or so; there's simply not enough variation to hold my interest. This is especially true with later levels, as they can be difficult to complete in the given time and so you end up repeating the same one several times. One area where Legend of Athena does try to be a bit different involves the fourth building of each era which is built by a sliding picture puzzle, although this is actually more tedious than just continuing on with the rest of the game. Some more radically different game modes could have helped to keep me engaged, and pushed up my enjoyment of the game.

Ratings

Overall A competent enough match 3 game, but it can get somewhat dull due to a lack of variety and repetition of later levels. If you enjoy pure match 3 games and fancy one to carry around, it might be worth getting, but for those looking for something more in-depth, I'd avoid it. 5/10

Click here to buy Jewel Link Chronicles: Legend of Athena from Amazon.co.uk.

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