Alchemize™ is a match 3 game that takes the formula in a completely new direction. Instead if opting for the sparkly quick pace of games such as Bejeweled 2 or Match 3D Flick Puzzle it goes for a slower more methodical game play.
In Alchemize™ you have to match 3 of the same element together to create a new element. Simple as that, and it is brilliant! You start with green and yellow bottles, and once you combine three green you get a yellow one. Once you combine three yellow bottles you get a red bottle. Three red bottles equals a purple one, and three purple ones equal a blue orb. So where is the challenge in Alchemize™? It comes from the screen filling up. Once you have to place an element above the game area it is game over.
Every round a pair of elements shows up above the game area. You can rotate them by tapping the screen for as long as you like trying to find the perfect spot to place them. Once you feel ready to place them simply flick your finger downwards. You get to see the upcoming pair of elements before you place your current elements giving you the possibility to strategize. It is really cool to create huge chains, and the more of the game area you manage to clear the longer you can keep going.
There are 25 elements found in Alchemize™, and I doubt I will see them all on my iPhone. I have managed to get to the acorns that is the 13th element, and my wife is closing in on the fruit elements a bit further ahead than me. There are also the odd special element such as different bombs that let you clear some elements from your screen. At times it feels like such a relief when a powerup shows up, and the best one according to me is the wand that lets you remove all copies of one element from your game area.
Alchemize™ is all about high scores, and it is really mind boggling seeing some of the scores online. I managed to hold a sixth place for a while but now I am lost to people with several millions more dough. The online leader board is well implemented, and if you aren’t into scoring big scores you can set the goal to reach as far as you can among the 25 elements.
All games have shortcomings, and thankfully those in Alchemize™ aren’t that big. For one you get a save file for each game you start from scratch. Fine enough but the game handles the save files in a strange manner. If you choose to end the game you can either choose to save or not save. If you on the other hand get a phone call or press the home button the game automatically saves. This can lead to really poor saves to resume on. Furthermore if you don’t get a call or exit the game it won’t save at all if you get game over after an hour or so. This means you have to restart all over again. Beginning from a good save means you can start in a more challenging stage of the game as it starts quite slowly. The second flaw is that you can accidentally flick elements down onto the top giving you game over even though you have plenty of room in other parts of the game area. I would like to have some warning before the game lets me make these kinds of obvious mistakes.
Finally I must say that it takes a couple of games to really get into Alchemize™. There used to be a lite version available that I tried, and I didn’t like it at all. Thankfully the community at TouchGen commented on my Bejeweled 2 vs. Match 3D Flick Puzzle review, and convinced me to give Alchemize™ another go. So thanks to Tooltip, Bjame, Keira, Tys and Tim. Keep commenting, and let us know if there are other gems out there that we miss in our coverage.
Presentation and graphics
Alchemize™ has good sound effects, especially the escalating sounds of huge combos. The music becomes boring after an hour or two but thankfully you can turn it off, and use your own instead.
Brilliant, it takes match 3 into puzzle territory. Soon you will start seeing elements to combine in the street. It is really addictive, and the simple controls lets you play the game one handed. A warning when making obvious mistakes would be nice or some more lenient punishment than game over at least.
There are no achievements or unlockables in the ordinary sense but rather you unlock new elements each time you play as you progress further. Still you have to start from the beginning or from a save when the game ends but it feels like an achievement each time a new element shows up. The save game functionality needs to be easier to understand, and it still feels quite random how the saves work.
There seems to be quite a lot of people playing Alchemize™ giving it a fair amount of game life as you will see new players entering the high score leaderboard.
Alchemize™ is not your typical match 3 game, for one I would not call this a casual game as it requires more concentration. On the other hand the rewards are greater when you manage to create some big combos. I love this game, and the freshness it brings to match 3 makes it an Editor’s Choice. It entered the App Store at $9.99, and I think it was worth that hefty price. At $0.99 it is a steal.