I really like Puzzle Quest, perhaps not to the extent of Dave. I have spent too many hours with the franchise on both the Nintendo DS and the iPhone. The combination of a match 3, and RPG elements is really easy to get hooked on. chronoSgear shares a lot of the same characteristics of Puzzle Quest, and it is easy to get completely hooked. It shares even more similarities to the Nintendo DS Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. Actually it shares the entire match 3 mechanic, and if you don’t want to play a game because it is a blatant ripoff you can press back in your browser now. If however you can see past the lack of own creativity, and want to have a great game to add to your collection do read on.
chronoSgear is a match 3 turn based strategy game, with a lot of RPG elements thrown in. Walking around the game world is done by means of a virtual crosshair showing up where you touch. Random encounters are extremely common, and occur from the first moment you play. Touching characters around you lets you engage them in conversation, and of course some battle in most cases. I find the controls responsive, but the crosshair design is rather ugly.
The meat of the game is the battle screen. Here you get your units on the bottom half, and the enemies on the top half. The aim of battling is to eradicate the opponents soul meter. To attack you have to make vertical matches of three units, and to defend you make horizontal matches. Combos give you extra moves, and it takes some planning setting up a cool combo that can completely sway the combat. You get a limited number of moves for each turn, and refilling your units needs to be done regularly.
Different units have different characteristics. Core, hero and special units need to be learned by heart to be able to conquer the opposition. The different units are represented by cards, and gain experience according to use. You also gain levels, and get to play around with more powerful units. The game wants you to grind to avoid being completely smashed to pieces. As the gameplay is so addictive it never feels like a grind though. The random encounters can be escaped, but it is best to gain as much experience as possible.
There is a lot of content in chronoSgear, and as the game is rather challenging it will take somewhere between 15-20 hours to complete for the average gamer. The story is ok, but what makes someone spend hours with the game is the gameplay. There is even a two player mode that lets you play on the same iPhone. This is a perfect pass n play game when riding the bus.
The presentation is a bit hit n’ miss. The units, and special effects look great. The user interface is rather ugly, and looks clunky. The exclamation mark used to end turns, and refill units feel out of place. The world of chronoSgear is painted in a lot of drab grey that becomes boring quickly. A highlight of the game is the well produced music that shifts defending on scene. Modern orchestrations mixed with some suitable sound effects make for a great experience. You can also play your own music.
cronoSgear is a great match 3 game that is unique to the App Store. It is a fun formula, and it keeps evolving with cool units, and enemies. The presentation is overall ok. I can definitely recommend cronoSgear to anyone interested in getting a cool anime Might and Magic at the fraction of the cost.
Version: AdHoc pre-release.
Seller: Axion Logic PTE LTD
Tested on an iPhone 4.