I preview Kachinko several months back, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was actually unique match-3 game. I know that term is somewhat of an oxymoron these days, but there are a few gems out there. Kachinko has some great production value, and is fun, if not frustrating to play.
In order to match the falling colored balls, you must use your finger to drag the “troughs” at the bottom of the screen back and forth. I’m not sure why a tilt option wasn’t provided, as I would have prefered not having to cover the screen with my hand to play. Still, Kachinko is extremely polished, from the funny “Foamy the Squirrel” sounding announcer to the great power up sounds. The game encourages very short gameplay spurts, rather than completing levels and challenges. This will work for some, and bore others.
Presentation & Graphics
Very smooth animations, despite a lot going on on the screen at once. Nice job with Kachinko cabinet artwork.
Announcer voice is quite humorous at times, and doesn’t get annoying. All other sound effects are very satisfying. No music.
Although the Kachinko is highly polished, the gameplay can become fairly frustrating due to lack of tilt controls. Touching the screen obstructs your view of the entire board, and makes it tough to make matches sometimes. Also, the physics when the balls hit the troughs seems a bit off. It’s sometimes hard to catch the ball you want. Powerups are a cool addition, but it’s hard to figure out what exactly they are doing at times. There is a good help guide at startup.
Because the game was designed to be picked up and played in short incriments, there’s not really much to keep you there playing for a long time. This is fine, but other things are missing, like a leaderboard!? All you see is your highest score in each of the four difficulties. There’s also no progression in the game, with all four difficulties and cabinets being made available at the beginning. This could be good or bad depending how you expect to play puzzle games.
Kachinko is a technically solid puzzler for the iPhone. It looks nice, and sounds even better. Unfortunately, touch controls may make it difficult for some to play, and the frantic pace of the game may turn off some as well. Overall, it’s great for a pickup-and-play match-3 game, and won’t dissappoint, as long as you know what to expect that when you buy it. Oh, and it’s pretty dang tough!