Alchemize [rating: 3.5/5]
The puzzle game genre is a packed category for the iPhone/iPod touch so for something to stand out it either needs to be something new altogether, take an existing style to another level or extend an existing style with a new twist. For Alchemize it’s the latter, taking the standard combine multiple items to make them disappear and clear the screen in the style of Bejeweled and adding the twist of unlocking elements along the way. Unlock all the elements and find the gold to win the game.
What sounds like an easy task is anything but, however, the added twist really adds to the addictiveness of the game as you work your way through all the elements to your treasure. You start with just a couple of elements and each time you combine three or more of them they will leave behind one of the next element inline and subsequently this new element will also be offered to you as the pair of elements are passed to you for placement.
As with most games in this genre the elements are passed to you in pairs with the ability to see the current and one more set being visible at any one time. It’s important to look ahead to whats coming next as this will greatly help you unlock future elements. It’s also critical to remember which elements are created each time you combine a set and this is not easy as in total there are 25 elements from potions and fauna to fruits and precious gems all on your way to your ultimate goal, gold. Access to all the elements and there order is only a shake away though as with each firm shake of your iPhone/iPod touch will toggle between the game screen and the element screen.
As you progress through the game and the screen fills with multiple different elements you will be given some help in the form of Special Elements. These items which appear randomly for your placement include bombs, dynamite, joker and a magic wand which will all help clear sections of the screen in there own way. And just as the placement of the standard elements is crucial so is the placement in these special items too.
All the elements are beautifully drawn and really standout on the handhelds screen while controlling the placement of the elements via tapping and sliding your finger on the screen is easy too. Slide left and right to position the elements and tap to rotate them before a quick slide down of your finger places the element in its chosen spot and the elements explode. It’s important to remember that when you do combine three or more elements the element at the lowest left position will be replaced by the next element in line. Grab this line and you can unleash a number crunching chain of combos. Get it wrong however and your screen will fill up quicker than you can say “Give me your gold” in your best pirate accent.
Because of the way the game plays there aren’t multiple levels to this game, success is measured both in points and in the number of elements you unlock. However once you fill the screen and have to start again you will have to unlock all the elements again too. There is a save option though and so if you feel you are in a good position in the game and feel like you would like to come back to it at a later stage in case it all goes wrong you can, obviously the save function works in the normal way too should you get interrupted and need to continue later.
High scores can be submitted online however this only tracks your score and not the number of elements that you’ve unlocked which is one area where the game is let down. There are 0 stats in the game so seeing how many and the highest elements you’ve unlocked is not possible. This would have certainly added value to the game as would a multi-player which is also missing.
That being said though it is an addictive new take on an old favorite but Alchemize falls just shy of being really magic.
- New twist to and old genre
- Relaxing game play
- Nice graphics
The Not So Good
- No multiple-player
- Limited online scoreboard
- No stats
Reviewed By: Craig Willis
Alchemize for iPhone: Trailer