What is it with magicians just now? Kicked off with the enduring Harry Potter fascination and followed closely by Gandalf the Grey conjuring up a storm, the topic of magic and wizardry has also been peddled in two more recent films: The Illusionist and The Prestige.
At any rate, it magic and sorcery are particularly big draws at the moment and, though of an ultimately more diminutive stature in the realm of popular culture, Magic Match the mobile game is looking to capitalize on this wave of popularity.
Like so many puzzle games these days, Magic Match has a themed foundation upon which its tried and tested 'match three' gameplay has been built. You can call it cynical but as thin as the veneer may be, in this case it still serves its purpose adequately in what is, all-round, a thoroughly adequate game.
So on with the basics. When you begin you're presented with a grid filled with different objects, which for the purposes of the theme are different magical ingredients needed for making spells. On the right-hand side there is a small list of the quantities of each object you must collect in order to progress to the next stage.
To collect objects you need to (if you haven't guessed already) match three or more of the same object. To do this you simply look for any three or more of the same type that are next to one another. You then select the first of the group by moving your selection tool with the thumbstick, press '5' and then again where the group ends. Doing this causes the objects to be deducted from your quota which, when it is completely fulfilled, enables you to progress to the next stage.
While you do this a 'Potion' gauge acts as a timer, depleting slowly but steadily. Fear not, this can be sustained and even topped up by matching objects. And if you find that you can't match the pieces you need in time, there is the option of casting spells such as Swap or Reshuffle in order to tip the layout of the grid in your favour.
As you progress, new magical items are added, together with various special objects that help you to obtain more points or gain your quota more quickly. The more points you score, the more effective your spells become, though we didn't notice that this affected the gameplay significantly.
It all works well enough, but it's hard not to feel prejudiced against this core concept considering how frequently it appears on the mobile platform. That said, we're not going to be unfair: Magic Match is competent at what it does gameplay-wise and is presented with something approaching flair.
So it's an above average game, given that it's fun to play, is reasonably addictive and looks decent. The problem is that in a sea of games just like it, it's difficult to single out anything that makes it particularly praiseworthy.
Worth a look then, but don't expect to be too mystified, even in spite of the game's theme.