Your heart probably sank a little when you read the Ticket to Earth was a puzzle RPG. That's not a surprise - it's a genre that doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
But I'm here to tell you to look past your prejudice, because this is a game unlike any other you've played before.
For starters it's premium, and not just when it comes to the price tag. This is a game that oozes quality, from its writing to its gameplay. Everything is slick and fantastic to watch.
And then there's the fact that, while it is a match-stuff game, it's done in such an original and entertaining way that you're going to forget that fact pretty quickly. And that's really saying something.Knowing the path
The game is set on a distant planet in the far future. There's a story of prison breaks and corruption, mutant insects and rampaging robots, and it's up to you to set everything right.
You play a couple of different characters, and each level the game throws you into has a different set of challenges to complete. More often than not though you need to clear out all the bad guys to move on.
Press on your character and you can drag a path through the multi-coloured grid. There are four different types of tiles here, and you can only move along paths of the same hue.
Each round you get two different action points, and you can spend them however you'd like. Moving along a path costs one of them, and attacking or using one of your special skills usually eats up the other.
These special skills are unlocked as you move along different tiles, and they're key to the strategy that lies at the heart of the experience.
Melee characters benefit from collecting hand tiles, rangers benefit from collecting eye tiles. There are brain and heart tiles too, and collecting them unlocks different moves.
Your movements are also your attack power. Tracing a path ups your damage levels, so running around the level before you strike is the only way to make sure your attacks do enough damage.
This is a game of positioning, movement, using your most powerful attacks at the right time, and trying to make sure you end your turn in a place where the enemy forces can't get to you.
Walking the path
There's so much going on in Ticket to Earth that it's hard to cram it all into a review, and part of me wants to make sure that you come to the game as fresh as possible - this really is something you need to experience raw.
All in all this is an original, smart, challenging puzzling RPG that manages to blend its head-scratching and character development in a way I've not seen before.
And in doing so becomes one of the first truly essential mobile games of the year.
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