Game Reviews

Call of Atlantis

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| Call of Atlantis
Call of Atlantis
| Call of Atlantis

When a game starts off with around eight scrolling story screens of turgid mystical prose, you’d better hope there’s something jaw-dropping at the end of them.

When screen eight fades away and you’re faced with an all-too-familiar grid of coloured objects waiting to be matched, you end up really wishing you’d skipped it.

Call of Atlantis doesn't give the best first impression, then, but the venerable old match-three formula and a bit of imaginative game design almost save the day.

Match weeeeee!

For the three people unsure about what a match-three game is, here’s a quick summary.

You start with a grid of randomly distributed objects of a few different kinds. By swapping their positions you can create lines of objects of the same kind, at which point they disappear and you get points.

By making lines quickly and by making chains of four or five you can get bonuses and multipliers, boosting your score.

It’s a great game concept that's been done not only to death but to burial, decomposition, limbo, and reincarnation.

Call of Atlantis manages to do something a little different. Instead of chasing points, your aim is to free fragments of artefacts from the grid by letting them fall to the bottom of the screen, against the clock.

This little change, along with a whole load of extra features (locked gems that require several matches to be shifted, and different-shaped grids to name but two) refreshes a stale formula.

Substance over style

Call of Atlantis belongs to a fairly generic genre and it's got a fairly generic name, so it's no surprise that it looks fairly generic too.

The various swords, shields, and helmets are clearly distinct from each other, but they lack the sleek professional glow and smooth animations of the gems in Bejeweled 2, or even the Flash version of Call of Atlantis for that matter.

The controls, which force you to tap on each of the two pieces you want to swap rather than sliding them in a single movement, also feel rather staid on the touchscreen.

Call of Atlantis is missing the gentle hand-holding tutorial of the Flash version, forcing anybody confused by the slightly different mechanics to either overcome their confusion by trial and error or dig into the 'help' section.

There are no sound effects as you shift pieces around - just some faux pan pipe muzak which you'll switch off in a second.

The lost city

There’s plenty to like about Call of Atlantis, and it deserves praise for doing something different with matching shapes into groups of three.

Unfortunately, if you're sick of match-three these refinements are unlikely to sway you.

Put the hours in, and you’ll find a richly rewarding puzzle game, but only those who haven’t already overdosed on Bejeweled or its impersonators should apply.

Call of Atlantis

It’s rare to see a twist on the match-three genre, but even with the amendments it’s a bit too unpolished and a bit too derivative to make it a must buy for folks who feel they’ve had their fill of matching coloured objects