Game Reviews

Pixel Defenders Puzzle

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Pixel Defenders Puzzle

Somehow, when we weren't looking, match-three puzzlers became the next big thing in gaming crossovers.

Pixel Defender Puzzle is the latest of these mash-ups to make its way to market, although you'd never guess by the retro look of it.

In spite of its undeniably puzzley format and gameplay, it's shot through with graphical elements and strategy ingredients that wouldn't be out of place in an RPG.

Waves of goblins, reapers, and skeletons all lurk at the top of the screen waiting to tear a vulnerable princess or lord to ribbons. These ambulatory noble liabilities can't attack or defend themselves against their foes, so it's up to you to build Defenders to stop them.

Match three, rinse, repeat

Thankfully, these Defenders are an easy breed to build - slap three like-coloured pixels next to one another and they'll form into simple footsoldiers or fledgling mages.

Positioning your pixels and weaker units is key, as you can't move units on the board once they're formed (which is misleading, considering that they have legs and all) and you'll use weaker units to form stronger ones with multiple attacks.

As you build, however, you'll need to keep an eye out for obstacles (terrain) which eat up spaces on the board. Thankfully, these can be quickly sorted with a Void block if and when one appears, but they make building stronger units challenging all the same.

Defender bender

Once the waves of enemies show up, Pixel Defender transforms from a simple match-three game to a straight-up strategy title.

Each enemy has a counter next to its icon that shows how many turns you have until it attacks. Adding a pixel, unit, or terrain piece to the board counts as a turn and decreases its counter accordingly.

Using your own units to attack is a free action, but you need to build up action points by placing pixels and units in order to launch an assault. This all adds an engaging, if unexpected, battle element to the world of an otherwise standard match-three puzzler.

Pixel perfect

Retro down to its chiptune soundtrack, Pixel Defender Puzzle has no qualms about embracing the cheesy nature of 8-bit RPGs.

The match-three mechanic is compelling enough in its own right, but the added battle system brings an extra dimension to Pixel Defenders Puzzle, meaning you're doubly likely to enjoy it.

Pixel Defenders Puzzle

This match-three-puzzler-in-RPG-clothing adds just enough flavour to spice up its otherwise passable gameplay
Matthew Diener
Matthew Diener
Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.