Treasures of Montezuma Blitz

As the first foray into freemium gaming on the Vita, Treasures of Montezuma Blitz represents a big step forward for handheld consoles, which so far have failed to embrace in-app purchases.

So it's a pity that the game is a run-of-the-mill match-three puzzler, beset by a few technical shortcomings and premium content that feels miserly.

Match-free

On first appearance Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is your typical Bejeweled clone: line-up a minimum of three jewels of the same colour horizontally or vertically to remove them from play and score. More jewels then fall from the top of the screen, filling up the empty spaces on the board.

Some jewels also contain crystals, which add to your points total and serve as currency for power-ups. You can also earn power-ups by increasing your XP and by extension your 'rank'.

You can build substantial scores in other ways, such as by destroying multiple jewels at once to gain a combo, or connecting lines of four or more jewels at once.

There's also a vial of sand on the left-hand side of the screen that gradually drains unless you add to it by scoring regularly. Max it out and you activate a Score Frenzy, which nets you bonus points.

Though you can use the D-pad to make your moves, it's much simpler to swap jewels with a swipe of the touchscreen.

Time is money

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz's two biggest problems relate to time. It takes 40 seconds to load up and start a game from the Vita's main menu: the initial loading screen is slow, and automatically connecting to SEN takes its toll. It's not what you want in a casual puzzler.

And its business model of charging money for play time is just as abrasive. You're given five plays for free which gradually restock over time, or you can pay for another round of five games at a cost of 79p. Each game lasts 60 seconds, so you're looking at a further five minutes of enjoyment. That's £9.48 an hour.

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz has the fundamentals of a decent match-three game. The controls are decent, the visuals are clean, and there are enough additional systems of scoring to keep things interesting.

But it takes too long to get into games, and once you're in you'll pay out the nose to stay there.

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz

A decent Bejeweled clone with horrifically expensive micro-transactions and long load times, the Vita's first freemium title is a misplaced first step into the brave new world of free games on portables
Score