Beautiful and atmospheric Puzzler

User Rating: 9 | Azkend IP
For a game that plays as a standard "math-three-or-more" puzzle game, Azkend feels very fresh. Although the aim is to match tiles, this is done against the clock, with the aim of changing all of the background board from brown to blue. Difficulty is implemented by shorter time limits, addition of blocks that need more than one match to turn blue (steel blocks, ice blocks), oddly shaped boards, and restriction of certain areas by chains.

When the whole board has been changed to blue, a piece of a "talisman" will appear at the top of the board, and the aim shifts to breaking all of the blocks underneath it. The talismans, when assembled, form the game's power-up system and cause the appearance of a new talisman tile on the board. When 4 or more talisman tiles are chained, the power up is activated and provides assistance e.g. by randomly destroying tiles.

The graphics are pristine and crisp, and add to the atmosphere of Himalayan mystery laid down in the game's story. While it's no Puzzle Quest, the story of Azkend's lonely explorer re-tracing a journey he can barely remember is enough to hold the puzzle stages together. The music and icons on the board tie in to this story, as do the amulets of power that you re-construct stage by stage. All in all, the game's 50 stages are good value, and the gameplay is very addictive. The game also features competitive turn-based multiplayer boards, and a nice achievement system based around treasures. A must buy if you want to try a beautiful and immersive puzzle game.