If you ask me, Match-3 games are stuck in a bit of a monkey see, monkey do rut, with most tending to stick closely to the tried and tested grid-based, jewel bustin’ format. Thankfully, indie developers Koordinauten GmbH rip up the rulebook for Jungle Games (out now, $0.99/Free), a fast-paced, fully 3D puzzler-cum-arcade-style matching game set against the resplendent backdrop of a ruined jungle temple.
An innovative Ring Toss/Hoopla-inspired mechanic provides a solid grounding for the Match-3 fun on offer here. Basically, what you’re tasked with doing is tossing a series of colored hoops onto three wooden pegs and trying to stack them in color coordinated order. Match three on the same peg or length-ways at the same level on all three pegs and they’re magically cleared from play, but, take care, because should those pegs fill up with mismatched colors, it’s ‘Game Over’ time.
Now, Jungle Games’ gameplay most likely sounds simplistic on paper, but, rest assured puzzle fans, this one soon reveals itself to be a challenging head-scratcher that requires you to strategically plan each and every move you make. Hoops are served up at the bottom of the screen and you can always see what the next two colors will be, so the idea is to think ahead and figure out how to best maximise your score. Additionally there’s a trashcan located to the right of the screen where you can ditch three unwanted hoops per stage.
I must say I really did enjoy Jungle Game’s fresh take on a hackneyed genre and had a lot of fun working my way through its wealth of difficulty levels and bonus modes (such as the aptly titled ‘Ultra Panic’). Commendably fluid and precise ‘one-finger’, swipe controls, an intuitive puzzle mechanic and beautiful retina enhanced eye-candy ensure it’s an easy title to get into, while the likes of Game Center achievements and Facebook integration, as always, are welcome inclusions. It’s most likely not the kind of game you’re going to obsessively play for hours and hours on end, but if you’re on the hunt for a fun puzzler to help while away a spare five or ten minutes here and there, Jungle Games comes recommended.
iFanzine Verdict: An original spin on the well worn match-3 mechanic that impresses with fantastically polished visuals, slick swipe controls and more difficulty levels and different modes than you can shake a stick at. A whole lot of fun when played in short spurts.