I have always been a fan of puzzle games and RPGs. These elements are expressed perfectly in this thrilling puzzle experience. Gabrielle’s Monster Match is a new release to the App Store which combines the Connect Four gameplay mechanic with a more complicated scoring system.
This game is a spinoff from the 3DS release of Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove. The iPhone port uses characters from the original as puzzle pieces which you match up to collect points. It’s a very fun game to play with and it’s 100-percent free to download.
The main menu contains a litany of additional items to check out. In the options menu you’ll find more information on the game along with details about how to play. The Records and Picture Book will begin to store your data as you accomplish more Quests.
Time Trial and Endless games are more geared towards practicing your puzzle skills. When you play through Quest levels you’re unlocking new chapters in the story. These quests will have a set goal you must accomplish before time runs out.
Examples could include matching ten four-row characters or getting two dual combos within 60 seconds. You need to practice in figuring out how you’ll move characters around the board to clear larger sections.
Moving Game Pieces
The game is easy during the first couple of levels, but quickly ramps up in difficulty. After you make a move, the game board will populate randomly with four new characters. You need to move strategically without blocking too many corners.
When you have a game piece blocked on all sides then you can’t move over to other empty spaces. The rules are similar to chess where you can’t jump anyone, but you also can’t knock anything off the game board. The only way to clear space is by lining up four-row matches.
This seems very simple, and it definitely comes easier the more you play. But the trial quests and bonuses really increase the difficulty level. Getting two or three bonuses in a row requires very careful planning. And since the new game pieces appear in spontaneous positions, it’s very difficult to secure a victory.
I like this side feature which doesn’t add much to the gameplay, but gives the app an elegant touch. When you complete more levels they unlock photos in the gallery. These trail the journey of Gabrielle and begin to unwind an interesting backstory.
Looking again over this feature, it’s such a fantastic method for keeping the player interested. You want to complete levels more accurately to unlock these extra goodies. The time trial runs are also neat in keeping your skills sharp.
Some Misleading Ideas
It’s easy to see how this app can be confusing to some players. When you jump right into the game board there are so many widgets and boxes tracking the time, your score, game pieces, etc. Without reading the how-to you would have to guess as you’re playing.
With enough trial and error you can determine that you clear the board by lining up rows of four matches. But this can be frustrating to figure out by yourself. The game developers may consider looking to include a beginner’s tutorial which demonstrates how to chain combos and build points.
This game was also released for iPad users so there is a fairly large fan base. It’s worthwhile catering to the younger demographic who may not intuitively understand the purpose of each puzzle.
Connect to OpenFeint
This is an entirely optional offer presented at the start of your game. OpenFeint is a mobile gaming network which connects between the App Store and Google Play Marketplace. With many games you can share your high scores and trophies, badges, or other digital goodies.
The network connects through your Twitter or Facebook account if you’ve never signed up before. If you are just a casual gamer looking to kill time, then these features will not be as attractive. But feel free to give it a try and check out the benefits of connecting your high scores online.
The Game Aesthetics
I feel that the developers were looking to create a creepy haunting Halloween-style game with their music and graphics. The design does not disappoint with new game grids and characters added every so often.
As you progress through the levels you’ll notice small changes in the interface and game board designs. The links in all the main menu items are also super easy to read and flip through. Although the puzzles may be challenging, the user interface flows very nicely. Admittedly, the music can sound bland after playing for too long.
But if you get annoyed by the music you can always turn the volume off. And of course, there are always new musical tones as you progress up the levels in Quest mode. The game designers captured a wonderfully horrific cast of ghouls in a meaningful graphic interface.
For a free game, this app is a tremendous amount of fun. I love the Harvest Moon series published by Natsume and so I was naturally drawn to Gabrielle’s Monster Match. Future updates may include purchasing in-app quests and new game boards which would greatly extend the game’s replay value.
If you have the time then absolutely check out this game. Anybody who loves puzzlers will really get a kick out of this one. It’s very challenging as you move up the levels, but also a whole bunch of fun.