If you break down a basic gaming psychology, it all boils down to a number of key factors that urge us to continue playing as much as possible. Factors such as the sense of achievement, interest in the story and the gameplay, escapism, identification with the characters in the game, immersion, social component and many others had become a major thing in the world of game design. That’s why developers often strive to incorporate as much of those elements in their creation, in order to ensure the prolonged attention of the gaming audience.
Match-three video games are among the simplest, most casual types of video games you can play. They are also among the most addictive, and there’s a good reason for that. Ingeniously simple, often colorful with neat and flashy visuals, they ask of you only one thing: to match three or more tiles of the same kind and feel that glorious surge of endorphins as if you’ve achieved the most important thing in the world, or at least had eaten half a ton of chocolate. And then just three more. And three more. And…
Azkend 2 by 10tons Ltd. is a match-three game that deviates from that simple and effective formula by adding in another key component: an engaging storyline to follow and a number of specific tasks and mini-games you have to accomplish in order to advance through the game. Although it’s unusual to talk about match-three games in the terms of setting and the story, Azkend 2 actually has both. You’ll play as a passenger aboard a ship Celestia, bound for Liverpool from New York. Suddenly, you’ll run into a fierce storm that pushes you towards something on the horizon. It turns out that it’s actually a massive maelstrom that swallows you and the whole ship full of passengers into the fantastic underground world. Of course, this story is only a pretext for some good ol’ match-three action, but, at least it’s obviously inspired by works of Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Rice Burroughs so that fact does lend it a certain charm.
As for the game mechanics and gameplay, although it has a few rather unique elements, it will be familiar to all who played at least one match-three title. You’ll be presented with an area of a certain size and shape (they’ll become increasingly more complex as you advance) consisting of hexagonal fields filed with the objects related to the late 19th-century underground exploration theme of the game. From that point you undoubtedly know the drill: just match tiles of the same kind as much as you can, and see the story unravel. However, developers had introduced a number of interesting gameplay elements that add just a tad more flavor to the whole affair. Successful matching will fill the Tesla coils at the bottom of the screen – when all five are charged they will unleash the surge of electricity which will help you clear the area.
You’ll also collect various items such as parts of binoculars, compass, glasses etc, which are required to advance the story but also will help you be more effective by giving you different active and passive abilities. Between regular matching levels, you’ll relax in puzzles similar to those found in hidden object adventure games – you’ll be presented with a small detail of the whole scenery and mark the exact spot where it’s located. Besides these basic elements, Azkend 2 offers so much more – different power-ups, modes, and challenges.
That variety in the gameplay would be enough to set this title apart from its less inventive cousins. However, gorgeous graphics with spectacular underground sceneries will give you added incentive to follow Azkend 2 to the very end.