Ever wondered how Stonehenge was built? Apparently it was built by a bunch of little workers with the help of a giant puzzle solving entity. I knew the history boffs were wrong.
7 Wonder II is available on the Nintendo Ds and is published by Avanquest Software Publishing. Take to the ancient world and help the little workers to build massive constructions.
There are so many of these types of games available on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one to play. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for the 7 Wonders game, as the last incarnation has guided me through many hours of would-be boredom. So, lets get down to business, what does this game offer that raises it above the norm?
The basic idea of the game is to match coloured runes in groups of three or more. Once a group is matched, the runes disappear allowing more runes to fall from above. However, behind the runes that have been removed, the squares on the grid will turn grey and the little group of workers, that are resident in the top screen, will be provided with a concrete block that can be used in their construction. Each of the squares on the grid will need to be turned grey to complete that grid. There are also the Cornerstones and Capstones to be placed. These special stones cannot be removed by matching with runes. Instead, the player must remove the runes from beneath, in order to allow the Cornerstone or Capstone to fall from the bottom of the grid. You are also racing against a time limit, as the workers don’t want to stand around all day and will get annoyed if you don’t provide them with materials. Each of the Wonders that need to be built will have several grids to complete.
Matching four or more coloured runes will give access to special runes that have varying effects. The ice rune will remove all runes on the same horizontal line, whereas the fire rune will remove on both horizontal and vertical lines. There are also a selection of special powers that can be accessed through the game, including the most important shuffle power. These powers offer variety into the game and allow for the player to get themselves out of sticky situations.
Occasionally the gameplay may change and offer the player the chance to complete a set grid within a number of moves. These levels are a great change of pace and allow far more strategic thinking, although the time limit still remains, so think quick.
The game includes seven ancient wonders in total, including the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge. There is even an exclusive bonus mission to uncover in the game. The player gets to work through the story mode, or even play in freemode for some quick and easy fun.
This game is casual gaming at its best. What makes it stand out from the usual matching colour games are the shape of the grids. Each grid is of a different shape, and the shapes are not straight forward. With odd squares jutting out in different places, part of the challenge will be to find ways to remove the runes from these awkward squares. Many times, the timer will be running out and you will be left with just one or two squares on the grid, and no way to remove them. Strangely though, this does not cause frustration, but rather increases your determination. Get rid of the odd squares as early in the game as possible, is my tip.
The controls work well and allow the player to move quickly and precisely. Graphically, this game does not exactly break the mold. The runes are bright and colourful enough and the workers in the top screen are cute and can be comical to watch, although you won’t have time to watch them. The background music can be a bit tiresome, but that’s why the DS has a volume control.
7 Wonders II is the type of game that can be picked up for a quick hit of puzzle gaming fun. Whilst not offering the depth of some games, when you just need a quick fix, this game will provide.