Bauble Play – Match-3 with an eye-patch!

(To the tune of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer) Well you know Zombies, and Vampires, and Werewolves, and Ninjas, Skeletons, Robots, Samurai, and Vikings, but do you recall, the most famous scoundrels of all… PIRATES!  ARRRRGH!  Everyone is into pirates nowadays.  Seriously.  Pirates of the Caribbean, Lego Pirate sets, Puzzle Pirates (Okay I haven’t reviewed it, I haven’t even played it), even real pirates in the news.  Everyone is mad, simply MAD about pirates!  So it’s with great pleasure I present to you a match-3 type game with a piratey theme.  Okay it’s one of those ones where you just click and remove.  Technically this could be considered a preview because it’s in beta.  It’s done in XNA, so I assume eventually it will get to the XBOX.  Anyways, the game is ok.  Not great, nothing to really keep me wanting to play.  If you want to know more please continue to read.  How about a video of the gameplay:

Okay so here’s the skinny.  Firstly the graphics are cute, and pretty good actually.  It’s presented more as a play, where a pirate is firing at you.  They’re nice to look at but the sound effects aren’t that special, but not terrible either.  There’s only a little opening music at the beginning.  Okay how to play:  This is easy.  You simply move the little selection box around the board.  Click ‘A’ (with the XBOX 360 controller) or hit enter to destroy gems that have at least 3 touching.  That’s it.  There’s no swapping gems or anything like that. 

BaublePlaySS01 Every so often the Pirate in the ship fires at you, and there’s a bomb you have to disarm in time (by moving the selection rect over to it and hitting the action button, — ‘A’ or ‘Enter’) or else it will explode and remove some of the gems for you and not give you any points.  There’s also a skull that appears and disappears over a gem so that if you hit those gems you won’t get points for that either.  There are also random pirate coins, that give you points etc.  You even get a bomb (you have to move the selector over there to use it) to fire back at the pirate, which sort of sends him off the screen and in the background for a short period of time.

Problem with this game is that there’s no incentive to continue, I mean not really.  No timers, nothing that seems to decrease your points.  Not even something showing me that I hit level end other than the screen filling up.  I’ve played other games like this, however in their defense they don’t really try to play it like you’re expecting anything.  In those there are no “extras” you simply remove items, and get big points for multiple chains.  In those games you’re not really expected to “win” as such, but just to relax.  The way this is geared with the pirate ship shooting you, is that you’re supposed to beat something but you don’t really know what, and it makes it less of a relaxation exercise as those other games.

BaublePlaySS02 I also want to point out about that incentive thing, there’s no “bling” to the game, that is you don’t get any fancy flashing lights or score numbers or anything for gaining points.  The feedback is there, but it’s so subdued that you don’t really notice it.  There needs to be more stuff going on when you win or whatever.  If you run out of combos then you lose the game.  I guess this is the game, but I felt like it needs more.  I hope the developer doesn’t think I come off as being harsh or cross, I’m just trying to say what I feel it’s missing.  I think given more time, it could be a better game.  That being said, there may be people who play it and think it’s great, because I’m just one guy.  So to give the guy a few points for effort I think you should at least try this.  Beta only runs with xna 3.1 redistributable, but you can get that on most xp installations (maybe even win2k but don’t quote me on that).

Name: Bauble Play

Developer: Conjure Development

Price: Not sure yet

Runs on: Windows only at the moment, with a Zune release to follow sometime (possibility of an Xbox 360 release).

Where you can get it:  You can get the beta on this page.

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