LightSlinger Heroes (iOS, Google Play)

For mobile games, there are two very common types of match three puzzlers.  There are the ones that play like Bejeweled and Candy Crush, and there are those where you aim and pop colored bubbles on the top of the screen, like Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble.  The first type of match three puzzle games have had many that combines the gameplay of Bejeweled with an RPG battle system, most notably popularized by games like Puzzle Quest and Puzzle & Dragons.  But you don’t see many of the bubble popping type of puzzler mixed with RPG elements.  Until now, which is what LightSlinger Heroes plays like.  It’s a free-to-play download on iOS and Google Play, but reviewed on iPad here.

Basic gameplay is just like any other bubble popping mobile game.  Aim and match colored bubbles to make them disappear, which translates into attacks that your party performs to defeat monsters.  Beat them all in a stage to move onto the next.  You lose if the monsters whittle down your hit points or if you run out of turns, which means you’ll have to start the battle over again.  Winning will earn you coins, new characters and other items, which are then used to level up your heroes.  Levelling up is very similar to how it’s done in Puzzle & Dragons.  You can play through stages in the story mode or battle others in Arena Mode.

Most of the free-to-play quibbles didn’t really bother me.  The ads are for in-game items only and I never ran out of energy and had to wait to play again.  Characters designs are hit or miss.  Some of the fighters were kind of neat, while others just looked like a jumbled mess of colors.  In many of these types of games, there comes a point where it’s nearly impossible to progress unless you start spending real money, and that happens pretty quickly in this game.  They drastically lower how many turns you can have in battle at one point, and it’s impossible to win unless you start levelling up your characters, which is very fiddly and will eventually require you to spend some dough.  That’s about the time I lost interest.  But it is still an interesting take on the match three puzzle RPG gameplay, and it’s free if you’re curious.

Kid Factor:

You can zap cartoony monsters with lightning bolts and such, and they just disappear when defeated, but that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game ads and purchases.

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