“Match-3” games and I generally don’t get along. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what they offer, but I’m often left feeling empty by the end of a play session. In short, I get bored quickly with “Match-3” games. “Puzzle Quest” was a nice exception to that rule, offering RPG elements and a deeper “Match-3” experience. Along those lines, “ReignMaker” dares to be just as different, if not moreso. While the RPG aspect is somewhat lacking, there’s both tower defense and town management mechanics mixed in to keep things interesting. Before I go any further with that, I’d like to thank Michael A. Hartman, the President & CEO of Frogdice, for providing me with a free press copy.
“ReignMaker” throws a lot at you from the very start and I admit that I was slightly overwhelmed with what it was I was supposed to be doing. The game, as a whole, is broken up into levels. Levels get harder as you progress, introducing “locked gems” and the like in the process. This is nothing new for those who have played “Match-3” games before. With that said, this is where the last of the similarities lie. In between matches/levels you’ll be tasked with managing a town and leveling it up with the resources earned while playing. The town management aspect, at least to me, felt like less of a SimCity game and more of a Facebook game…don’t grimace, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Town management, if I were to sum it up, is one giant tech tree…though it’s one that also generates resources in the process. A typical visit to town usually involves queuing up your resource buildings with a job, much like you’d do in “Farmville”. With just a few clicks, you can tell your lumber mill to produce wood or your farms to produce food. Doing so starts a timer that will elapse after a short waiting period, granting you said resources. Luckily, this timer will continue counting while you play, allowing you to play a match, collect resources, start off a series of new production orders, and go back to “matching three”. With these resources, you can unlock new troops, spells, and upgrades to take with you into these “Match-3” levels.
Speaking of which, the “Match-3” portion is a bit more involved than say, “Bejeweled”. From the start of the level, you’ll be confronted by waves of enemies approaching down lanes, similar to that of “Plants vs. Zombies”. Matching three or more gems will send out an attack of the same color…three fire gems will send out three fireballs, for example. The lanes these enemies travel down sync up with the rows of your “Match-3” grid, so matching gems along the top three rows will send an attack along the top three lanes. This makes the game a bit more strategic than “Bejeweled” in that you’ll have to pay attention to where the threats are and which lanes you’ll need to “attack” by matching gems. Like other “Match-3” games, matching four or more gems or creating an “L” pattern will yield the appropriate reward. Random quests pop up from time to time as well, as does enemy loot that can be picked up via a simple click.
So what do I think? It’s a pretty hectic game and certainly not the “Match-3″ cut and paste product I was expecting. The town management aspect is simplistic, perhaps a bit too simplistic for my tastes. I do appreciate what it does however in that it gives me a sense of progression. Earning and spending resources gives me a reason to keep playing and luckily, you can grind earlier levels should you come up against something you’re not ready for. It would have been better (in my opinion) if the resources were gained over time automatically as opposed to prodding the process along manually every few minutes…though this is a minor complaint. I have to give the game credit though for trying something new…”ReignMaker” is unlike anything I’ve played up to this point. For that reason alone, you should probably give it a go. The game is currently retailing for $14.99 on Steam, which is a fairly good price for the content offered.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “ReignMaker” by visiting the following websites: