Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 Review (3DS)
I have to start off by saying I’m not a big fan of the match-three style of game. I generally find the gameplay to be confusing and all of the symbols on the screen start to blend together for me. There are plenty of players out there that like this style of game and can wrap their brain around strings of combos and how they’ll all fall before it happens. I’m not one of those players, but I do occasionally like to give these games a chance.
What You Need to Know
Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 is a match-three style of game. The basic idea is to match three, like symbols together vertically or horizontally to remove them from the screen. The hook is there are colored tiles on the board that have to be removed by creating matches on them. Any blue square involved in a match is removed from the board and when you remove all of the blue squares you complete the level. Other factors change things up a bit, but the basic idea is simply to remove all of the blue squares.
Most of the match-three style games I’ve played involve removing combinations of three or more like jewels or symbols and score as many points as possible. Cradle of Rome 2 has the added twist I mentioned above of having to remove the blue squares from play while making those combos. Remove a tile from play and everything above it drops into the empty space created. There are twists to that formula like having tiles that are locked in place. In order to unlock those tiles, you have to create combos with pieces on the locked tiles and then the square is just like any other on the board. There are also multiple colored squares, such as green ones that require a combo to be made on it to turn it blue, meaning you have to make two combos to remove them. Power-ups can be obtained that can make it a little easier to complete puzzles. Removing tile combinations of the appropriate kind will fill up a meter for the power-up. When the meter is full you can use it on the playfield.
Two Puzzle Games in One
Not only is there the typical match-three style game, but Cradle of Rome 2 gives you a second puzzle to play through. In this version the tiles represent different resources you gain as you create combos. Those resources are used to create buildings and rebuild the Roman civilization. When you acquire enough supplies, you can unlock new buildings which will give you additional items. These items can be used to finish the match-three puzzles. You can’t just purchase buildings, though. You have to unlock them by solving a sliding block puzzle. It’s a nice addition to the game and gives you a chance to use your brain in a different way between puzzles. They’re not overly difficult, but they do slightly increase in difficulty as you progress.
There’s definitely a luck factor to completing some boards. Some power-ups are more suited to certain boards than others. Boards that have lots of locked tiles do well having the bomb power-up. The problem is, you don’t get all the power-ups, if any, during levels. They’re randomly selected for you before each map and you’ll find yourself replaying some levels hoping for particular ones. It’s frustrating as it seems your success hinges upon the power-up selected for you.
Rinse and Repeat
There’s definitely a ton of boards to play through, 100 to be exact. After about four hours into the game, I’ve only seen roughly 25 of them. Once you’ve finished the first few boards you’ve seen pretty much everything in the whole game; play some match-three puzzles, unlock a building with a slide puzzle and repeat until you’ve finished. Different modes of play task you with completing levels as quickly as you can or seeing how many you can complete before failing. These add a lot of replay, but they’re essentially the same as the main game.
As far as match-three style games go, this is one of the better ones I’ve played. I like the idea of clearing portions of the screen with matches rather than just playing for score. It’s adds a layer of strategy to the game. If you’re a fan of this style of puzzle game, you’re going to really enjoy the game. If you’re not, then you’re probably not going to get much enjoyment out of this one.
Review copy of the game provided by Rising Star Games.
Played through roughly 25 of the puzzles and sampled Blitz Mode.
Total Play Time: 4 hours