Ever since I became addicted to WWE Champions on mobile earlier this year match 3 games have become my thing. I’ve always enjoyed games like Bejeweled but I’ve never been addicted. Therefore, when I get the opportunity to play – and review – a new one I jump at the opportunity.
Almost every match 3 game that I’ve played recently has had a point of a differential. Whether that differential is a license (e.g. WWE Champions, anime-inspired (e.g. HuniePop) or franchise (e.g. Bejeweled) there is something different about them. Aztec Venture’s differential is its theme. As you may suspect, the theme of the game is an Aztec adventure.
The game features eight chapters of fifteen levels each for a total of 105 levels. After every four levels, the game presents the player with a different mini-game. These mini-game levels are different to the regular levels.
Regular levels have you clearing pillars of different colored Aztec blocks. Individual blocks may have a special characteristic. For example, the first introduced mechanic sees them with a vine wrapped around them. You need to match 3 to get rid of the vine and then match 3 again to destroy the block.
The mini-games are where the most fun is at and they do feel like a reward to play. The first such mini-game, level 5, sees the player slide puzzle pieces into the right direction. The one that I had the most difficulty with was the third one. You need to move balls from the top of the screen into a mine cart below. The problem is that you have a limited amount of time to do this and the player has no control over the mine cart. This means you’re constantly trying to move the ball over the screen rather than directly down into it. If you’re ever so slightly off from the cart it misses and it doesn’t count. You also have a limited amount of time so frustrations quickly grow.
Overall, the gameplay is fun albeit a little frustrating. I found it a challenge trying to beat the par times for each level. Sometimes I nailed them and other times I had to repeat levels at a later time to get the maximum number of stars for each level (5).
The visual-audio presentation of Aztec Venture is pretty spot on. In fact, it was one of the best components of the game. The color palette chosen is warm and inviting. It’s very easy for the eyes and a pleasure to play. Consequently, it enables the player to spend significant amounts of time playing in one sitting. The audio is smooth to listen to and is befitting of the theme of the game. This is always a bugbear of mine so when I see an art style and audio that matches the theme I am appreciative.
Lack of Steam Features
Personally, the biggest drawback that I have with the game is the lack of Steam features. I’m someone who appreciates the extra little bit of work that a developer does to engage with the platform the game is on. Unfortunately, the game completely lacks Steamification. By that, it feels as though the game has been dumped onto Steam without a care in the world.
Please, rokaplay, if you want the Steam userbase to take your games seriously and to jump at the opportunity to purchase them, you need to Steamify your game. Your games are born to be Steamified.
Add achievements. Achievements are so simple to add to your game especially when goals and targets are so identifiable as they are in this game. For example, how about an achievement for completing a level? If you want to make your players earn them unlocks then for achieving 4 or 5 stars on a level rather than just completing it.
Further, incorporate the Steam Leaderboard. You have a game that is predicated upon how quickly a player can complete each level. I’d like to see if somebody has beaten my thirteen seconds on level twelve.
Your titles deserve the extra purchases that achievement hunters and competitive players would make. Ultimately, you’re robbing yourself sales for not very much work. Yes, it’s the cream for a title but in a world where developers are consistently offering said cream, you need to join the coffee club!
The Gamephasis Conclusion
If you enjoy match 3 games as much as what I do then you’ll find plenty to like about Aztec Venture. There’s enough content for you to play through and get your monies worth. The presentation is very good for a game within the genre. The biggest downside to the game is the way rokaplay refuse to Steamify their games. If they added those extra features I’d be one very happy gamer.