No sugar coating here, I got my arse handed to me by a Match-3 game tonight.
Specifically, Hell Girls, which is yet another budget title ($1.99) from SakuraGame. Most of their games can be summed up as “It’s a <genre>, with cute girls”, so you have Dragonia, which is a twin-stick shooter, with cute girls, Super Star, which is an idol management sim with… well, actually, I guess just “it’s an idol management sim” is enough… and so on.
So now I’ve played Hell Girls, which is a Match-3 game with cute girls fighting assorted fantasy critters as they um. I didn’t actually pay attention to why I was doing this. There WAS a plot, something about being recruited to fight demons maybe? I just wanted some fluffy fun matching colorful shapes and making them explode, and that’s what I got for the first, mmm, 30 levels or so.
Normally I’d actually make my own screenshots, but I am lazy and this is just taken from the game’s Steam page. You have three characters, each is element-themed, this is the ice-themed character facing off against a fire demon which seems like good strategic thinking.
The various blocks on the playfield represent offensive and defensive skills, so you match purple stars for a magical attack, hearts to refill your health, shields for armor, etc. As you match longer chains, you drop “spellbooks” on to the playfield, and using those in chains tends to have good effects for you and bad effects for your opponent.
I don’t THINK this is anything particularly revolutionary. I don’t play a ton of Match-3s, but I think this is all normal stuff for the genre.
Anyway, I played it over two nights, and the first night was all pretty breezy.
The second night, I got to the bit of the game where it gets nasty, when the opponents start dropping blocks on the field that put damage-over-time effects on your character, or that freeze blocks so they can’t be used in chains, or that lock you out of using your special abilities and so on. You always know WHAT attack is coming, and you always know how long it will be until it gets to you, but I spent a lot of time in the last few levels frantically recovering from the last round of debuffs and DOTs just in time to get socked with the next set.
You also face off against multiple opponents in sequence, so you frequently start a fight with a new guy while you’re still poisoned or on fire from the last guy. Die on the fifth fight in the encounter? You get a paltry bit of XP and have to start all over from the first enemy. I will not deny a certain amount of teeth clenching, which will probably make my dentist happy the next time he is fitting me for another crown.
Still, I persevered:
This is one of the weirder accomplishments to be proud of, but it made me EARN those cheevos.
Two dollars well spent.