Some game developers need to get out more. We’re sure a typical design conversation goes like this:
Developer A – “What do you want to do today?”
Developer B – “You want to match three again?”
Developer A – “Brilliant!”
We don’t really want to go into the likely psychosis behind this, but if it produces a title like The Trooper, we wouldn’t mind all that much, even though it clogs an already overwhelmingly crowded field.
The Trooper has a standard Match-3 setup, except for the top of the board, which depicts an animated battle between your character on the left and invading forces from the right. Matching three on the board affects action on the battle above. All of the board pieces correspond to enemies. For example, matching three or more helicopters fires three missiles at any helicopters on the path, or just gives you points if there aren’t any. If they make it to your sandbagged fort, it’s game over.
Points go toward promotions, while little more than titles, do help give more purpose to the game. There is definite strategy involved, especially when deciding between waiting for more enemies before matching pieces or trying to amass points as they take their sweet time trying to reach you.
There are two modes, Mission and Endless, at easy or normal difficulty. Endless gives you a stopwatch, a kill count and a score, and then settles back with a glass of whiskey to watch you fight. Mission splits waves into several stops along a path, leading from a beach through a town and eventually to an intimidating castle. No explanation as to why, which is only slightly vaguer than modern-day warfare.
If your interest in Match-3 has somehow survived the recent glut of titles, then you may very well like The Trooper for its strategic twist. But destroying endless foes isn’t for everyone, and a game like this is about as replaceable as an orc in Mordor. Some might opt for something with a little more sunshine, like Fruit Juice Tycoon. Did we mention that it costs $4.99? That orc must be wearing a Rolex.