Match-3 games in the style of Bejeweled seldom expand upon the concept enough to create something that feels new. Babo Crash is one of those rare games that actually manages to improve on the overused formula. It doesn’t feel like a completely new game, but that didn’t stop us from having a lot of fun destroying gems with the destructive Babo heroes.
Like most other Match-3 games, the goal is to swap adjacent objects to place three or more of the same kind next to each other. That aspect remains untouched here. In order to pass each round, you must fill up a points bar by matching gems within a time limit. Once you fill up the bar, you can continue matching for extra points until the time runs out. But if you fail to meet the requirement, it’s game over.
Don’t tase me, bro!
The big twist in Babo Crash are the interesting powerups. Matching four gems creates a ‘hero’ character, which is activated by matching it with tiles of the same color. These range from a red bat that flies around the screen as you tilt the device, smashing any tiles underneath him, to a sick yellow heroine who barfs in one direction, destroying any gems in her path.
Matching five gems of any kind creates the ultimate hero: Robo. Once moved in any direction, Robo sends electricity shooting diagonally in all four directions, wiping out every gem in its path. It also gets rid of the Chompiis on the screen, which act to wall off certain spaces on the board.
Some other ideas unique to Babo Crash are the ability to rotate the orientation of the board by turning your device, and bombs that must be guided to a 2×2 box without being able to swap with other gems to get there. Learning the ins and outs of the game is easy, but mastering the art of using the elements with one another is a difficult task.
There is one issue that really holds Babo Crash back. The stringent time limits that kick in after the first few rounds can be a burden. We wish some of the time limits were longer, as the game ends up being quite unforgiving early on.
Otherwise, Babo Crash is a great package. With OpenFeint integration and gameplay that will keep you coming back, any fan of Match-3 shouldn’t hesitate to try this one out.