There’s a whole mess of Match-3 puzzle games out there for the iPhone, and any title that wants to stand out from the mass of jewels and gems can only do so by wielding an unusual spark or trait. Drakolanche has taken admirable steps to step away from the crowd with unique aesthetics and a new spin on gameplay. It’s still a Match-3 game, and it probably won’t sway you if you’re not a fan of the sub-genre, or if you’re simply burnt out. But if you have room in your heart for a dragon cub with a neat spin in an old idea, Drakolanche is worth whittling away at.
In Drakolanche, you match up three types of eggs in order to clear them off the screen. The game offers up a Classic and Avalanche mode. Classic mode offers up a familiar breed of match-three puzzle gaming: The screen is full of colored eggs, and matching up three in a vertical or horizontal row will clear them away. Matching up more than three will result in a combo, which is a good way to rack up points. The game ends when there are no more moves to make.
These are good, but some toast would be nice.
Avalanche mode is where things get interesting. The game begins with only a few lines of colored eggs, and the idea is to keep those levels as low as possible by matching up similar colors. If you’re stuck for matches, you can flip the iPhone in any direction and the eggs will cascade, opening up new possibilities. If the screen fills up, it’s game over.
If you’re having trouble with either mode, you can call on a dragon cub to help clear the screen. When you score points, you fill up the dragon’s attack meter. When it’s full, the dragon will eat a couple of lines of eggs, or burn them up with its fiery breath.
You can engage Drakolanche in free play at any time, or you can go through the game’s Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode takes you through the game level by level, and you progress when you score a certain amount of points. Unfortunately, some of the eggs are colored very similarly, which can make them a headache to match up. Is that a red egg? Or an orange one?
Drakolanche has its flaws, and there are admittedly more innovative and exciting Match-3 games on the App Store. But it still tries hard to charm the player, and it is hard not to fall in love with that little dragon.