In one of the more amazing genre mash-ups we’ve seen, Fall of Atlantis takes Match-3 puzzles and melds them with a God of War-style setting and boss fights. While this concept floored us, the dinky character design and clumsy execution make Fall of Atlantis feel less epic and more epic fail.
You play as Atlas, the King of Atlantis (not the Titan holding the world on his shoulders), and are accompanied by your twin brother Eumelus. The two of you run to the right across four stages set in the mythical city of Atlantis, stopping occasionally to summon a Match-3 puzzle that, when solved, will open up your path.
Both characters are represented by tiny sprites who run with a goofy, choppy style that looks like it would be more at home on a piece of ancient pottery than on an impressive piece of digital hardware. The closeups of these characters’ faces, seen during certain dramatic moments, are especially ridiculous.
What would Kratos do?
Otherwise, though, the art is quite nice in Fall of Atlantis. The game is framed by Greek-style designs and the backgrounds have an interesting handcrafted look. Fall of Atlantis also features an excellent piano soundtrack, and we appreciated being able to play back a few selections in the game’s bonus soundtrack gallery.
If it weren’t for one irritating glitch, we’d recommend playing Fall of Atlantis with headphones. During the “boss fight” music for three bosses (a Leviathan, Cyclops, and Medusa) the audio will glitch loudly and painfully every time the track repeats, which is about once every two minutes. This should be fixed in an update, because otherwise we think the music in this game is great.
Yes, this is actually a boss fight.
But the audio glitch points to a bigger problem with the game’s overall execution. Some of the puzzle-solving feels clumsy, partly because you have to position Atlas correctly to get the best possible angle from which to throw your colorful blocks. Sometimes by accident you will choose a bad angle or be given a poor selection of blocks, and you’ll have to throw away every one until you can reposition and try again. Also, if the puzzle spawns too close to Atlas, another strange glitch where blocks disappear (but still register as being part of a combo) takes hold.
Also, the platforming elements are absurdly simple. We’re not expecting any big acrobatics in a game that focuses on the puzzles, but simply running right to the next obstacle (which is usually a boulder or beam that’s blocking your path) becomes tedious. You occasionally have to jump with a vertical swipe, but it feels unnatural. Fortunately, the varied boss fights, including a finale against Poseidon amidst rising waters, make up for the general lack of any interesting level design.
We applaud Fall of Atlantis for trying something original. However, quite a few kinks have to be worked out to make this game palatable for gamers who enjoy more polished titles like Bust-A-Move or Atlantis Sky Patrol. We say wait for the updates.