Playrix’s first iPad game Fishdom HD got our feet wet with a fast-paced and gorgeous series of full-screen Match-3 puzzles, tied together with a colorful aquarium metagame. We weren’t quite as impressed by their follow-up, Rise of Atlantis HD, because Atlantis feels slower and smaller than Fishdom.
In Rise of Atlantis HD, you have to make a circuit around the Mediterranean in ancient times, collecting pieces of magical items that will help you raise the city of Atlantis. At each stop, you’ll play a Match-3 puzzle where the goal is to drop pieces of each item to the bottom of the screen. Things become incredibly difficult when you have to move pieces sideways to avoid obstacles while racing against the clock.
By the lightning storms of Babylon.
We’d expect a game about traveling through Ancient Greece, Rome, Troy, and Babylon to be much more exciting than a virtual fish tank, but Fishdom HD is still the better game. While both Playrix games share the same core Match-3 mechanics, we found Fishdom HD to be fast-paced where Atlantis is a bit plodding.
One example of this is the fact that in Atlantis, you can’t switch tiles while other tiles are matching elsewhere on the board. Plus, while your score mattered in Fishdom, since it earned you more money to buy new fish and scenery, all that matters in Atlantis is sinking some pottery shards to the bottom of the screen. Cascading combos can sometimes be a detriment, because they’ll waste time without helping you achieve your goals.
In addition, the puzzles in Rise of Atlantis are windowed, compared to the full-screen puzzles in Fishdom HD. It seems like a waste of the iPad’s huge display when your power-ups and objectives take up a third of the screen.
Sail on, sailor.
Still, we think Playrix knows how to keep Match-3 interesting over long periods of time. While sinking shards can feel repetitive, the presentation is otherwise top-notch. And you’ll get your money’s worth with this game– after spending hours making your first journey around the Mediterranean, you get to do it all over again on a harder difficulty level.
If you’re only going to buy one Match-3 game on the iPad to last you for a while, we would recommend Fishdom HD or Heroes of Kalevala over Rise of Atlantis HD. But if you’re looking for a big challenge and interesting historical theme, Rise of Atlantis HD is still a good choice.