At this point, who isn’t familiar with the “With Friends” franchise of iOS games? Mobiles phones and turn-based word games seem to go perfectly hand-in-hand. However, with this new addition to the line, Zynga moves away from the word-based games and tries something new: match-three puzzles. Matching with Friends plays like the others with its easy to understand gameplay and its buyable power-ups, but it may not be enough to make the game as exciting as the others in its family.
Matching with Friends plays on a grid on which you and your opponent place lines of colored tiles. These lines are made up of three tiles each and can only be formed in straight lines. Your goal is to place these lines of tiles next to each other and match the colored tiles together. When three similarly colored tiles touch, you earn points and those colored tiles vanish. There are bonus score tiles on the grid, so placing is strategic here.
Blocks that look good enough to eat.
The game gets more complicated the more you play, because matches will leave spare tiles scattered throughout the board. These tiles can certainly come in handy, but you may need to just get rid of them. You can buy bombs and other power-ups to move the board around as you please, but you’re limited to the number of power-ups you can use. There are large and small bombs, as well as precision and particular bombs that can win the game if you can use them right.
Once you’ve placed all three lines of tiles, or swapped out any tiles you don’t want, your turn is up and your points are tallied. Once each player has made eleven rounds or you’ve run out of playable spaces, the game is up. Like all “With Friends” games, you can play the games whenever you want, taking minutes or weeks to complete a game. You can also have several games going at once, making this a perfect on-the-go game experience.
Hip to be square.
While the gameplay in Matching with Friends isn’t as addictive as other Zynga games, it’s certainly fun and easy to play. The fluorescent colors of the game board aren’t too bright or inviting, and the game isn’t designed for the new iPad’s retina display. That’s the biggest shame, since these grid-style board games are perfect for a tablet.
In the end, Matching with Friends is a respectable addition to the franchise. For those dying for a turn-based match-three game, this is perfect. However, we don’t know how big that audience might be. There’s a free-to-play version on the App Store, so you have nothing to lose but a few hours of gaming.