7 Wonders II

6.0 Overall Score

Written by on March 12, 2011 in

Swap gems across a grid, match three-of-a-kind, the gems vanish and more gems drop down.  Now where have I seen this before?  Yes, match three puzzle games have seen hundreds of different iterations since Bejeweled released way back in 2001 so 7 Wonders II from developer Mumbo Jumbo will find itself releasing into a very crowded market.  Does 7 Wonders II have what it takes to stand above the crowd or will it be lost amongst the flood?

The general goal of 7 Wonders II is to build each of the seven wonders of the ancient world from Stonehenge to The Moai Statue buy collecting building blocks for your workers.  This is done by accomplishing two goals on each puzzle board.  First the player must remove the stone blocks that sit behind every squared of the grid by matching three or more gems in front of the blocks.  Second, the player must guide one or more unbreakable cornerstone block from the top to the bottom of the grid by matching and removing the gems directly below it.  Both of these tasks must be completed before a timer on the side of the screen runs out.  These goals help to add new layers of strategy and pressure to the match three formula.  It is an easy task to jump all over the board matching tiles but if the player isn’t mindful of the remaining stone blocks to be removed it can lead quickly lead to a failed stage.  This emphasis on strategy and foresight become increasingly important gradually ups the challenge with oddly shaped game boards and immovable blocks that make it more difficult to line up three gems in just the right spot.

This challenge is significantly relieved, though, by a gradually increasing arsenal of power-ups.  Every level will grant row clearing bombs for matching four or more gems but the real board clearing abilities come from a menu of power-ups that the player chooses from at the beginning of each stage.  These range from wild card gems to large bombs that recharge as the player makes matches during play.

In addition to the required tasks on each board the player may also choose to aim for bonus stages by matching a specific color of gem on a specific point on the game board.  Doing this will launch a mini bonus stage where the player is tasked with moving a cornerstone block from the top to the bottom of a grid within a limited number of moves.  These mini puzzles start off fairly simple but can turn devilishly tricky in the latter parts of the game.

For all the good in 7 Wonders II, though, there are a couple nagging issues that should be noted.  The biggest of these is the rather pointless and annoying inclusion of a lives system.  Under this system each failed puzzle will take away one life (with three lives being the default).  If the player runs out of lives then it will result in a game over and all bonuses (including progress towards unlocking bonus stages) is lost.  This system can be frustrating and doesn’t really add anything to the game.  Another issue is the inability to replay the story mode at a higher difficulty level (a feature that was present in the games predecessor).

Overall 7 Wonders II is a solid addition to the match three puzzle genre that includes enough strategic touches and useful bonuses to make it fun and addicting to play.  Nothing here is going to set the world on fire but among the sea of similar puzzle games 7 Wonders II holds its own pretty well.

A copy of 7 Wonders II was received by The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.


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Author: Tylor Long View all posts by

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