iPhone Life magazine

Review: Last Temple by Gamelab

Last Temple is one of those matching games where you must drag your finger across three or more adjacent tiles of the same type to clear them.  It’s actually a pretty solid implementation of such game play, and the challenges are certainly quite a challenge.  However, Last Temple doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre.  I remember having lots of fun playing a similar game called Azkend, and I just don’t get the same sense of addiction from Last Temple as I did from that game.  If you love this type of game play (or are new to it) then Last Temple is a decent choice, but if this sub-genre of matching games has kind of warn on you, it might be better if you waited for Azkend 2.

Lightening Strike
 

You must travel deep into the heart of a temple, beating each of four scrolls that represent a different magical power.  To do this you’ll have to conquer several levels of matching for each scroll.  Some tiles have 1, 2 or three layers of covering before they are “cleared”.  Other tiles are locked and must be unlocked before clearing can begin.  Still other tiles might have goo on them, which if not cleaned up quickly will spread and eventually make it impossible to clean up a board.  Finally, every eighth board requires you to fill a skull meter by matching skulls on the board, and can only be completed when the skull meter is full.

As you progress through the game you’ll earn spells, which are powered by the matches you make.  When a spell is ready you simply tap on it to use it, and depending on what the spell does you might need to tap on the board as well.  Spells do things like rearrange all the pieces on the board and destroy a particular tile you tap on.  There are also special tiles that let you do things like connect strings of two different types of objects together or shoot lightening at all items like the type you’ve currently matched.  To use these special tiles you simply need to include them in a match.  Besides the main game there are challenges, which are specially crafted boards that must be unlocked.  These boards offer you very little time to complete them, so be prepared to take them on several times before completing them.

Building A Combo
 

Once you finish a board several of the tiles will turn into rubies which you can then tap on to earn extra points and to collect for unlocking the challenge levels.  Your final score for a level is a combination of rubies collected, longest chain of items matched and highest combo.  The game also has OpenFeint integration with 18 different achievements to earn, most of which will probably take you a while.  I’m about half way through the second scroll and have only earned one achievement so far.

The main control mechanism is dragging your finger across tiles to select enough for a match.  There are times when the game seems a bit flaky in how it interprets you dragging, so you might not get a match when you thought you had selected enough pieces.  I also noticed that when you are tapping the rubies at the end of the level that more often than need be you’ll have to tap several times to get some of them.  At least the spell buttons seem to be quite responsive.  The controls aren’t terrible, but they certainly could stand to be tightened up a bit.

Darkness Is Here
 

The visuals in Last Temple are pretty slick.  Each icon has a distinct look, and there are nice little animations when an icon has lightening or dynamite attached to it.  Some of the effects for spells and special tiles are also well done.  There’s even a neat effect on some levels were things are dark until a fairy flies over the tiles.  The sound effects aren’t too bad, though they are fairly standard for this type of game.  The music is decent, and if Hollywood is to be believed is rather representative of the whole ancient temple atmosphere.

Last Temple is a solid matching game that aside from a couple of control issues does what it does well.  Unfortunately, it just doesn’t stick out much from the other offerings on the App Store.  There are plenty of levels, the challenges are certain to keep you busy for a while, and it looks and sounds decent enough.  It simply has too much of that “been there, done that” feeling.  If you just can’t get enough of this style of game play or you’re new to the genre, Last Temple will keep you entertained.  If this style of game play has become stagnant for you, Last Temple won’t do anything to revitalize the spark.

Overall Score: 6/10
App Store Link

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.