By Eric Pankoke on Wed, 08/04/2010
Hey, I think it’s been over a week since I’ve reviewed a match 3 game. And if not, oh well. This time around the victim of my scrutiny is The Screetch, an oddly named match 3 game for sure. That’s okay, though, because the game itself is actually kind of fun - if not fairly derivative of your basic match 3 formula. The one thing that makes the game stand out is the screetch itself, and for now that’s enough to keep me entertained.
By now you probably know the routine, but for the sake of argument we’ll cover it again. You have a playing field that is partially filled with objects, and you’ll get new objects one at a time from the top of the screen. You decide which column to drop them in, and as soon as you match 3 or more of the same color horizontally or vertically the items that are matched will disappear. If you match 3 or more horizontally then you’ll charge the next ball in line, and when that ball is used it will explode, taking the whole row and column that it is in with it. If you can make multiple matches on the same move or on consecutive turns you’ll earn chain or combo points. Now at this point you’re thinking I’m going to mention how the game ends, and you’re right…
…except in order to do that I need to talk about the screetch. I’m not quite sure what screetch are, other than some offspring of the Spiderman villain Venom and another creature. The one thing that’s for certain is that they don’t want you to succeed in making matches. As such, they will start to envelope the balls that are already on the playing field with their bodies. If a ball gets completely covered it can’t be used in a match. However, if you happen to make a match that’s touching a screetch infected ball, one level of “screetchness” will go away. I think a completely covered ball requires four hits before it can be “cleansed” – and that’s assuming the screetch don’t try and take it over again. Whenever you remove screetch from a ball it gets collected in a vial, and once the vial is full you’ve collected that level’s screetch and you move on to the next level. You can also remove screetch infected balls when they are in a row or column that gets blown up by a charged ball.
Game play is simple enough. You just click the column you want to drop the next ball into. You couldn’t really ask for anything much easier than that. The one thing the game is lacking is variety. There are no modes, no difficulty levels, nothing. There aren’t even any power ups besides the bomb. Now I’ll grant you that the game gets more difficult as it goes along, and it might take you a little while to get all of the screetches, but once you do it doesn’t feel like there will be much incentive to continue playing, unless there are some plans for future updates that will include some of the things I mentioned previously in this paragraph.
Visually The Screetch is one of the better looking match 3 games. The backgrounds are actually quite nice to look at, and could easily be used for something a lot more sophisticated than a match 3 game. The pieces look pretty nifty themselves, especially when they are being consumed by the screetch. If you take a few moments to watch the screetch animation (and you’re familiar with the character) you’ll understand the Venom reference. Off to the side of each playing field is a screetch watching the action, and these guys look cool as well. Maybe they’ll make a guest appearance in an issue of the Pocket God comic book.
There isn’t a lot in terms of sound effects except for the noise when a bomb goes off, and everything else is very subtle. I’d love to hear the screetch make some noise. The music is good, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same song for every level, so if the levels ever start taking longer it will probably get repetitive. Overall I think the audio could use a bit of a boost to match the quality of the visuals.
The Screetch was a pleasant little surprise. It’s certainly not the best match 3 game on the market, and there’s not much innovation in the actual game play, but the use of the screetch as a timer of sorts is a nice little twist that makes the game interesting enough to stick with. I hope they expand on this game in the future, because I think there’s a lot of untapped potential here.
Overall Score: 7/10
App Store Link