Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Chainz Galaxy (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Chainz Galaxy on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Avanquest UK has just released the latest in the Match-3 puzzle genre that has become a craze across the world over the years. This time the publisher has brought out a port of a PC title by MumboJumbo. Does Chainz Galaxy firstly make a smooth transition to the diminutive handheld, and secondly is it strong enough to survive in the already crowded marketplace?

Chainz Galaxy is actually the third entry into the PC puzzle series, but is only the first game to reach the Nintendo DS. Whilst the Nintendo DS has been inundated with all manner of Match-3 efforts, be they simple puzzle-only affairs or ones with other elements mixed in, Chain Galaxy is one of the better releases. 2011’s Jewels of the Ages set a precedent for the genre, and coming off the back of City Interactive’s two-in-one pack it may seem like a massive step back when jumping into this. However, with the cute little Jesus-like creators piecing together the world between stages and the extremely aurally pleasing, calm and melodic soundtrack, the atmosphere set up is definitely a positive one, leading to playtime hours flying by faster than you realise.

The idea is somewhat different to the norm, with a board full of chain links that can only be rotated individually, rather than employing the usual tile swapping nature of other Match-3 titles. This proves to be extremely restrictive to begin with, yet as more time is poured into Chain Galaxy, and the art of forming long chains using the various link types in the most advantageous way has been mastered, hidden depth comes to the fore. Once a chain of the same coloured links has been formed vertically, horizontally, or in numerous directions thanks to special four-way loops, there is a slight pause to allow for other links to be added to the selection, if possible, before they disappear, allowing ones from above to drop downwards. In the time it takes for that to happen, though, skilled gamers will be able to swiftly rotate any surrounding similarly coloured links so that combination moves are formed, with multiple clearances occurring in a row to fill more of the meter on the top screen that must be filled to progress to the next level.

Screenshot for Chainz Galaxy on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Simply filling that meter by clearing as much from the board as possible before running out of options -- resulting in a game over -- is not the be all and end all of the game, however. Attached to certain links are special charms, some of which are part of a 30-strong collectible catalogue, others used to fill up a power item icon in the centre of the upper screen (with a random link remover, bombs, lightning strikes to clear whole rows, and so on), and the primary ones being to break locks on the progress bar that otherwise prevent completion of a level, and with more than 135 to work through across the game’s four modes it certainly takes a lot of creativity to remove specific links to eventually reach, and then subsequently clear, the important charms.

Chain Galaxy makes you work hard to earn more, which is ideal for a game such as this, since it is not simply mindless chain clearing. Instead the Arcade, Puzzle and Strategy modes only open up the further into the Story the player makes it, and given how tough it is to reach the end of the seventh level in the world creation section, that will certainly not be an easy task. After the gruelling Story, having the chance to tackle the other modes with a relaxed approach is much welcomed, although those looking to push themselves further can also opt for being pitted against the clock to test endurance levels.

Screenshot for Chainz Galaxy on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Deceptively basic, Chain Galaxy lulls the player into a false sense of security before grabbing them tightly and not letting go.

Graphics

Extremely cute presentation and layout for the story.

Sound

Peaceful, melodic music that sets up the atmosphere for long play sessions.

Value

135 levels to tackle, a smooth learning curve, and several modes to unlock make this a keeper.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Chain Galaxy really has snuck into the minefield of Match-3 puzzle games out there on the Nintendo DS and managed to carve out a little nook to reside in, not garnering too much attention due to its humble nature, but managing to stay relevant thanks to great presentation and a highly addictive core quality that will keep players hooked for ages.

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07.01.2012

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Developer

MumboJumbo

Publisher

Avanquest

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thoroughly recommend this - I've been playing the PC version after completing the DS game for review, and it's SO addictive! I wish there was a two-player mode, though, or at least some sort of online leader-board...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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