The wealth of Match 3 puzzle titles on the market is simply extraordinary, with no end in sight to the releases. Thankfully, though, the versions being brought to Nintendo 3DS relatively early in its lifespan are of a higher quality than many of the Nintendo DS efforts. One particular impressive game from last year is Jewel Link: Legends of Atlantic 3D from Avanquest UK / GSP.
In all honesty, having some sort of storyline is really not necessary in one of these pick-up-and-play puzzle titles. They all play in the same way, though, so developers attempt to mix in something different to engage players more. Therefore, in Jewel Link: Legends of Atlantis the theme is that adventurers have searched for the sunken kingdom for a millennia, hoping to uncover amazing treasures. However, who created the mystic city? Time to find out, building various structures via the completion of Match 3 puzzles and collection of specific materials along the way. Thus begins a long process of completing the game's hundred or so challenges.
As with all games of this ilk, Jewel Link: Legends of Atlantis involves matching three or more of the same item / symbol, causing chains as tiles disappear and others fall from above to fill the gaps. A certain amount of specific items must be cleared, along with removing any blockades around the playing field, and ensuring something has been removed from every square on the board to make all base tiles change colour. In perfectly square or rectangular areas this is quite simple, yet the layout changes further into the game to add more challenge.
To balance things out, special abilities unlock as progress is made, with random tiles being cleared, more time added to the clock, diagonal lines removed, and various others that must eventually be used wisely to complete some of the more difficult stages later on.
Everything is presented extremely well and the 3DS is definitely used to remove some of the blurriness that plagued certain DS titles in this genre. There is even a surprisingly decent 3D effect when the slider is turned on completely. Whilst addictive on the whole, though, there is not quite the same sense of purpose to proceedings as with something like Jewels of the Ages or even Jewel Link Chronicles: Legend of Athena on DS. For those that get easily drawn in by these types of games, however, it will definitely pass the hours as there is plenty of content packed in.
Extremely simple to control using the stylus and the range of stage styles definitely makes for some highly intense puzzles further into the game. However, some of the purpose behind continuing to the end is missing.
Clear cut, very well presented throughout, certainly benefitting from the extra hardware power of the 3DS, with some smart 3D effects mixed in for good measure.
Pleasantly surprising, definitely in a good way, with the melodic tunes not interfering with the action, distracting the player.
With 20 monuments to construct through clearing stages, and a whole host of achievements to unlock, many an hour will fly by with this lodged in the 3DS!
Jewel Link: Legends of Atlantis 3D is definitely one of the better Match 3 games on the market and certainly one of the best to grace the Nintendo 3DS in the early part of its lifespan. With more than a hundred stages to work through, the only drawback is that despite efforts on the part of the developer, there is not an actual sense of purpose to working through everything. As ever, a much needed multiplayer mode and online aspects are also missing. One day, maybe?