Azkend 2: The World Beneath (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 14.07.2018

Review for Azkend 2: The World Beneath on Nintendo Switch

Developer 10tons has already put out quite a few of its titles on Switch, like Tesla Vs. Lovecraft, Time Recoil and King Oddball, and now it is bringing its famous matching series to Nintendo's star new console. Even for those who never played the original, Azkend 2 is a familiar and simple puzzle game to pick up. It's basically a match three or more tiles affair, but Azkend 2: The World Beneath offers up a little more than the other thousands of Bejewelled clones out there, giving a story to play through, along with some extra features to the gameplay, and different challenges to keep things interesting.

When a 19th Century explorer drifts into a maelstrom while sailing from Liverpool to New York, what follows is a little Jules Verne adventure story, with a series of puzzle levels to unlock items that then unlocks the next chapter. Each part of the story sees the erstwhile explorer having to match sufficient tiles, flip over all of the tiles on the grid to change their colour, or complete special objectives, like stopping bugs from reaching the top of the grid or collecting flower tiles.

The core gameplay is a simple Match-3 (or more) title on a hexagonal grid, with the items on this grid made up of various sea-based tiles to match, such as shells, oysters, shark teeth, and more. Matching these tiles isn't the only way to remove them, though, as making more and more matches charges up Tesla coils to zap some away, and making a match of six or more tiles in a single turn fires off some lightning to help clear the board.

Once the objective is complete, an item will spawn somewhere on the grid; getting this to the bottom of the grid completes the level. To add an extra level of challenge, this all has to be done while fighting against a time limit. The items collected in this manner over the course of the story unlock special tiles that can be equipped, and doing so allows special tiles to appear on the board and gives passive bonuses to help during the puzzles.

Screenshot for Azkend 2: The World Beneath on Nintendo Switch

There are nine active tiles to equip and nine passive; one of each can be equipped at a time. The active tiles give abilities, such as a pair of binoculars, the tiles of which remove "odd one out" individual tiles that aren't touching any matching ones. There are compass tiles, which act as a bridge between different groups. Dynamite destroys tiles in a large explosion. Passive tiles grant small bonuses, such as extra time on a stage, and extra balls of lightning to be produced, extra power-ups to appear, and the like.

The story mode boasts over 60 levels and this is the perfect type of puzzler in that it drags attention in and doesn't let go, making for that "just one more go" style mentality, keeping things fresh by adding in new mechanics regularly and making it worth replaying levels with different items equipped for very different experiences. Outside of the story, there are two extra modes to keep things interesting. There is a medal mode, which allows replays of every stage, but with half the time limit. Then there are a time attack mode and a bunch of achievements to aim for.

Whether playing on the big screen or in handheld mode, the presentation is great. The tiles are sharp, the story moments between stages are made up of animated, hand-drawn moments that look really striking, and the whole thing is topped off by a score from Jonathan Geer, who also produced the wonderful soundtrack for Owlboy recently. What isn't great in both modes, though, is the way this controls. This is definitely one to be played in handheld mode, just to make use of the touchscreen. The cursor positively crawls across the screen and often doesn't feel right when swiping across groups of tiles. It feels like you are constantly battling against the controls unless the touchscreen is utilised.

Screenshot for Azkend 2: The World Beneath on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Puzzle games for handheld devices have been a staple since Tetris on the original Game Boy, and while Nintendo Switch is hardly lacking in them, especially with Lumines Remastered hitting recently, it's always good to have more, especially when they do anything to stand out against their competition, like Azkend 2: The World Beneath does. The story mode and equippable tiles give something unique, while the extra modes give the same type of replayability that makes these types of puzzle titles so popular.

Developer

10tons

Publisher

10tons Ltd

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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