I am a sucker for Match 3 type games, I mean I am totally infatuated by them. Whether it be the cream of the crop such as Bejeweled and Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, to even finding it difficult to stay away from Candy Crush Saga. I love them and and all the various types of spinoffs they create. Ironcast is no exception, therefore I jumped at the chance to review it.
Ironcast is an RPG Match 3 title, the sort that has been finding more and more popularity over the years, where you match tiles to level up and beat enemies, before moving on, leveling up some more and progressing the story. It is a mechanic that tends to work really well, as it does here.
Unlike a Super Puzzle Fighter, or Puzzle Quest, instead of matching 3 tiles by swapping them, you draw a line through adjacent tiles to fill up a meter that allows you to perform separate actions. If you’ve ever played the excellent mobile game Dungeon Raid, then you’ll already have a handle on the matching mechanics.
Each player has an overall turn that is made up of two options. The matching stage, which gives you 3 opportunities to make matches and fill the meters and then the action stage. Here you choose to level up defenses, attack and fix any damage. You can choose to mix up how you approach each turn, so you’re not forced to do the match stage completely, then attack, then finish.
You can choose to make an attack, or fix some damage to a weapon, etc. then make a couple of matches, increase defenses, maybe attack again, then do your final match and then maybe take another attack attempt, all before ending your turn. The fact that there is some wiggle room really adds to the tactical nature of the game and does make you think about your approach.
How you do this can depend on a number of things, a strong enemy type might see you needing to constantly manage your defenses, whilst chipping away with attacks, or you might have a collection mission which sees you needing to just stay alive whilst matching special tiles, or you may even need to concentrate an attack on one part of your opponent, so as not to damage a certain part.
Why? Well because you can also collect blueprints, which allow you to equip upgrades, whether this be to your main and secondary weapons, your defense or other attributes like your evasion. All of this will cost money, which is earned through winning battles and beating objectives. Money can also be found by making matches of coin tiles too.
It can’t all just be spend on upgrades willy nilly though, as it also costs to fix any damage you have at the end of a battle, which again means you need to carefully plan ahead with how money is spent.
This isn’t a simple progression based RPG styled game though, as it is more Roguelike in fashion, because once you die, you die. You will need to start again from scratch, which is something you will be used to by now if you have ever played a Roguelike title.
What happens here, is that when you die, the XP you’ve collected is then added to a ‘global pool’ which grows after every death, once you hit a new level, you are rewarded with new starting weapons, boosts, machines, characters, etc. all designed to make your life easier and carry you forward in the game.
It is a system that works really well and rather than being frustrated by death, you almost look forward to it, just to find out what you may unlock next. There is a wonderful balance to Ironcast and it is a game that lends itself well to playing in small bursts, or for longer sessions.
If you have even a passing interest in puzzle games, then Ironcast is a must play title, as it is easy to approach but rewards dedication. The level of polish that the game has too is just the icing on a very well made cake.