Game – Azkend 2: The World Beneath
Release Date – May 6th, 2016
Platform – Xbox One(Review), Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Developer/Publisher –10tons Ltd./10tons Ltd.
Price – $7.99
Sparkle 2 was the first game I ever reviewed, and it was developed by 10tons Ltd. Now, I have the chance to review their latest release into the console world, Azkend 2: The World Beneath. This match-three puzzle game was originally released in 2012 for Android/iOS. They took the simple match-three puzzle and added more depth. Power-ups, passive powers, and much more makes this game stand out when compared to other games in its genre.
Firstly, let me mention that there are three different game modes within Azkend 2: The World Beneath. There is an Adventure Mode, a Time Challenge Mode, and a Medal Mode. The Adventure Mode focuses on the story of the game, while the other two modes are made to challenge your skills. The story in this game, however, is reminiscent of Sparkle 2’s story in that it feels forced, and honestly, just isn’t necessary.
Azkend 2’s Adventure Mode opens up with a narrator named Jules who is trying to sail from Liverpool to New York. The first few levels teach you the basics of the game, showing you how to clear the board in order to advance. As you finish the first few simple levels, a terrible storm will hit your ship. The ship will then be taken into a whirlpool, and you, along with Jules, will awake in a strange location. Solving the multitude of puzzles (over 60!) will advance/complete the adventure.
Now, the story isn’t terrible. It’s just dull. The narration is decent, and the background scenery is truly beautiful. There are even a few puzzles that allow the player to take the time to scan the art more closely, and I actually enjoyed having a break to look at the artwork. 10tons Ltd. knows that the artwork is beautiful, which is great, but the story mode just isn’t necessary. The three-match game is simple, and I believe that they felt that a story was needed to make this game seem more exciting. However, puzzle game players just want to play puzzles, telling a story isn’t needed.
As mentioned earlier, there are two challenging modes that are available in Azkend 2: The World Beneath. Time Challenge Mode is an endless mode that will pit you against the clock. The goal is simply to score as many points as possible before the clock runs out. Medal Mode is simply repeating the levels that you completed earlier in Adventure Mode with a little more of a challenge. You will be earning different tiers of medals that are determined by how quickly you finish the level. Shoot for the gold medals, as they are for the best players. As for me? I went for the silver and bronze (puzzles games just aren’t my genre…).
These two modes, in my opinion, are what the game should have been about. Medal Mode allows you to play the Adventure Mode without having to stop and listen to narration. Time Challenge will bring out your competitiveness, especially if you are a hardcore puzzle gamer.
One other issue that I had with this game is the controls. You simply hold down the button, drag across the images, and then release the button when you have your match. I had a problem getting the images in an order to grant me higher bonuses, which forced me to go back and redo what I had thought I had already done. That can become frustrating for someone who is playing against the clock.
I wish that 10tons Ltd. would quit trying to add story modes into their puzzle games. Why? Because they understand gameplay. Their games are solid, functional, and are really fun. But, when you force story that isn’t great, it makes me want to quit playing and jump onto my phone for a puzzle game. Taking the time to develop a story will pull resources away from more levels, better gameplay, or more modes. I hope that they focus on that for their next title.
Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review
Game – Azkend 2: The World Beneath