Azkend 2 HD: The World Beneath, 10tons Ltd.’s follow-up to their popular Match-3 adventure, is now available from the app store. Infused with a fun storyline and collectible power-ups, Azkend 2 is not your ordinary Match-3 title.
Azkend 2 HD: The World Beneath Pros:
- Terrific graphics, gorgeous scenery, and exciting animations
- Sweeping soundtrack with clear, crisp voicework
- Responsive tap and drag mechanics
- Nice variety of level goals and power-ups
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Azkend 2 HD: The World Beneath Cons:
- Can be a frustrating lack of possible matches at times, leading to frequent reshuffling
- Some objects are confusingly similar, especially on smaller devices
There are more than 60 levels to work through in the Story mode, which puts you aboard a trans-Atlantic voyage that finds itself sucked into a maelstrom and pulled under the crashing seas. Your ultimate goal is to work through the puzzles to obtain items that act as both power-ups for subsequent stages, as well as items to assist you in your journey back to the Earth’s surface. It’s a mechanic that is both engaging and practical. In addition to this enjoyable method of play, a Timed mode gives you 2-minutes to rack up major point totals and a Medal mode allows you to replay all of the game’s mode with the goal of earning a medal in each.
Each board presents you with a configuration of hexes, with an object in each. Adjacent matching objects can be dragged over to eliminate them, causing objects above to fall down while new objects fill in the gaps at the screen top. The goal of each level changes as you progress in the game. Initially, you are trying to create matches that involve each hex, turning them from yellow to blue once used. Soon, gray tiles are included that need to be flipped from gray to yellow to blue before you can move on. Foggy hexes need matches made next to them to clear the fog before matching them, locked hexes need matches made next to them to unlock access and cause objects to cascade into the empty locations, and fire makes its way across some levels unless you make matches near them to beat back the flames. Some levels have bugs that make their way toward the screen top, requiring you to match object next to them to whittle down their health until they are eliminated. Once the primary objective of a level is completed, a portion of your goal object appears at the screen top. You must then eliminate pieces below it until this object reaches the glowing tiles at the screen bottom to complete the level. Of course, this is all happening while a timer ticks down.
Once the object is completed, it becomes either an active or passive power-up that can be equipped for use in subsequent levels. Binoculars give you hints, a compass acts as a wildcard, dynamite explodes surrounding squares when matched, a hammer will selectively destroy certain hexes, and so on. Tesla coils at the screen top charge up as you make matches, unleashing deadly bursts of electricity when all 5 are lit or in conjunction with the use of certain power-ups. There are a few fun mini-games to enjoy, too. One occurs before you are presented with a new object. A beautiful piece of scenery is shown and a small circle in the upper right corner contains a piece of that scene. You must tap on the matching area within the scene. A series of mis-taps will speed up your timer’s countdown. Correct guesses will charge up tesla coils for the next round.
Graphically, Azkend is a highly-polished title with great graphics and pretty scenes. The animations involving eliminated tiles, electricity bursts, and the like add to the excitement and frantic action. There were a few objects that looked a little too similar, causing some confusion. The soundtrack is also high-quality, featuring sweep music and crisp, clear voiceovers. The sound effects give the gameplay a nice, arcade-like feel. Controls are responsive and easy to use, requiring you to drag over tiles that you want to match or tap on screens where you are searching for matching pieces of scenery. Replay value is quite good, as the multiple modes and selectable power-ups help to change the gameplay up in a variety of ways. GameCenter leaderboards and achievements also give players a reason to keep coming back for more. A universal app on launch sale for $3.99, Azkend 2 HD is a terrific 4.5-Dimple stud.
Azkend 2 HD: The World Beneath Review,