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Rebuild the Village
Forming part of the Enthralling Realms series of game, is the Curse of Darkness. This offering belongs to the Match-3 genre of game playing. Other titles in this particular series include An Alchemist Tale, The Witch and the Elven Princess, plus the Blacksmith's Revenge. In this particular title, namely the Curse of Darkness, the action is based around the activities of the determined duo of Sam and Alice as they need to set out and rescue a Hobbit Village which had fallen prey to a dark curse. This pair had to restore the village, plus its inhabitants, to its former glory.
Prior to setting out on this daunting task, individual adjustments can be made to the game's playing environment for different players with their settings stored in profiles. You can set the volume levels to be used for sound effects and background music with a choice of full or wide screen viewing of the on-screen action. These profiles will also record the progress of individual players as they complete grids.
The Hobbit Village is spread over five closely positioned islands that are appropriately named The Plains. Dragon Island, Volcano Island, Dark Swamp and the Archipelago. These locations need to be visited in turn. Each island will consist of a number of grids that need to be completed in order for progress to be made.
The various grids consist of columns and row that will be filled with embellished tiles plus an occasional cut-out box with certain tiles highlighted with particular colours. Several of the tiles will be bound with a single or double strands of chain. The object of the grid is to create groups of three or more similarly embellished tiles by the process of swapping two adjacent tiles. These tiles are then removed along with any highlighted colours and possible chain strands. The tiles are then replaced by other tiles falling downwards to take their place. You will also need to collect any special elements such as a magic potion, that might be inserted in the grid. This removal process involves guiding the required element to the bottom of the grid by clearing a path.
Rewards are on offer for the removal of tiles and the clearing of grids. These rewards take the form of a charging surge for the three power-ups that are available to help clear a grid. These power-ups are made up of a Hobbit Hammer. Explosive Spell and a Magic Charm that can be used to remove a single tile, specific area of tiles of a particular type. You are also provided with cash that can be used to purchase the facilities required to restore the Hobbit Village to its former glory.
At the start of each grid you will be offered the opportunity to purchase one of the four specified facilities that the current portion of the Hobbit Village is lacking. In total there are 20 different upgrade facilities spread equally between the five island locations of the Hobbit Village. A brief animated sequence will be used to show the construction of the chosen facility. This creation process will be accompanied by a conversation between Alice and Sam or another character.
Running alongside of the current grid will be feedback regarding the elements collected and the status of the available power-ups. Upgrade facilities can be used when necessary,
As well as the ability to build up power enhancing feature, this game also contains a number of features that will block the clearing progress. I have already mentioned the strands of chain and empty boxes that will need to be worked around. To these elements can be added the appearance of spiders and balloon tiles. Spiders, which wander freely around the grid, need to be removed by clearing a gap underneath them. While a Balloon tile can be popped, it does then change into another tile that might, or might not, create a group. You need to time the popping process to get the result you want. I struggled with this aspect of the game.
The Enthralling Realms - Curse of Darkness is made up of more than 78 levels of Match-3 grid game play. At the conclusion of each grid you will be awarded up to three stars plus the time taken and any bonuses achieved. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is available priced at $9.99. The game requires a 1.2 GHz processor with 1024 MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.
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