Developed by Cervo Media, Crazy Rings is a game that sits firmly in the Match 3 Shooter genre. For reasons not explained, the zoo animals of the world have become involved in a mass breakout. You are called in to take on the role of the person who has to corral the escapees so that they can be returned to the enclosures in their home zoos.
While the game is silent, so there is no option to adjust the non-existent volume level, and the game is fixed at full screen, so again does not offer an option, you can create profiles for individual players. These profiles will store the player’s progress for the three forms of game play available in Crazy Rings. The three type of game play are Zen mode, Campaign and Free Play.
Which ever style of game play you opt for, the basic concept is the same. You will need to gather up the escaped animals by creating groups of three or more of the same animal by shooting more animals in the snaking chain of animal headshots that appear and travel around the centrally positioned shooter. The shooter holds two headshots and these are fired by a left mouse click aimed at where ever the mouse cursor is pointing. The position of these two headshots can be changed with a right mouse click on the shooter is that makes matters easier.
Completed groups are then whisked away back to their enclosure with any gaps being filled in as the remaining headshots closing up. Once all the headshots have been cleared away then the task is complete and you can move on to the next level. However if the key and lock positioned at either end of the chain come into contact then you will have failed and will need to replay the level in order to progress.
As you move through the 100+ levels making up the campaign game, additional features are introduced to make the game more challenging. Sometimes multiple chains will appear and some will be in the form of a circle which needs to be cleared before gaining access to other chains. Stones will appear in the chains and you can collect power-ups such as hambones, ranging rhinos and rocket ships. At the conclusion of each level you will be awarded points and stars representing the quality of your performance. There is a marked difference in the difficulty between the levels.
Free Play, as its title indicates, gives you the choice of which individual level you tackle. However before a level becomes available in Free Play, it will need to be completed first in Campaign mode. By selecting Free Play mode you will be shown a list of all the levels that are currently available from which you can make a selection.
Zen mode of game play is a bit like a test of patience as you face a continuous stream of animal headshot arcs that circle the shooter and need to be cleared away by making groups of three or more animals of the same type. As with the other forms of game play, the clearing away has to be completed before the key and lock elements come into contact with each other.
Generally I found this mode to be the easiest of the three. At times it was so easy that I set myself challenges of trying to place my shots so that multiple groups were created in a sort of chain reaction to increase the points total awarded after the completion of each level. Setting myself these challenges did help with Zen mode otherwise this mode can become rather boring.
My review version of this software was downloaded from GameHouse.com. You can download a time-limited version of the game free of charge. The full unrestricted version will cost USD $9.99. System requirements call for a 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 20MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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