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Further StarL Action
A recent arrival from Itera Labs is the third title in the StarL series of Match 3 action. This particular series increases the importance of colour as part of the creation of groups as you carry out various Match 3 activity such as swapping two adjacent tiles and the removal of certain tiles.
Following on from the first two episodes of this series, profiles can be created so that different people can play the game and have their progress recorded. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels applied to background music and sound effects announcing various situations. Further options allow the game to be viewed in full screen mode with any instructions being displayed in a choice of a number of European languages.
The game action spreads itself over 140 levels of game play offering a wide variety of challenges. These levels need to be tackled in sequence although you are granted the options of returning to an earlier level in order to improve your performance. You will be graded by the number of stars you receive for completing each level.
While Match 3 grids for the current level takes up most of the screen area, there is enough space across the top for an information panel. This panel will provide access to the game’s main title screen along with a Help Guide, Hint feature and the current level plus indicators of the time and moves remaining to complete the level and a solitary Hammer tool which can be reused. The presence of time and move indicators does not mean that the level will need to be completed before they run out. They are more to do with whether you will be awarded a star or not for that aspect depending on their use.
Grids will contain the usual collection of items you might expect to find within a Match 3 area. There are coloured gems, crates, ice blocks that do have a tendency to spread if not removed quickly, plus ropes and shields which require double attacks to remove them through the normal procedure of switching two adjacent tiles to create a grouped of three or more tiles of the same colour. Occasionally a grid will contain a key which will need to be lowered to the base of the grid so that it automatically unlocks a padlock somewhere in the grid.
Certain grids may contain areas which are initially not available for displaying its content or allowing you access. These areas will need to be unlocked. Rather than make use of the key and padlock features mentioned a little earlier, to unlock these areas you will need to remove a smiley tile from the grid. This task can be achieved by causing an explosion next to the Smiley resulting in its destruction.
While the allocation of a single hammer tool, even a reusable one, might seem rather mean, you do have the ability to create other power-up tools. Whenever you create a group of four gems, you will be rewarded with a bomb. Furthermore the creation of an “L” or “T” shaped group of tiles will bring the reward of lightning which can clear a vertical or horizontal line of its content. These power-ups are only activated when used in the vicinity of groups that match its own colour.
As mentioned the game is spread over 140 levels of Match 3 action which does include some variety in its game play. Every 10th level you are presented with a separate challenge that needs to be completed within a set number of moves. These challenges might include collecting a designated number of group types and sizes, link a fire element to an incinerator or remove all the gems within an area. You can also accept a challenge to defeat a computer controlled opponent in a turn based contest.
This is a game that I found hard to put down and, as a result, was forced to place a limit to the length of my playing time sessions. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99. The game requires a 2.0 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 276MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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