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Helping Hansel and Gretel
Amanda's Magic Book has been turned into a series of Match 3 titles by e-Funsoft. Starting with the original title in the series, it has developed with True Love, The Spirit World and the current fifth episode subtitled Hansel and Gretel. Following a brief introduction, Amanda and a friend is whisked off to a magical world where she will need to solve problems and restore matters to normal. In the case of Hansel and Gretel, Amanda is accompanied by her young nephew Cedric to whom she is reading the story of Hansel and Gretel.
The usual options are available prior to starting this game. Profiles can be created to record the progress of different players with their scores being shown in a top-six table feature. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels used by music and sound effects plus there is an option to view the action in full screen mode with a tutorial feature. The game can be played in Relaxed or Timed style of play.
Spread over five chapters, made up of Match 3 action and linking static story advancement sections, the game requires Amanda to thwart a witch and make sure this fairy tale has a happy ending. What follows is a regular sequence of Match 3 action, chances to purchase upgrades and scenes developing a story line with printed text. Any spoken dialogue is limited to the game's main introduction and individual chapters.
The Match 3 action and presentation follows e-Funsoft's usual pattern. The grid, populated with embossed tiles and blockages, is positioned centrally in the screen area. To the right is an update of the challenge set for the current grid while the left side shows the game's level number and any available power-ups assigned to that grid.
Tiles are removed from the grid by creating groups of three or more similar tiles by swapping two adjacent tiles. The group created then disappears, taking any immediate blockage with it. The gap thus created will be filled with other tiles falling downwards.
On occasions there will be some tiles that can not be affected by this method. These items will be artefacts in the form of a treasure chest. These items will form part of the challenge for the grid housing them. In order to remove them a pathway will need to be created beneath them so that they fall towards the bottom of the grid from whence they can be collected.
Each grid, as previously stated, comes with some power-ups that can be used to complete the grid's challenge. You can supplement this collection of power-ups by creating groups of tiles with five or more elements. This group will then changed to show a tile with a fire emblem that can be used to destroy nearby tiles.
The completion of a grid's challenge will bring the reward of a level score and stars. These stars can be used to purchase the four upgrades assigned to each chapter. Progress to the next chapter can only happen once the appropriate upgrades have been purchased.
Each purchase of an upgrade will bring with it a static scene showing characters and printed dialogue. These interludes lead you through the story as Amanda fulfils her quest to make sure the fairy tale ends happily as it should. A Skip option will allow you to bypass these static scenes.
There is little within this title to make it stand out from the various Match 3 offerings from e-Funsoft. The Hansel and Gretel version of the Magic Book will only really appeal to Match 3 fans. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99. The game requires a 1.5 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.
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