What happens when you finally crack from all the hardcore action you were involved lately while playing some of the action games? You start drifting away of course, and what better way to do that than chill out a bit with some good puzzle game, for example Pixel Defenders Puzzle.
PDP is a genre-mixing game, but deep down buried under the complex mechanics and the retro 8-bit graphics dwells the Match-3 system that is apparently experiencing its second golden age. The developer “Social Titans” took a great risk by releasing a Match-3 game when the market is overcrowded with all kinds of games from this genre on every single platform. Luckily, they did manage to make Pixel Defenders Puzzle something that stands out and offers a bit of diversity, addictive gameplay and reasonable price without annoying IAPs or ads.
Pixel Defenders Puzzle takes place on a grid field where you match blocks of the same color in order to create a unit. Different colors will yield different types of units, for example the yellow pixels/blocks will produce barbarians. But it doesn’t end there. If you match 3 barbarians you will receive an upgraded unit, then you can match 3 upgraded units to receive another tier of the same type and so on up to the 4th unit that will represent the ultimate hero for that color. On the first few level you will only get one or two colors to match, but it gets more complicated as you progress through the game.
The goal here is to build an army and take on the enemies that approach from the upper part of the screen. Mixing and matching anything on the field (including the obstacles) will fill the action point bar. When you attack with one of your units, an action point is being deducted from the bar and no action points means you cannot attack until you gain some more. Each of the units you control have a number of possible attacks, after you use the last one, the units turns into an obstacle, complicating the board even further. Keep this in mind when planning your strategy and avoid using the last attack unless absolutely necessary.
The enemies approaching from above come in many different forms. They will sometimes aim for the V.I.P. (more on that later), or some of the most powerful units on the board, incapacitating them instantly for the next X turns. Fortunately all the enemies have small numbers below their bodies indicating how many turns until the given unit can attack. During the gameplay and across the levels, you will ocasionally gain power-ups that are stored in your inventory and can be used up to 4 times per level, anytime you want.
To complicate the things even further, developers included a half-brained V.I.P. unit that is completely useless, wonders around the board and does absolutely nothing, but you will have to keep it alive. If it dies, or the board is filled, you lose. If you manage to trap the V.I.P. between other units and obstacles it becomes more vulnerable to enemy attacks, so don’t do that.
I can keep babbling about the gameplay and the strategy for at least 3 more pages, but I won’t. Anything I didn’t mention would probably be covered by the excellent tutorial that will greet you the moment you start the game.
Pixel Defenders Puzzle offers 36 levels with a nasty surprise sitting on the very end of the game. When you finish your job and get 3 star rating on every single level (or even before), you can try the endless or the assault mode. The first one will offer pure matching gameplay without any enemies, while the second one is a regular game where you fight the AI wave after wave until you die. If you trap the V.I.P.(s) in any of those modes, you lose. Both modes will provide loot (power-ups) that you can grind and store in your inventory for later use.
Is there anything wrong with it?
No there isn’t. Since the last update, Pixel Defenders Puzzle fully supports the Google Game services, adding 64 achievements and global leaderboards as well as the endless and the assault mode that were not included before. Maybe some of the more “casual” players will find it to be a bit challenging, but it wouldn’t be much of a puzzle game if it was too easy to complete. Considering the fact that there are no IAPs or ads included (none really), PDP offers quite a lot of fun for the price of renting a movie. It will get under your skin fast, just keep in mind that this game is best consumed in short bursts.
by Ivica K. (kiwi)
|Great mechanics||A bit more challenging|
|Plenty of levels|
UPDATE: Removed from Google Play for some reason. You can still get Pixel Defenders Puzzle on Amazon.