If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review

Home » Reviews » Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review

I’m a sucker for a good match three puzzler.

Shamefully, I’ve sunk more hours into Frozen Free Fall than I should ever dare to admit, and the many iterations of Candy Crush often have drained my phone battery to the ground. With the release of 10Ton’s Azkend 2: The World Beneath on Xbox One, I was looking forward to having another addictive little timewaster to add to my collection, but unfortunately have been left rather sourly disappointed.

Developer 10Tons are most known for their Android and iOS collection. Over the last year or so however, they’ve steadily released some of their back catalogue onto console – we’ve had King Oddball, Tennis in the Face, Baseball Riot and Sparkle 2, and now the latest game to get the re-release treatment is Azkend 2. Originally released on mobile back in 2012, Azkend 2 tries to step away from being your usual match-three arcade game by adding in a story, a mix of game modes and additional puzzle types. Unfortunately, the additional package only seems to succeed in taking away focus on what should be most important in a game of its type: addictive gameplay.

The story that Azkend 2 tells follows a woman sailing from Liverpool to New York. Unfortunately, part way through her journey, a terrible storm hits, leading her ship to be sucked into a maelstrom. She awakes in a strange location, and it’s up to you to solve a series of puzzles to work out what on Earth is going on. The trouble is, you likely won’t care one bit what’s going on. The narrative is delivered very loosely, with brief story being voiced over static scenes of admittedly beautiful hand-drawn scenery, but developer 10Tons seems to forget one key element: people play match-three puzzlers to play match-three puzzlers. The presentation feels at times more like a hidden object adventure game, and in fact the story elements are accompanied by a similar puzzle, in which you have to match a small clipping of scenery to the full picture. These puzzles are pointless, as whether you successfully match all images or completely fail to even acknowledge what you’re supposed to do, the game will still continue. In that regard, it seems foolish that Azkend 2 doesn’t at least give you the option to skip these extraneous and somewhat annoying interludes.

Azkend 2 2-min

As for the core match-three gameplay, it’s delivered over 17 chapters, each separated with brief story inbetween. Every chapter plays out the same: you need to find an object to continue your journey. The object in question will be split into three or four pieces, and you’ll have to solve a puzzle to successfully collect each piece. Actually, the match-three puzzles themselves aren’t bad, and each level offers a variety of puzzle styles to keep things feeling fresh. The “classic” puzzle type involves having to change the colour of each tile to blue by making a match on that tile, whilst others include bugs that you have to destroy or fires you have to put out by matching a match next to it. There are also some more strategically-minded puzzles that require you to match tiles in a particular order to successfully clear the whole grid. In all game types, you’re pitted against a timer; in classic puzzles, it’s a literal clock ticking down, whilst the bug puzzles, for example, require you to kill all the bugs before they reach the top of the board. It adds a much-needed urgency to the game, and as a result some levels are truly challenging to complete. To help you progress more smoothly, there are a series of power-ups that you collect as you play, such as extra time in each level, extra hints, or explosive tiles to help clear the board.

Outside of story mode, Azkend 2: The World Beneath also contains two extra challenge game modes: a time trial and a medal mode. Time Challenge is an endless mode against the clock, with the aim being to rack up the highest score possible. Medal mode repeats each of the levels you’ve unlocked in story mode, but this time the aim is to complete the level as quickly as possible to earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. Without the curse of the story and the image-matching puzzles bringing the pace of gameplay down, I personally found these “bonus” modes much more enjoyable than the main campaign, particularly Time Challenge. It’s fast-paced and easy to jump into for a quick burst of gameplay, just as any casual game title should be.

It’s a shame that the bulk of Azkend 2 is hampered by a lacklustre story that feels unnecessary and cumbersome. The actual match-three gameplay is enjoyable, and the mixture of gameplay types on offer add a unique spin on an otherwise tired and overdone genre. If you’re a die-hard lover of match-three puzzle titles and desperately want a new title, then you’ll likely get some enjoyment out of Azkend 2: The World Beneath, but it’s certainly not the best example of the genre. 10Tons should have focused more on engaging gameplay rather than trying to add extra value in the form of a story that unfortunately just doesn’t pay off.

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is available on PS4, Xbox One and PS Vita. We reviewed the Xbox One version of the game.

Similar Posts