For the past week I’ve been tinkering around with Chainz Galaxy, the latest casual offering from MumboJumbo Games. With colorful graphics, a cute story, and familiar gameplay, I knew immediately I would enjoy the game.
What a lot of people might not know is that Chainz Galaxy is actually a sequel to previous Chainz titles. I will admit that I had never heard of the game before, but the good thing is that players don’t have to have any knowledge of the other games in order to enjoy themselves. It works perfectly fine as a standalone title.
One of our writers, Brennan, reviewed the iPad version of the game yesterday and while I don’t completely agree with him, he did summarize a lot of the features nicely. Since I don’t know the differences between the iPad and PC versions, simply because I haven’t had any hands-on with the iPad app, I will go ahead and try to fill in any differences between the two versions.
The story itself focuses on these bearded guys known as the Ancients. With their togas and their long locks of hair, the Ancients go about using the chains to drag chunks of land, celestial items, and more to help create their world. Each main section is divided into seven stages, and each stage shows the Ancients becoming one step closer to completing their goal. There is even this super cute guide book that pops up at the beginning of the sections to show how you’ve progressed and what to expect next. The book looks just like one of those “How To: For Dummies” guides that are all over the place. What really surprised me is how, without any spoken dialogue or subtitles, the Ancients managed to fully communicate their desires and triumphs through simple gestures, facial expressions, and cheers. It reminded me of Disney’s Wall-E and how words can sometimes be really unnecessary.
The gameplay, as I mentioned before, was familiar. If you’ve played any game where you have to match three or more objects/tiles/shapes then you already know how to be a master at Chainz Galaxy. In each box is a chain link and you can rotate the link so that it’s horizontal or vertical. Some links are shaped so you can have a link attached from four different sides, but I’ll get into all of the fancy stuff in a bit. The main object is to link three or more of the same color together to create a chain so that the chain will explode, giving you points and lighting up the large chain to the right of the screen. On the large chain there are locks along with a tiny hook for charms. Some stages have chains with only two locks, while some have three. The location of the locks are random, but you have to create a chain on the board with a charm in order to have a charm dangle on a hook, thus removing the lock. Until the locks are destroyed, you can’t progress through the level and all you end up doing is amassing points, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The further you get in the game, the more the board changes. The shapes change, sometimes there are gaps in the middle making each move more calculated than the next, and some special links appear. One special link is multicolored so you can attach two different colored links together. On one side you can have a string of blue, while on the other you can have green, pink, or orange. Using the multicolored links wisely is sometimes key and helps to make sure you don’t run out of any moves. As I mentioned before, there are the links with four corners so that you can attach a link to every side, if it matches the color. Sometimes those come multicolored, but they aren’t as common as the regular link ones. Some links will have these little bomb shapes, and when they are a part of a chain a large section of links explode. I loved the bombs because, if you have a nearby charm but no links to make it into a chain, you can explode it and it will still count.
Other special links include the lightning bolt (which is as awesome as it sounds), snowflake which freezes the board for a few seconds, and ones that have special charms that give you more shuffles. In some games you have unlimited shuffles, but in Chainz Galaxy you have to amass them and use minimally. When I played I easily had over 20 shuffles to use, but that’s because I went after them like crazy. You never know when you’ll need to shuffle the board. When you get combo chains, the explosions keep coming, colors fly across the board, and you see everything shuffle as your points go up, up, up!
Aside from the cutesy graphics, interesting story, and addicting gameplay, the sounds helped create the overall experience. When you accidentally activate a snowflake link you see and hear the board become frozen with ice cracking in the background. The explosions add excitement, and the music helps keep you entranced. Even though Brennan found the iPad music to be slightly annoying, I had no problem with the PC tunes, but everybody has different tastes.
Right now you can download Chainz Galaxy from iWin and gamehouse for well under $10.00 which is a fair price. Those of you with accounts on the Big Fish Games website will want to wait for this weekend when it will become available so you can get your game card points. If a digital download isn’t your thing, a retail version of the game will be out in a month or so for $19.99. Either way, try out the free trial and give this game a shot because it was a lot of fun.