Join the adventure and travel through ancient lands as you match up coloured magical runes. Supply your loyal workers with the buildings stones needed to create the 7 Wonders of the ancient world. Time is short and the challenge is great, it’s time to load up your PSP and get ready to drop blocks.
Mumbo Jumbo the publisher behind Luxor brings another classically inspired puzzle game to the PSP in the form of 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. This Ancient Wonder take on Bejeweled expands on the original concept bringing addictive fun strategy gaming to the portable palms of the PSP. Like Luxor was a take from the classic puzzle action game Zuma, Mumbo Jumbo finds another remake and this time it’s Bejeweled, PopCap Games popular block matching game from 2001. It’s actually surprising looking back at the amount of popularity Bejeweled has had in its short life and its no wonder that developer Hot Lava hooked up and remixed this proven formula.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions that stretches back all the way to 140 BC. The first listing of Ancient buildings is the tomb of Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Lighthouse of Alexandria, and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Temple of Artemis, and Babylonians Hanging Gardens. This makes a great premise for a game, get the bricks and build astonishing buildings. Again, its surprising how well this works and Hot Lava goes the extra mile with little workers on the bottom of the screen who come and pick up bricks and move them off screen. The animations of the workers below are also cute as the wait for blocks, or slave away caring them away. It all works into a nice conveyer belt system that adds a fun touch to a typically visual boring game.
Of course, 7 Wonders isn’t the first remake or cloning of Bejeweled Other “match three” games have been made before, but only when the stand out do they become memorable, and 7 Wonders falls within this case. The other main clones you might have heard of is Jewel Quest and Puzzle Quest from Publisher D3. It’s safe to say if you enjoyed the original, Bejeweled, then you will enjoy 7 Wonders or its other clones. For 7 Wonders case, it looks great under the PSP screen, and plays even better. Even the patch work story of building the worlds wonders helps make the whole project a game that reels you in and doesn’t let go. 7 Wonders of the Ancient World is wonderfully addictive with all the makings of becoming a classic in its own right.
There are three main game modes in 7 Wonders, one being the story mode which has you working from site to site matching three or more runes building the wonders before time runs out. Free Play which lets you revisit wonders already completed in Story Mode, and Rune Quest which also lets you play the levels completed in the Story Mode. In Rune Quest you have to remove a certain number of particular runes as fast as you can to move on and fish a level. This is the most challenging mode which gets fairly frantic when the meter ticks down.
In case you’re not sure of the mechanics behind a Bejeweled styled game it’s easy. You have to match three or more blocks in a line which causes them to disappear which causes the next line to fall down. It works on a 2D grid system and can get tricky with the more variations introduced. The twist in 7 Wonders is that you will have to work certain building blocks down through the puzzle that can’t be duplicated and taken out. This provides an interesting challenge and gives players something to do besides build points.
7 Wonders also provides power-ups that help you make your way across each level. They can help you clear rows of runes with lightning, or fire. These are attached to the amount of runes you clear in a line which is an interest concept. The time is always ticking away so it’s important to utilize the powers ups in the most strategic of ways. This sometimes means hanging onto one and resisting the urge to watch the sparks fly. 7 Wonder can be a little frustrating when dealing with the time limit. I think they should have had a few options to earn time during a level so you can stay alive a little longer.
Aside from the time limit, and earning time there are few other points that could have been switched up or improved upon. One thing is that you can run out of moves fairly quickly when you get up in the level, this is the challenge to the game, I understand, but its a little too frequent. Also, the blocks don't seem to change once you get past level seven, at least there is only one level after that. One more point to the negative side of 7 Wonders and that is the save block system. I would have rather had the option to save anytime. Some of the puzzles can drag on and if you take your PSP with you when you travel, a saving option would have helped out a lot. The alternative I have been using is turning the PSP off, but if you have a few games on the go that trick won't help you.
Like I mentioned earlier, 7 Wonders of the Ancient World isn’t re-inventing the block match up genre of puzzle games it just adding its own unique flair to the pile of clones. Above average, 7 Wonders is worth picking up if you enjoy the Bejeweled style of gaming. The presentation from the clear graphics and wonderful low key music tracks also helps keep 7 Wonders out of the bargain bin along with its already reduced price. If you need a quick fix and don’t already own a puzzle game of this genre, I highly recommend checking out Mumbo Jumbo's 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.
Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 4, Mojo: 6. Final: 6 / 10