Game Over Online ~ Atlantis Quest

GameOver Game Reviews - Atlantis Quest (c) Got Game Entertainment, Reviewed by - Steven Carter

Game & Publisher Atlantis Quest (c) Got Game Entertainment
System Requirements Windows, 800MHz processor, 32MB RAM, 100MB HDD, 24X CD-ROM
Overall Rating 74%
Date Published Monday, November 13th, 2006 at 11:13 AM

Divider Left By: Steven Carter Divider Right

A couple months ago, I had never heard of a “matching game,” and if you had asked what Bejeweled is, I would have given you a blank look (which, honestly, isn't my normal look). But then I found out that my Dad downloads and plays these sorts of games, and, after watching over his shoulder a couple times, I decided to look into the genre. As fate would have it, right around that time Got Game Entertainment sent me a press release about their new matching game Atlantis Quest, which contains a “riveting story” and “awe-inspiring graphics” (more on that later), and I requested a review copy from them. So while I'm going to review the game here, I don't have any special knowledge of the genre, and I have no idea if Atlantis Quest is a good example or a bad one. I'll just give you my thoughts after playing the game for approximately 10 hours.

Anyway, if you don't know what a matching game is, it goes something like this. You're given a grid of symbols, and your goal is to swap adjacent symbols to “match” three or more symbols in a row, either vertically or horizontally. Matched symbols then disappear, and the remaining symbols move down to fill the void, with new symbols being created at the top of the grid. The more matches you make, the more points you get.

What Atlantis Quest does to make itself a little bit different is to add special symbols to the grid. The game consists of over 75 grids (which denote your travels while searching for Atlantis), and in each grid your objective is to release special artifact symbols by matching the symbols under them so that they eventually fall off the grid. Then once you put an artifact together, you move on to the next level, which is more difficult than the current level (and might contain, for example, a grid square that needs to be “unlocked” by matching a sequence of symbols to it).

To help you out, you can also release special tools from the grid. You can use a hammer to remove any symbol from the grid, you can use a shovel to remove all of the symbols directly below the artifact symbols, you can use the hourglass to give you more time for the current grid, and you can use a genie lamp to randomly change the symbols surrounding the artifact symbols. You can also release symbols that increase your points multiplier and give you extra points.

Does that sound complicated? Atlantis Quest is actually deceptively easy to learn -- to the point where the game's manual jumps from “Installation” to “Credits” and doesn't bother to describe the gameplay mechanics at all. You only get a single in-game help screen for that, and it's enough (although I would have preferred to see some instructions in the manual, or else why have a manual at all?). But while the game is easy to learn, progressing through its grids is actually difficult -- and that's a good thing. Atlantis Quest has 8 levels, and it might take you weeks to get through them all. In the few games I played, I could only make it to level 5.

My guess is, if you've played one matching game then you've played them all. The strategies can't be all that different. What's nice about Atlantis Quest is that you're not just matching symbols to gain points; you're also trying to acquire tools, put together artifacts, and move on to Atlantis. I'm a goal-oriented person, and so it was nice to be given a reason to do all of the matching. If I had been given a game with random grids and an objective to score points just to score points, then I probably would have gotten bored pretty quickly. But I played Atlantis Quest for about 10 hours, and I enjoyed it well enough. The game won't wow you in any way, but if you're looking for a solid way to kill some time, then Atlantis Quest is more than capable.

However, while I don't have any complaints about the game, I do have some nits to pick about the packaging. Remember those quotes from the introduction? About the “riveting story” and the “awe-inspiring graphics”? Those lines make me wonder if there are any regulations for what publishers can put on game boxes, because those quotes aren't even close to being accurate. For the “story,” you're basically given a couple of paragraphs of text at the start of each level, and the text describes the current artifact more than anything else. There isn't a plot, or any characters, or anything like that. For the graphics, Atlantis Quest is a 2D tile game, and its graphics quality is about what you'd find in a decent shareware title. I could see somebody claiming that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has “awe-inspiring graphics,” but Atlantis Quest? Its graphics wouldn't have been “awe-inspiring” 15 years ago let alone now.

(30/40) Gameplay
(11/15) Graphics
(11/15) Sound
(07/10) Interface
(07/10) Campaign
(05/05) Technical
(03/05) Documentation


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