Well, I’m slowly building up my experience with the matching puzzle genre. First I played Atlantis Quest, which, as far as I can tell, was a fairly traditional matching game. It took the core concepts of the original matching game Bejeweled, and it added some new things like tools and a timer and a campaign, and I found it to be a pleasant enough distraction. I mostly work on role-playing games these days, and sometimes it’s nice to play a game that doesn’t require a 100-page manual, where you can just pick up and play it for a half hour or an hour at a time.
Now I have Brickshooter Egypt, another matching game from developer Terminal Studio, the creators of Atlantis Quest. Brickshooter Egypt is similar but also completely unlike Atlantis Quest. It’s sort of like a reflection of that earlier game. In Atlantis Quest, you started with a grid of symbols, and the idea was to move adjacent symbols to form “matches” of symbols, and to remove them from the board and cause special artifact symbols to eventually drop off the grid.
In Brickshooter Egypt, the grid is largely empty, but it’s surrounded by symbols. At the start of a new level, some symbols appear in the middle of the grid, and the idea is to “shoot” symbols from the edges of the grid into the center to form matches and remove the symbols from the grid. Now, if that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry. The game comes with a little tutorial video, and the video is much clearer than a text description (which is perhaps why there are no actual instructions in the game’s manual).
To “win” a level in the game, you have to remove all of the symbols from the interior of the grid. This is pretty easy in the early stages of the campaign, when there are only a handful of different symbols, but eventually you have to deal with up to eight symbols, and things get complicated. The levels aren’t timed, so you can stare at the grid for as long as you’d like and plan out your attacks ahead of time, but you’re not shown very many symbols on the edges of the grid, and so there is a lot of randomness involved, too. If you hopelessly clutter up a grid (which is pretty easy to do), then you can reset it to its original configuration, but doing so will also reset your score.
Like Atlantis Quest, Brickshooter Egypt seems to be a pleasant enough distraction. It’s colorful and it’s addictive, and it will take you hours to complete the campaign (I spent about 15 hours playing, and I only got to level 56 out of 60). It’s just that I didn’t like Brickshooter Egypt as much as Atlantis Quest. Atlantis Quest included special tools and timed play, its grids were different shapes and sizes, and it at least pretended to have a story going along with its campaign. Brickshooter Egypt doesn’t have any of those things, and its campaign feels like it could have been randomly generated. Really, if Terminal Studio had included a random level generator, then the game wouldn’t have needed a campaign at all, and it would have played exactly the same.
So I wasn’t a huge fan of Brickshooter Egypt, but I didn’t hate it, either. It’s a bargain game that should work on just about any computer, and it’s a nice change of pace for people still playing Freecell, or for people looking for something a little different in the puzzle matching genre. Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking from it.