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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Sharp Zaurus Linux games

Mighty Charms by MooMoo Software, Price: $10
Reviewed September 2003 by David Peach

Mighty Charms, developed by MooMoo Software, is a lines style game in which you line up three or more of the same icon in a row, vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The game play is like Bejeweled but with an additional diagonal movement.

There are three game modes with progressing difficulty. The first mode gives you unlimited time to line up as many charms as you can. The second is the same game with a timer. The third mode is a faster version of the second. Very rarely have I made it past the first level in this third game mode! I still play all three modes depending on how much time I have for a game.

You need to line up enough lines to increase your bonus bar at the bottom. When the bonus bar is full, the game gives you bonus by taking away random charms. This refreshes your list of possible moves. In the no time limit game mode, you start with an empty bar and work on filling it up. With the timed games, the bar starts in the middle and works it's way down. If you are able to keep up, you can clear enough lines to fill the bar up and then get the bonus. If you get a hint from the game, it takes the bonus bar down considerably. On the timed games, the bonus bar moves down faster as you increase in levels.

The game's long-term playability comes from the high score list. You can see the scores from all three game modes on the same screen. This list contains the score, player's name and what level was attained.

The ten game icons are very distinct from one another. Many lines games try to make the game difficult by giving you a similar look for the game pieces. But with Mighty Charms, if you find the game too easy, move up to the next level. There are not too many people that would say the "Timed Expert" mode is too easy. As well as being distinct in style, the colors of the charms are easy to distinguish. Mighty Charms has a good help file and the ability to pause the game. The only thing that I would like to see is another icon set. I like the set that is included, but think having another one would be better.

I can say it is by far the most popular game on my Zaurus. My whole family plays it. Even my friends will ask to borrow my Z to play Mighty Charms. The game is compatible with Zaurus SL-5500, SL-5600, SL-A300, SL-B500 and SL-C700. Make sure that you have a screen protector or get a stylus with very smooth tip while playing the game.

Playing Hints and Tips

When playing the non-timed or Timed Normal modes, work on having one row at the bottom as your "last effort" line. As you work from the top to the bottom and run out of options to make rows, you can use this final line to give you a chance to get more rows and fill up the bonus bar. There is not enough time to do this with the Timed Expert mode.

Working from bottom to top will give you more opportunities to score multipliers. Multipliers come from clearing more than one line at a time. But working from top to bottom will guarantee that you get points. I usually start the game by working from bottom to top and then top to bottom when I get a decent enough score to be careful.

screen shot

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Graphics are simple, but clear. Colors are appropriate and fun.
Sound N/A No sound.
Fun Meter You will not come out of a meeting drenched with sweat from playing this game, but it will pass the time in those meetings. Great for when you have "just a few minutes" to play.
Addictivity Ability to play a long or short game, as well as having a high score list, makes this attractive as a long term game for your Zaurus.


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