Azkend HD brings 10tons' beautiful puzzler to the iPad along with even more stunning visual upgrades. As with some iPad 'remakes' there's not much difference between the iPhone original and iPad versions, but small gameplay changes give Azkend another breath of fresh-air that could persuade those to give it a try.
Azkend HD has two modes Adventure and Survival. In adventure mode you go through a story of an older gentleman who has been having visions of trip he took long ago. There are 70 levels total; each level you complete you get a piece of a Talisman. Each Talisman has its own unique ability. Each level is timed and if you are fast at completing it, you will get a gold star. Unfortunately, if you do not get a gold star for a level there is no way to go back and try again.
The gameplay require you to link a group of three or more of the same tiles to make them disappear. Unlike Bejeweled, you swipe your fingers to link the tiles for as long as you can find an unbroken link. When you link up the tiles, the board underneath changes from tan to blue. Once you make the entire hexagonal field turn blue a piece of talisman will fall to the board. You then have to make the piece of talisman fall off the board by linking groups of three or more tiles beneath it. Once you achieve this, the level is complete.
You have several different types of tiles. There are Steel tiles which require you to break an item on it to turn it to a normal tile. Ice tiles that are regular tiles covered with ice, and you have to break an item by it to break the ice. Tar tiles that are regular tiles with spreading tar you need to break an item near it very quickly. Finally, Wildcard tiles which you can use to string together any two like tiles.
When you reach a temple after about five to seven levels. You then play a mini-game called ?Visions.? It says, ?This is one of the places from my visions. I need to find the details I have been seeing?. There is a small circle window in the lower left hand corner that shows a small part of the picture. You then have to use that window to find where it is in the big picture. You have seven pieces to match the larger picture with. If you match them all with in the time allotted you get a time bonus for the next few levels. However, it varies depending on how many pieces of the picture you find with in that time. If you find all seven pieces it gives you an extra seven seconds for the next seven levels. So that would mean if you only found five you would get five extra seconds for the next five levels.
In Survival mode there are eight different levels representing the eight different talismans. The gameplay is the similar in the Survival mode as in the Adventure mode, however in survival mode you race against a clock to collect stars by flipping tiles. The fast running clock puts some intensive action moments into this puzzle game.
There is no real scoring either locally or globally. The only way you really can tell you did well for that level is whether or not you got a gold star. There are no achievements for Azkend HD either.
While two game modes provide enough diversion, the gameplay can get repetitive. It?s good for a play through and a few times of Survival runs. It?s not something you keep going back to once you beat the game. The game board design and different tiles make the game more interesting though.
The game does look absolutely stunning. 10Tons did a great job on their execution of the graphics design as well as the physics of the tiles. The animation when you make tiles disappear or when lightning strikes the board looks great. The artwork has been refined from the iPhone to the iPad as well as the iPad version looks as though it?s a completely brand new game. The artists have done an amazing job on the artwork for the game overall.
The quality of both background and Sound FX is great. However the background music needs a better arrangement to fit in with each other a bit more. One moment you could be listening to a very serene and peaceful music, then suddenly you?re listening to a faster pace beating music when time is running out. We get the idea, but the execution was a bit jerky. The explosions hinted towards a frantic fasted paced game not something slow and enjoyable. The quality of the sound FX is really good however, amazingly executed in fact.
Azkend HD was done really well and it is a great puzzle game. Great artwork, very decent music, and varied gameplay. Those who really enjoy game like Bejeweled will really love this game. Though for the occasional puzzle players this might not be on their top list of games to get. For most this is good for a single play through and maybe a few plays of survival. For $4.99 it is a bit steep; if it was on sale for $0.99 is an instant buy.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Amazing artwork, Great execution of game physics. Sound: - 4 - BGM doesn?t match gameplay in some levels, great sound FX. Controls: - 5 - Touch control, very accurate, only need your finder. Gameplay: - 3 - Two playing modes and different boards and tiles provide good value, but gameplay can get repetitive.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- The first talisman is the best one to clear the board with. - Clear longer chains of tiles to clear the level faster. - Take the game a little bit at a time.
App Facts: Developer: 10Tons Release Date: April 3, 2010 Price: $4.99 Buy App: Azkend HD