Name: DC Heroes & Villains: Match-3 by Ludia, Inc
Genre: Action, match-3
Platforms: Android, iOS
DC Heroes & Villains: Match-3 does bring some interesting tidbits to the table, even if somewhat exclusive to its own gameplay style. Being a dense game, I’ll only cover the gameplay and first impressions.
At first glance, DC Heroes & Villains is like most match-3 games. But it incorporates action and RPG-based gameplay elements into the puzzle core. So rather than break open other locked objects, you match objects to attack your opponents. And the overarching goal is to succeed in missions, structured similarly to Candy Crush.
The roster has 50+ diverse DC characters to unlock, each representing a particular team. Choosing a roster that falls under the same team will synergise and net you a big buff to your gameplay. Say you add Batman and Nightwing to your line-up, you’ll earn a 2 per cent evasion bonus as a team bonus. You can always find out what each character has to offer on their character card.
Also, every character goes under a “colour group”, which has a rock-paper-scissors-like relationship with each other. So there’s red against green, green against blue, blue against red, and orange and purple against each other.
So matching purple objects more frequently when fighting orange enemies is an optimal strategy, for example. Matching objects will also fill up the colour-associated character’s Power Move. This deals more damage or offers a bigger boost if aimed particularly at enemies of “opposite colour”.
But to compensate for all these seemingly exciting features, much of what made match-3 fun is stripped to the bare minimum. You’re matching objects most optimised for action, nothing more.
When sending teams to missions, you have to check their “team power”. If it equals or exceeds the opponents’ team power, there’s a chance of winning. So you’re encouraged to upgrade and augment your characters to bump those numbers up.
But the game’s difficulty comes only from there. And if it’s too high, which it often is, you’re forced to play other easier missions and other game modes to compensate.
What bothered me most was players must collect five different currency types to unlock new characters. You’d have to double your playtime to earn a single capsule unlock. So grinding is expected.
Hence, I can’t help but think the game design feels conflicted. Who is this game really for — the casual mobile player? The excited comic book nerd? Or someone who loves spreadsheet gameplay?
From a UX standpoint, the gems are hard to read — after a while, every shape looks similar. And the gameplay functions are so tight-knit with colours it’d drive any colour-blind player mad. So I can at least say with full confidence it’s not for anyone with colour blindness.
VERDICT: Even if the colour weakness gameplay system adds a fun element to it, the game is a CCG-lite of sorts disguised as a barebones match-3. I would rate it a five out of 10.