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Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.6    CPU: Intel    Graphics: 128 MB VRAM


3SwitcheD
April 29, 2012 | Ted Bade
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If you are a fan of Bejeweled and games of that genre, you will want to consider 3SwitcheD. This addictive game offers six unique varieties of the Match-3 format that are interesting and fun enough to keep you coming back for more.

In games of this genre, you need to match tiles of similar color to gain points. Play continues as long as there are moves to be made. There are two aspects to this game, making points and trying not to back yourself into a corner where no moves are left to be made.

The six variations of 3SwitcheD are called: Snazzy Swap, Clearing Clusters, Falling Star, Moving 4-Ward, Pathfinder, and Gravity Switch. Here is a brief look at all of them.

Snazzy Swap is the most like the standard game. You can swap two adjacent tiles at a time to make a row of three or more of the same color. The more tiles in the set, the more the points. Once you make a set, a combo bar appears and slowly times down. While the combo bar is present, you get more points for any combos you make. When you make a new combo the combo bar resets, so if you work quickly getting set after set, you get more points. If you get stumped, but there are more moves left, the combo bar quickly goes away. to return again once you make a set. When you remove tiles, replacements fall down from the top in a random fashion. The game continues as long are there are possible moves on the screen.

Clearing Clusters is my favorite. Here you are presented with a board of colored tiles as before. In this case, you need to select combos of two or more tiles of the same color that are already on the board to remove them. The more tiles in the set, the more points you get. The trick here is to select the sets in such a fashion that single tiles on the board move to combine with other tiles of the same color. You keep going as long as there are sets available to remove. When you clear some more columns, tiles fill in to replace the column(s). There are awards for removing tiles in a fashion that reduces the total number of colors to just three, just two and just one. When you do this, the game responds by replacing tiles with only those of the colors on the board. If you clear the board, another board is provided with an additional color tile. The game continues until you get to a point where there are no possible combinations to remove from the board.

In the Falling Star variation, tiles fall, one at a time, onto the starting two rows of tiles. The idea is to make sets of three or more tiles to remove them as the tiles fall. You can swap places of any two tiles (they donít have to make a match). The trick is to move tiles around to a position where you can make a set. Tiles keep falling until the board is filled up. The object is to make combinations fast enough and in the right places to allow the tiles to keep falling forever. Occasionally, a special tile falls that will remove all the tiles around it. These tiles are handy when things get tough. This is an easier game, if you can think fast and move tiles quickly. The falling tiles go faster as you move along.

Moving 4Ward is an interesting variation where you can move the tile to any free square on the board, so long as there is a path of free squares. Tiles fall one at a time. The object is to create a set of four or more of the same color in a square shape. The matched tiles disappear from the board. Extra points are awarded for other same colored tiles attached to the square. Bonus tiles fall that remove other tiles in some fashion, also providing points. Play continues until the board is full and tiles can no longer be moved to create squares.



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