Super Collapse! 3
Reviewed by Minna Kim Mazza
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-12-19 Nintendo DS Puzzle E (Everyone) GameHouse / MumboJumbo

The concept of Super Collapse is not a new one, but the implementation of Super Collapse 3 for the DS makes things a little more interesting. Unfortunately for the makers of this game, another game called Puzzle Quest did it better as far as merging a quest-based storyline with the fundamental "match-3" game concept. I did still enjoy Super Collapse 3, but probably could have gone without the "quest" concept and just went with some other progression metaphor.

The quest portion of the game takes you through several "worlds" where to progress, you must complete the stage, color-coded based on the type:

Classic (blue) ? obviously the classic version of Super Collapse, where lines slowly come in and you need to get rid of the blocks before your board gets filled to the top. Nothing new here.

Puzzle (red) ? the blocks are arranged in a pattern, sometimes making a little picture (think "Lite Brites" if you're old like me) and you have to figure out how to clear your board of blocks. If you get stuck, you can buy the solution (if you have enough gold!)

Strategy (yellow) ? lines come in each time you tap to remove blocks, so you have to plan ahead on where you need to get rid of the blocks the most. There's no time limit, but those blocks sure build up fast!

Relapse (green) ? lines come in from the top and the bottom, so it's double the trouble and you can't let your blocks run over in the middle or it's "game over." This type of board has a special power-up that isn't exactly a power-up: the Gravity Bomb, which makes all the blocks from one side of the board go to the other.

Slider (purple) ? lines come in but they are constantly "sliding" to the left or right, so you have line up blocks and be quick in knocking them out. I tend to just tap my stylus randomly and that seems to work pretty well...

Darkened Levels (black) - The first instance of this type of level looks like a door to an outhouse underground, and you are literally in the dark when trying to tap those blocks, and only able to see a small portion of the board in the form of a spotlight. This is especially hard for boards with a time crunch!

Each stage you win will unlock new stages on the path through the world. Sometimes you will have multiple paths to follow, in which you can choose to skip some stages if you want.

There are also shops in each world level, where you can buy power-ups with the gold you earn from completing levels. Another way to get gold to buy power-ups is to play the stage marked as "Fun," which are little mini-games where you can win gold. Of course, you will also have to pay to play, like a casino. Some games require skill, others are complete luck like a slot machine. The last way to earn some gold is by blowing up the unmovable blocks during a stage, with one of your super bombs.

Each time you move on to the next world level, visiting the shop will give you new items, and generally at least one for free. Being able to buy things like more slots for each power-up type are key to helping you progress. There are even ways to buy your stage completions, such as revealing the solution to the puzzle stages. Just a note though ? using the puzzle solution merely shows you the steps to solve the puzzle, but doesn't actually complete it for you, so you will have to remember the moves!

It's odd that they call it the "quest" mode, because really there isn't all that much that's quest-like. I liked the attempt to personify each world, by saying stuff like "the people of Aqualand will give you 25 coins for each board you complete" (sic). People? Huh? Where are these people? Anyway, I guess it gives the game a little more depth, if not a chuckle.

I found that progressing was not very consistent as far as difficulty of each stage as I went through. They definitely got harder, but it wasn't a steady progression ? I would often hit a board thinking, this is cake, while others I'll use all my power-ups on just to get through. I guess in a way it's nice to have a little variety, rather than thinking, oh no, how will I get through the next stage? Each stage also awards you trophies based on your performance (accuracy percentage, clear board bonuses), and these are in a Trophy room which I never remember to visit.

Quick play mode allows you to play any of the different types of boards, though you do have to unlock some by buying them in the shop in Quest mode. Multiplay mode allows you to play with friends, which I haven't experimented with yet. You get a way to screw up your friends by matching certain block patterns, which will generate new lines for their boards. Sounds like fun!

I think the best part of the game is the variety of board types. I find myself disappointed when the next stage is a Classic one! I think my favorites are Puzzle and Strategy, mainly because there isn't a timed aspect. It's a nice refreshing look at this game, and definitely has replay value since you can replay any board any time you want (though, I'm not sure why you would). So sit back and enjoy this fun little game!

Special thanks to Jenna Lummus at MumboJumbo for providing a copy of this game.