By John Walker on June 17th, 2008 at 9:53 pm.
“Yes, that’s right! Khufu says that the soft launch of our major puzzle game is today! He may be a blue magical monkey, but he’s hardly a liar.”
It begins. Fortunately, the game itself is a lot simpler, and rather fun.
A soft launch, we’re told, “means that the game is available for download and purchase on our website and on GameClubCafe, before it hits the major portals and we won’t be able to apply any further changes.” So that settles that.
Saqqarah, meanwhile, begins with so many tropes of the casual world that you wonder if it might create a black hole. Themed around ancient Egypt, and based on a varient of match-3, it couldn’t be more cliched. However, the variation is a nice one. You swap tiles to create groupings of three, which results in the lines connecting the tiles being filled in. The aim of doing this is to fill in all the lines, such that they fill in the entire grid… oh, play the free demo, it’s a lot simpler than explaining it.
The production is all top notch, and while it does look as though it comes from the mysterious Casual Games Machine that makes them all look like they were designed by the same guy, it’s at least imaginative within that. Lots of visual hyperbole, exploding things, bursts of colour, and other pretty, shiny lights. And the voice of Khufu, the disturbingly blue talking monkey thing, is rather jolly.
There’s a ton of game here, and it mixes up the way the puzzle is approached in each of the temples you play through. There’s a free hour to be had here. Then it’s the usual $19.95 for the full thing. (Now can we see at least one casual developer do something other than match-3, Mystery Case Files, or Diner Dash?)