Matching Minions: Tomb Of Tyrants

My quest to discover the heir to Puzzle Quest continues. You might think that in an age when 98% of games released have a match-3 component (the other 2% are Diner Dash style time management doohickeys) there’d be Puzzle Quests aplenty, but nothing since the original has managed to capture my attention in quite the same way. Ironcast could be the answer and Hero Emblems has shouldered its way onto my iPad this week, but for now the search continues.

Tomb of Tyrants is a new release that mixes match-34 with Dungeon Keeping. It’s quite an effective blend.

I’ve only spent an hours with ToT so I have no idea if it’s system of unlocks and gradual progression will keep my interest, but it’s an enjoyably frantic thing. There’s a tyrant, see, and you need to keep him alive by carving out new subterranean territory for him to control. Every new level you clear, by sliding resources to match and gather them, creates space for a new room. The rooms spawn minions of the usual sort – zombies, imps, bandits – and they’ll work as bodyguards for the tyrant when heroes come calling.

And that’s about it, as far as I’ve seen. Make matches, expand territory, gather resources and deploy the occasional item to buff your creatures, harass heroes or alter the matching board. Everything happens rather quickly and the parties of plunderers won’t hold back while you’re looking for the perfect match, which does take away from tactical considerations somewhat. I rarely found time to target specific resources because I was to busy simply trying to survive. The limited size of the matching area adds to the sense that chance plays a bigger part than I might like, as I tend to find myself mashing rather than matching.

The theme is a good match for the genre though, with the downward motion of the tiles – which are affected by ‘gravity’, tumbling into position – working well with the descent of the tyrant. It’s attractive too, in its way, with some pleasant little touches, such as the cute little milk bottles that form when enough bones are crunched together. The screen is far too busy at times, particularly with the names of what I presume are Kickstarter backers scrolling past on the menus, and I was convinced the whole thing had been ported from tablets at first, but once my eyes adjusted to the layout of the screen and scale of each element, I enjoyed the finer details.

I’m a rubbish tyrant though. The game expects you to die, carrying over unlocks from one attempt to the next, but I’m not entirely convinced that I’ve made any progress at all.

There’s an old alpha demo over at the Kickstarter page so you can at least try something before deciding whether to buy.

6 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Pixelly art and people bimbling about on floors of a building remind me of Android time-sink Tiny Tower.

  2. J Arcane says:

    Block Legend is pretty good for a pixelly Puzzle Quest type, and currently on Greenlight. You can try a demo of that too now: link to gamejolt.com

  3. Ashrand says:

    Full Disclosure, i backed the Kickstarter for this.

    I’ve been playing no the more updated Beta on and off for a while now, and luck definitely has an impact, but not as much as your ‘build’ of floors (certain floors having prerequisite floors, floors that don’t have them precluding the building of other basic floors and some floors that buff others) and the beasties/traps that protect you.

    It clicked for me much better when i realized that certain combos were just vastly more effective than just building whatever, and aiming for that at the expense of having the most floors in any order (getting the furtive fence early is one way of mitigating the luck aspect and giving you more use out of some basic buildings)

    It’s also good that certain items can buff your tyrant to hilarious levels, just in case something gets through

  4. yonsito says:

    I’d be interested in a good Puzzle Quest-type game, as well. So please continue your noble quest, Sir Adam.
    I’ve been eyeing Legend of Fae for some time. Anybody know whether it’s any good?

    • Gruzbad says:

      Check out 10,000,000. I like it better than Puzzle Quest and you can get it on Humble Store for a couple bucks. It’s on Android and PC but really does play better on a touch screen.

  5. JHuhman says:

    I’m Tomb of Tyrants’s developer, and I appreciate the write up! As the game’s development progresses (it’s in Early Access now), there’ll be more ways to sort of steer the ratio of resources in your hoard, which should reduce the amount of luck required, but I think the luck element also helps each session to feel like a different experience. I can confirm that there are a lot of unlocks (prophecies) that carry over new content to future sessions, and they can greatly improve your survivability, but it does require investing some time in the game =).

    We’ll see how things evolve during Early Access; I’m keeping an active eye on Steam discussions, and if people feel some aspect needs more balancing, I’ll see what I can do–it’s a unique kind of game, so I’m sure a lot of this balancing is in order.

    Thanks for checking it out!
    link to store.steampowered.com