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7 Wonders II Review
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Match 3 games are a dime a dozen, some pull it off well, some not so. It’s vested in the core of the casual games market and naturally will transition to handheld systems easily, providing short busts of game play, that do not require long session times to get something out of it. So it was with Avanquest Software Publishing that we saw the emergence of 7 Wonders II for the Nintendo DS. As a side, we personally loved the original 7 Wonders and hoped for more addictive Gameplay that the PC bestowed upon us.

The aim of the game is to match coloured runes and clear them from the game grid, each time you do this it produces a concrete block that is transported by a pulley to builders that are building some of the most memorable architecture wonders in history. Wonders of the Forgotten World that need to be built are Stonehenge, the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, the Shwedagon Pagoda, Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China and the Moai Statues. Some constructions take several grids to complete, all with varying sizes to increase or decrease the opportunity of matching runes. At the end of each grid, you get the opportunity to pick a piece of the famous building you wish to construct, some of them contain special powers that will aid you throughout the levels as you progress. Once completed you are taken to the world map to start construction on another legendary architecture.

Rather than make 7 Wonders a continual rinse and repeat affair it does throw in a special stage on each map, which needs to be accessed by matching a rune over a particular coloured square. Special stages require you to drop a star out of a grid full of runes in a set number of moves. This is enjoyable as it’s more of a mental challenge than full paced action, though you are still against the clock to complete. The other element of strategy to this game really builds from the third wonder construction onwards. More pieces of stone are required to complete stages, which in turn really pits you against the clock and more often than not you are having to, strategise your choice of power-up in order to complete the level.

What sets 7 Wonders apart from your standard match 3 affair is down, to the power ups itself. Clear 4 runes and you’ll have an ice enabled stone which will freeze and destroy all runes in a horizontal line, clear 5 runes and you’ll have access to a fire stone which will wipe out runes vertically and horizontally. In addition to this, every now and then a dice stone will appear which will randomly destroy a set number of runes and these are just the prefix power stones that appear on the map. When constructing the 7 wonders, you will uncover powers which can be used at your disposal as mentioned, these vary from lightning strikes, being able to freeze time, increase your multiplier and change the colour of set stones to keep the rune clearing going. These power-ups need to be charged along with the shuffle feature which enables you to shuffle the grid when solutions look limited. I don’t want to give anymore power-ups away but there are over 10 of them which can really pack versatility to the play.

Graphically, 7 Wonders II is adequate, its nothing to shout about, but there’s enough detail here to stop it looking bland. The animations of the workers on the top screen are a charm, however cannot be enjoyed due to the nature of all the game play taking place on the bottom screen. The game falters when it comes to sound. Its background music is extremely limited and soon becomes annoying through continual play. It’s themed nice, but some variation should have been included as such we had to turn the music off in the end. Playing 7 Wonders II is very intuitive, the stylus seamlessly scrolls across the playing grid, everything runs smooth, just without the gloss of the PC version. At £20.00 or £14.99 on Amazon (wink, wink) 7 Wonders II is a trusty travel companion, it’ll cure boredom in short spurts but it’ll never captivate enough to keep you ploughing through the campaign. If you manage to get all of the secret map pieces, you will even get an 8th Wonder to build and for those that have completed the standard play mode, the added Free Play functionality is if you literally only have two minutes to spare.

Is 7 Wonders II an essential purchase? No, but it makes the likes of Zoo Keeper, and Bejewelled seem like boring counterparts. It’s an ideal casual gamer piece and a boredom killer.

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7 Wonders II Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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