7 Wonders II is a puzzler available on the DSi and 3DS eShop, priced at $7.99, is an intriguing take of what is essentially Bejeweled or the matching of four or more blocks in vertical or horizontal succession, at its core. It hence comes to the question of it being a quality puzzler, which differentiates itself enough to match the expectations of gamers or not.
Straight off, it is not a recommended purchase presently, as it is priced too high, unless someone is starved for a decent, but sometimes semi-frustrating and challenging puzzler or loves offshoots of games like Bejeweled.
The game is not as appetizing as other choices like: Tetris for the Game Boy, Toki Tori for Game Boy Color, PiCTOBiTS for DSi, or Pushmo and Bomb Money for 3DS eShop. That is not to say that 7 Wonders II is a bad game; it just does not compare to the higher-tier puzzle games on the DSi or 3DS or many other systems, and, as stated, it is priced higher than many other puzzlers, which are better, due to their simpler and less frustrating premises. If the game was cheaper, say $3.99, it may be a bargain, but as it is, it’s a tough sell. Nonetheless, it may interest some gamers despite its high price and average to good nature, because of its unique take on the games it heavily borrows on, as there is usually a place in the heart of gamers for a somewhat traditional puzzler such as this.
The objective of 7 Wonders II is to build seven historical, iconic wonders or buildings of ancient times, such as Stonehenge. Players match identical blocks as previously described, and the entire board, which changes shape and dimension as players progress, is jam-packed with building parts that players must collect within a specific time-span, matching pieces and cashing them in on the parts they sat, through normal play. It’s a huge collectathon, which is intriguing in and of itself for a puzzle game, but as the game becomes increasingly difficult, it can be quite frustrating, as all of the pieces must be collected to progress. There is even a piece that must be dropped off the board by matching pieces under it enough times. So, the focus is not on getting the best possible score, ridding the board of blocks or surviving, but collecting everything on the board. Due to this type of mechanic, it can be frustrating to collect every piece on each respective board, because what players need may not be available and when it is available, it is too late because of the time limit.
Time limits are not new to puzzle games, but here it is more nerve racking than not. It could be assumed that it’s more of a thinking-man’s game because of the time limit and some of the mechanics explained above and below, but because of the reasons provided, it really is not, partially because of the large amount of luck and patience needed.
Powers will appear on the board that can wipe out everything horizontal of it (if you match four blocks), everything directly vertical and horizontal of a power (if the player matches five blocks), the ability to eliminate a multitude of a specific type of blocks on the board, and so forth, if activated by being directly moved. Intentionally matching like so will help players reach their goal. Matching only three blocks will sport the player no reward. As the game progresses, through game boards being beaten, the player is rewarded with a collection of powers, and before play, the player has the choice to pick one unique power to use each time a game is played. Powers can range from eliminating everything within an “X” region to slowing down the countdown timer to score multiplier, as the first three power-ups the game gives the player. The power-ups have cool-down or to say can only be used every once in a great while. A standard shuffle of the board pieces is also available, when it is not on cool-down. Overall, with the element of powers, the game sort of gives the gameplay an RPG element to play around with, which can be rewarding and interesting to see in a puzzler. The game as far as RPG elements even goes as far to state how many in-game years players have supposedly been playing, what age they’re in and so forth, and has a bit of background of the wonders, but other then that, it shies away from anything else RPG-like.
Graphically it passes for a puzzler and nothing more, and the sound and music is acceptable. The graphics and sound are not memorable though.
The game’s controls are executed via the touch pad only.
7 Wonders II is a fun and ambitious game, but it can be irritating due to the objective of the game: getting all the pieces before time runs out on every board. Simply put, when everything is put together and thought about, the game can certainly be perceived as ambitious, as stated, but honestly this game is not quite the ambitious players likely want. It’s not the genius of Tetris, Bomb Monkey or Pushmo, but not every game needs to be genius like-so. The asking price on the game sort of dictates that it is though. And although the price is expensive, if everything as described sounds fun, feel free to purchase the game. Just be warned that the game will likely be forgotten in gaming history soon, if it has not already been forgotten, and it may be forgotten by this reviewer within a week or so…