April 7th, 2012 | By Nate Hubler
Match Panic is one of the most beautiful 8-bit games I’ve ever seen. The entire game hinges on the player’s ability to tap left or right, reflexes, and memorization skills. Also, the player must also have an unquenchable thirst to unlock all 12 of the so-called unlock-ables. While the journey to unlocking all the different creatures is long, it also leads to the games biggest problem.
The game begins with two “characters” unlocked in all of their 8-bit glory. Once a game is begun, on the right, there is one character and another one on the left. In the middle, there is a huge line of the characters in a random order waiting to be sorted.
The levels are timed, but there are power-ups that make beating the clock a bit easier. These consist of things such as adding on time to the clock, making a large amount of the characters all one type or even a little explosion which gets rid of a nice chunk of the characters. As the levels increase, more and more characters end up on each side and it really starts to test the player’s memory. I mean, when there are six characters in the game, three on each side not only does it test your reflexes it tests your memory too.
There are only a few reasons to play this game on a regular basis: GameCenter support with leaderboards, but the versatility of those only comes down to how many friends the player has that owns the game. The main reason to keep playing this game is to unlock all the characters. There is an unlock screen and only the faint outlines are able to be seen until the actual character has been unlocked. The first couple characters can be unlocked either via reaching a certain level or making a amount of matches. Eventually reaching a certain level to unlock a new sprite is ditched and making a certain number matches is the only way to unlock them. The last character I unlocked took over 5,000 matches I believe. That said they are all achievable goals and seeing a new sprite appear after putting forth some hard work to unlock it is immensely satisfying. Unfortunately this also leads to the games biggest problem.
The only thing that kept me coming back to the game was the knowledge that a little more time and a new character would be unlocked. Once I had all 12 of the characters, I felt as though there was nothing left for me to do in the game. With no real story mode or some sort of multiplayer, I felt no need to keep returning upon completion. That being said the ride to unlocking everything the game has to offer was certainly some the best time I have spent on my iPod and the amazing look of the game will keep it on there, if only to show my friends.