7 Wonders II, developed by Avanquest Software for the Nintendo DS, is yet another spin on the match 3 genre. However, to be successful in this genre, the unique spin in the game must be more than a mere gimmick, captivating players as much as Bejeweled, the King of match 3 gaming.
Unfortunately, 7 Wonders II falls short in this respect.
As the title suggests, the game revolves around the 7 Wonders of the World. In each level, you match 3 or more ‘runes’ to get points for building blocks to build part of each Wonder. As and when a Wonder is complete, you move on to the next, that’s pretty much all there is too.
This lack of depth would not necessarily be a problem if the gameplay was engrossing enough to make you want to continously play levels anyway, but it simply isn’t. The levels aren’t timed, so there is no danger of failing, and despite how many points you get, you always earn three building blocks. The second Wonder in the game, the leaning tower of Pisa is twenty-one building blocks, meaning that you must play the same levels seven times over before moving on, making the game rather mundane.
The only break for this is that the game very rarely changes the level design from a square to a slightly different shape, but this doesn’t change the game in the slightest.
Also, you are always able to see the Wonder, even while it is ‘being built’, and so there is no achievement when you complete one, aside from unlocking the next Wonder, and a few facts about them.
The game does try to introduce some new ideas by having power-ups that can be unlocked and used by either matching a certain number of ‘runes’ in one go, or by matching continuously, but these have no real impact on the game, other than destroying some runes or improving a score.
The game’s presentation isn’t very good either, with the graphics being quite low-res and dull. For a console that has such a vivid colour palette in other games, this just seems very lacklustre.
7 Wonders II does have a lower RRP than most DS games, at £19.99, but it still seems over priced, especially when compared with iDevice games, or when it could easily have been a DSiWare game.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that this is a bad game, it’s perfectly acceptable, it’s just that it does not do anything out of the ordinary, and does not do anything to make you choose this game over other Match 3 games. The premise is a good one, but the game is simply mundane, monotonous, and lacks the addiction factor that Bejeweled has for example. It doesn’t reformulate the genre, or have something to make it really unique within the genre, and that is it’s fatal flaw.