Azkend 2: The World Beneath is developed and published by 10Tons Ltd. ‘While travelling from Liverpool to New York, your ship was pulled down into a massive maelstrom. You woke up in a place that may never have been gazed upon by the eyes of men. From now on, your goal is to ascend from the center of the Earth and find your way back to civilization.’
Azkend 2 is a match 3 style game, which as you would expect from 10Tons, has a little more to it than a standard match 3 game. First off you have adventure mode, which features a narrative driven story leading into the gameplay in which there’s a honeycomb board each laid out differently, and progressively get harder the further in to the game you get. the aim of each is to get parts for items needed to progress the story, from the top of the board to the bottom. sounds easy enough, but each level is either timed or has an objective to complete such as destroying bugs that are continuously on the move or putting out flames before they engulf the board, to name a couple.
As mentioned, the levels get progressively difficult and elements are introduced to the game such as having to turn all the tiles blue before the item needed for the story is placed on the board, some tiles need to be turned twice before turning blue. This definitely gives the game a little more strategy as you’ll have to plan the moves in advance so not to get stuck with a tile at the bottom of the board that you’re unable to turn with only seconds left on the clock. all of these factors are introduced at the right time, just as you are getting used to one addition to the game another is given to you. Keeping the gameplay fresh throughout the adventure mode.
In addition to all that, you have the aid of some tesla coils at the top of the screen. Now these are activated by making a match that is deemed to be a positive move towards completing the level. once all five are activated they’ll ‘fire’ electric across the board turning some tiles for you, thus giving you a helping a little helping hand. You can also activate the electric by matching six or more tiles. The game also features power ups, again these are introduced as you progress through the story and come in two types, Passive and Active.
Active power ups are in fact the items you collect whilst playing the story, they show up on the board and have to be matched just like all the other tiles to activate them, some of which are; Binoculars ‘Finds isolated pieces from the board and removes them’, Dynamite ‘Explodes when matched, destroying nearby items’ and Camera ‘Charges tesla coils when matched’ to name a few. The passive power ups are always active and include more time on the clock, 15% more active power ups spawn, and hints provided more frequently. Again to name a few.
Once a chapter is complete (usually 3-4 boards), there’s a hidden object style mini game to complete. Although I did get a bit confused as to what it was all about to start with I soon got the hang of what I was supposed to be doing. It consists of finding a small screen shot of the scene, that is presented in the top right of the screen, and clicking on where that is in the main scene image. This is a timed mode with the objective being to find as many of the six images before time runs out. this then translates into how many of the tesla coils are lit up at the start of each level in the next chapter.
Azkend 2 also features two other game modes, Time and Medals. In time mode you have to score as many points as possible within the set time limit, you are given bonuses for stringing together 6 or more tiles, just like in the adventure mode, except in time mode cogs appear on the board randomly, these have to be matched to increase your score multiplier, which is critical in getting a decent high score on the leaderboard. Medals mode unlocks as you progress through the adventure mode and you have to complete each level in half the time you did in adventure to earn the medal. Both these modes are nothing spectacular but give the game something to come back and play once you beat the main game.
Visually the game is nice and bright with each chapter backdropped with a nice oil painting styled moving scene, the voice over is a nice touch and beats reading loads of on screen text, something I’m not too keen on in story related scenes. And as for the music I think it fits the game perfectly, it’s a real adventure soundtrack. which made me quite reminiscent of the music in the film The Goonies.