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Sep 27, 2011

Uncover the 10 Talismans

10 Talismans
Game Category: Casual - Match Three
Developer / Distributor: Rover / Nevosoft
Release Date: 7 Sep 2006
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Has the travel bug been nagging at you recently? Are you longing to head down to Asia for that relaxing holiday where you get to see magnificent temples set before idyllic scenery? Love to play match three games on your portable laptop (or iPad) while lounging on your lazy chair?

In this current time of uncertainty as we face a global financial crisis looming before us, I think it's wise for us to be prudent in our spending. So, what can we do if we still want that holiday that brings us on a holiday into the heart of the mysterious Orient?

Here's a suggestion - you can do all of the above in the comfort of your home with 10 Talismans. This game, developed by Nevosoft, is an entertaining casual match three game that comes with lush animated backgrounds for you to relax with. The game was released for both the PC and iPad. It features charming music and visually stimulating match three graphics and game play. The game starts off easy, but as you progress further on, you will see the difficulty ramping up as new elements of play are introduced to make life so much more interesting.

Look Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!
Game Play
If you are looking for a background story, then I must disappoint you. There isn't any story in 10 Talismans; no hero or heroine, no fanciful story whatsoever. Zip. In fact, you only have just one objective in the game - to collect 10 Talismans that are purported to bring you much wisdom, power, and fortune.

There are two modes to 10 Talismans - Classic and Timeless. Classic mode is a timed version of the game, while Timeless mode is solely designed for you to sit and back relax, to take all the time in the world, and to just enjoy the game and the beautiful Oriental themed scenery.

Take your pick - Classic or timeless mode
After creating your profile, you would probably want to head over to the Info button to access the Help page. I will have to disappoint you a bit here; there really isn't much help material provided - just a single page of information.

I suggest you skip it, after all you will be getting instructions while playing the game itself. New messages will pop up now and then to instruct you whenever a new gaming element is introduced. So you can actually rest assured that there is enough help information in the game.

Bare basics here
I am glad to report that 10 Talisman plays like most other Match Three games. Each square in the grid is quite large and contains animated Oriental objects like old Chinese coins, bells, vases, scrolls, jewel boxes, prayer beads, crossed swords, ying-yang symbols, and lanterns.

Game play involves you matching three or more similar objects in a horizontal row or vertical column. The game board will be covered with ochre and/or reddish brown tiles. To win a level, you must turn the entire game board light blue by making matches over these tiles. Ochre-coloured tiles require a single match while reddish brown tiles require two matches.

Turn the entire board blue

Matching four or more objects will give you an advantage in the game. For example, after matching four coins, you'll get a charged coin that is left behind. If you look carefully, you'll see arrows on this particular coin. When you next make a match with it, other objects in the direction of the arrows will start exploding and get taken off the game board (in addition to the match objects using the charged coin). It therefore pays to set up the pieces such that you can make matches of four or more as often as possible.

In addition, you'll also find in the game some features that will make life more interesting for you. For instance there's the following:
  • a hammer that can be used to remove several troublesome objects, 
  • an hour glass that gives you much needed time, and 
  • chains over objects requiring you to make a match to release them.
    Things get much harder further into the game
    Every time you complete a level, you'll get to view the beautiful scenery that lies behind the game board. It usually features a Thai, Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese style temple in some secluded out-of-the-way place. The scenery also often includes animated water in the form of a stream or waterfall. You can stay on this screen for as long as you like.

    Once you're ready to proceed, you will enter the 10 Talismans board. This board which you'll see after completing every level, shows you all the talismans you've already succeeded in retrieving. The centre of the board shows you the current talisman that you are working towards. In all, there are a total of 80 levels waiting for you to uncover.

    Uncover all 10 talismans
    I'd say that 10 Talismans is pretty strong in the 2D graphics department. I absolutely love the background graphics featuring all the lovely Oriental scenery.

    As for the game, you'll see a lot of strong red colours; too bad, there's nothing you can do about the palette choice especially if you don't like red. At least it gives you the incentive to quickly complete a level and see the lush scenery behind the game board.

    The music is catchy and some of the slower pieces actually feels soothing. There's a strong Asian Oriental theme to the music that gives the game a unique identity. The sound effects are typical of casual match three games.

    This is so Zen
    • Addictive game play especially if you don't like complex rules and overly fanciful power-ups.
    • If you lose a life too many times, the game kindly asks if you'd like to skip the level. Nice!
    • Excellent background graphics, I could watch it for hours.

    Break the chains by making a match
    • The talismans you uncover don't give you any extra powers and abilities.
    • You get no other game modes other than Classic and Timeless.
    • There are no unlockables in the form of awards and achievements.
    • There is no storyline.
    • Level 50 onwards is when things really get tough. Expect to run out of time very often; at least you'll get to see the powder keg "timer" blow up in your face.
    • You'll run into the "No more moves" state quite often, which is often quite troublesome. If you have a hammer powerup, you'll be forced to use it. Otherwise, the game board gets randomized.
    • It's a pity the background graphics cannot run as a screensaver.

    See that bell near the center, it has been imbued with power
    I wanted very much to like 10 Talismans. Unfortunately, there was no captivating story to keep me interested, only just Zen-like scenery to look at. And yet, as I want to score the a game a 6, I realize that the basic premise of the game makes it rather addictive and quite fun to play. Though later on, the fun does begin to turn into a match of frustration as the timer quickly gives out before you can complete more than three-quarters of the board.

    In the end, I settled on scoring 10 Talismans a 6.5 out of 10. A reasonably good buy, but you might just want to try the demo first before you spend your hard-earned cash on it.

    Collect the powerups by bringing them to the bottom
    Daily PC Game Review Score: 6.5 / 10
    Review Date: 27 Sep 2011


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