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Nov 9, 2011

Save the Inca Empire

The Lost Inca Prophecy
Game Category: Casual - Match Three, Hidden Object
Developer / Distributor: Seppia Interactive
Release Date: 4 Aug 2009
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Here's an interesting and fun little match three game that had me playing for hours and hours. Boasting 192 levels and 6 styles of game play, The Lost Inca Prophecy from Seppia Interactive is a great game to play for match three enthusiasts. There's also a little hidden object fun found within.

The story has you taking on the role of Acua, a librarian who has a passion for books and knowledge. One night while perusing a book that has a strange serpent symbol on its cover, she discovers that she can suddenly read the foreign language within. It must be magic!

The book weaves a tale of a place she has been before in her dreams and speaks to her of an ancient prophecy. Shortly thereafter, Acua can't help but fall asleep and start dreaming of the prophecy. She dreams of a mysterious land to the west of Spain known as the New World. And when she awakes, a map mysteriously appears scribbled on the book, beckoning her to her destiny.

Intrigued by this portentous revelation, she sets off with her friend Juan, a conquistador and dashing adventurer. Together they sail on the ship Santa Maria, heading to the New World... to help fulfil The Lost Inca Prophecy.

Nice story, ain't it? Find out more about the game play within.

Join Acua and Juan in an incredible Match Three journey

Game Play
The Lost Inca Prophecy starts off in the New World in some ruined temple. You will in fact be visiting four ruined temples which divides the game into 24 levels of match three fun. There are also 4 additional hidden object levels in each temple; in fact the first task in your game is to find four hidden objects that are broken up into five tiny parts each and scattered throughout the screen.

Finding these object parts can be quite tricky as they have been merged into the background very expertly. Luckily, you get a hint button that recharges in like only 15 seconds - it's one of the faster recharge rates I've seen around. Seems like the hidden object mode is not the centre of attraction here.

Can you find the 5 parts from each object?
The very first object you find is a mask. This is no ordinary mask though, it's a living mask that will talk to both Acua and Juan telepathically. He calls himself Apu Illapu - the god of rain and thunder. This cute and brave little animated mask will accompany you throughout the entire game. You will warm up to him thanks to his constant chattering with Acua and Juan.

Once you finish finding all other objects, you are required to use them somewhere in the scene. After finding these locations (they can be quite obvious), you will head into a long stretch of 24 match three levels. The hidden object mini-game will return in the middle as well as at the end of the  match three portion of the game - twice in the middle (just before level 13), and once at the end (after level 24).

Choose the game play style you prefer
Before playing your match three levels, you can actually choose the game style you wish to play. Once you are satisfied with your choice, you can stick with it throughout the entire game. Here's a quick write up of what's available:
  • Game Geometry: You have the choice of hexagon mode, square mode, or mixed mode. Selecting only Hexagon mode will bring you through 96 levels of hexagon-style match three levels, while square mode will bring you through 96 levels of traditional (square grid) match three levels. Mixed mode lets the game decide for you.
  • Game Mechanic: There are three choices here - group, chain, and swap. Swap is the traditional match three style of game where you swap two pieces to make a match of three or more pieces. Chain has you drawing a chain to link identical pieces; you'll need at least three to make a match. Group has you clicking on groups of three or more identical pieces to make a match.
Apu's going to teach you how to play

Like any other match three game, The Lost Inca Prophecy requires that you break all coloured tiles by making matches of tekens on top of them. Once all coloured tiles are broken, a part of an object appears and must be brought to the bottom of the level by matching tokens out of the way. These parts will become objects that will be used in the hidden object scene halfway and at the end of your adventure through a temple.

As you advance in level, you will see green tiles (requiring 1 match), gray tiles (requiring 2 matches), and yellow tiles (requiring 3 matches). As long as you make a match over these coloured tiles, a segment of the feathered serpent icon (found at the bottom left of the screen shot) will light up. If all six segments light up consecutively, a random number of tokens will be destroyed as a bonus. The icon then resets itself.

The hammer power-up has been activated
As you keep on making matches, you will also start to activate the four power-ups found next to the serpent icon. The power-ups are:
  • Hammer - this power-up allows you to destroy a single token.
  • Bomb - this highly useful tool allows you to take out a couple of token (denoted by a circular ring).
  • Lightning - this will randomly destroy a number of tokens; it functions just like a fully charged serpent icon, although it does do a better job of it.
  • Shuffle - this will activate the shuffling of tokens on the entire board. Use this when you get stuck and can't anything else to match.
You can also get yourself a powerup totem if you make a huge match of many tokens; click on these totems (there are two types) at any time to cause them to blow up like a bomb or to spew out lightning.

A power-up totem appears on the board
There are other special tokens that you will find in the game. Here is a list of them:
  • Tokens tied up with rope - these need a certain number of matches (depending on the graphics used for the rope) before the token is removed.
  • Box token - boxes cannot be matched with any other token, you must make a match adjacent to them to remove it.
  • Iced over tokens - you must make a match with an iced-over token to unlock it, otherwise it will stay fixed in place and will serve as an obstacle of sorts.
  • Boulder tokens - boulders require a hammer, totem or bomb power-up to remove.
  • Rainbow tokens - these appear only in chain mode and act as a wildcard allowing you to make long matches.
The second temple is trickier
The 2D storyboards in The Lost Inca Prophecy is illustrated very lavishly; you can see the production quality is very good. The temple artwork as well as the match three boards are also nice works of art. Each match three board (hexagon or square mode) has been designed with loving care as can be seen from the board layouts as well as the way they have been pre-arranged in order of difficulty. You will also love the dazzling effects that take place whenever an explosion occurs or when lightning starts streaking all over the board.

The music in The Lost Inca Prophecy is very good. It reminds me of a great swashbuckling adventure style movie and goes absolutely well with the theme of the game. The only gripe I have is that the music is quite short. The sound effects are very good with lots of explosion and exciting token matching sounds to make it a good playing experience. There are no voice overs in the game.

This board reminds me of Pacman gobbling a power pill
  • The Lost Inca Prophecy provides for some interesting game play variety. Once you have decided on  a game play mode, you can stick to that option throughout the entire game.
  • The hidden object mini-games are quite fun to play.
  • There's lots of interesting things to read in this game because of the dialogue between the three characters - Acua, Juan, and the mask.
  • If you are a match three and hidden object enthusiasts, then you will love this game quite a lot. It's quite addictive too.
  • The game is quite simple in swap mode and is suitable even for kids to grasp.
Travel to strange places
  • There are long stretches of repetitive match three levels to play (12 levels).
  • The location of hidden objects are not randomized; this diminishes the replay value of this part of the game.
  • After completing half the game, you are invited to replay the other half of the game. If you played in hexagon mode, you can switch over to square mode and vice versa - all well and good. However, if you played the game in mixed mode, the game does not automatically select the levels that you missed.
  • You can't backtrack in your travel journal to read earlier entries.
  • There are no achievements to unlock.
  • Personally, I feel the game is a bit harder in chain and group mode. But, I may be wrong.
Interesting entries in the travel journal
The Lost Inca Prophecy is your typical match three game offering you the choice to play in whichever game play mode pleases you. The artwork production is very good and everything looks pleasing to the eye. This is a good game to spend a lazy afternoon; way better than spending it in the sweltering heat (or the freezing cold - depending on where you live).

Although The Lost Inca Prophecy brings nothing new to the genre, at its core is some addictive match three gaming, and the hidden object mini-game is more than welcome.

Inside the final temple
Daily PC Game Review Score: 7 / 10
Review Date: 9 Nov 2011


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