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LETZ: The Story of Zed HD

Score: 78%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: About Fun
Developer: About Fun
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

LETZ: The Story of Zed HD takes the idea of a match-three game and takes it to some odd extremes. Unfortunately, it suffers a bit from that and makes the game feel like the puzzle equivalent of a button-masher fighting game.

Visually, LETZ has a unique style that includes clean lines and distinct tile shapes to make identification and swapping as easy as possible. The only exception to this rule is when one of the enemies shows up and messes with the color of the tiles.

At first, the gameís audio isnít bad. It has the appropriate sounds for matching tiles or fulfilling the levelís objectives, but as you progress and LETZ throws more craziness into the mix, the sound effects also increase. It isnít long before the talking bombsí comments are immediately followed by a vampire blockís statement all the while you are swapping tiles, making words (more on that later) and doing another half-dozen activities that all have their own sound effects. In just a few levels, I found the commotion coming from my iPadís speakers too much to handle and I just turned the sound off.


Gameplay:

LETZ: The Story of Zed HD tells the story of the hero character, Zed, as he travels across his letter-filled land in order to stop an impending threat. As you progress through the levels, more of the heroís story is revealed, but the way the game handles that is interesting.

On the surface, you are playing a basic match-three game with level objectives like completing the level in a certain amount of time, earning a certain amount of points and some other objective like opening a certain number of chests or destroying a number of particularly colored tiles. Whatís different here is the fact that some tiles have letters on them, and your main goal in the mission is to actually spell a specific word.

Every time you clear a tile with a letter on it, that letter either goes towards the primary word or to a tray to one side of the gameboard. If the letters in the extra area happen to belong to a word in the gameís hefty dictionary, then they are grouped together and points are awarded to the player. There are two modes for selecting the words, one lets the game automatically select the letters, while the other requires the player to keep an eye on the extra letters area and tap out the word that he/she wants to spell.

Once the main word is spelled in a level, it is used in the story to advance Zedís adventure and then the player is given the choice to either move on to the next level or continue playing the current one in case the secondary objectives arenít all met.

LETZ: The Story of Zed HD also offers an Endless Mode. This differs from the Story Mode because you simply play as long as you want without any worry of objectives or advancing Zedís adventure.


Difficulty:

LETZ: The Story of Zed HD is as hard as you want it to be. Each level can be completed eventually, but your determination to complete the secondary challenges it presents is what can make things harder on the player. For the most part, clearing the primary word takes care of itself. After a few levels, some of the letters will start off unknown. They will get revealed if you tap on a specific game piece, so simply adopting the behavior of tapping that piece whenever it shows up will help make sure you complete the primary word as soon as possible.

That being said, there are quite a few times when Zedís enemies will pop on screen and make things more difficult. Not only will there be the addition of pieces that cannot be swapped and only removed with bombs, but there are events that can switch the colors of some pieces or even remove the colors all together. These, of course, make the actual tile-matching portion of the game more challenging, but every now and then, Zed or one of his friends will pop up and help in one way or another so this aspect tends to balance out in the long run.


Game Mechanics:

While I can see that LETZ: The Story of Zed HD is trying to add an extra level of strategy to a match-three game by making sure the player keeps in mind which letters are needed and clear those tiles as fast as possible, I never felt proficient enough in the gameís fast-paced environment to really plan out my moves like that. Instead, I just swapped tiles as fast as possible and completed the desired word whenever I happened to get all the letters together. The result is a game that feels like it is trying to do too much and is trying to force the player into doing too much.

Donít get me wrong, LETZ is a fun match-three game with an amusing story that builds up slowly, but I found I enjoyed it most when I tried to ignore the letters on the tiles or trying to spell my goal word. Itís a shame, but that is the case.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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