In this hectic world we live in, many times work and appointments must come before the fun and joys in our lives, including that of getting to play videogames whenever we want. Gone are the days when we could fire up a game of our choice and spend hours toiling away â€“ now we seem to game in stolen moments here and there. With that in mind, perhaps it is no wonder that casual games have become such a popular gaming choice (especially with women who make up the vast majority of casual game players), as casual games allow us to either jump in and get those quick fixes of gaming bliss or either play them for as long as we want when we do have the time. In honor of the casual game, we’ll be bringing you a new Casual Game of the Week every Monday to help you find that fix you might be needing in your life. This week’s game: TriJinx.
Shapes make for a good puzzle game â€“ for whatever reason it is a relatively simple fact of life. Tetris? Shapes. Hexagon? Definitely shapes. TriJinx? Yes, even more shapes though this time it is triangles. However, beyond having shapes in a game, you need substance as well, or else all those shapes are going to be put to waste. Thankfully, TriJinx has the gameplay to back everything up and even throws in a unique twist I havenâ€™t seen in a puzzle game before.
TriJinx is all about taking falling triangles and clicking on them when they form groups of three or more. Simple? Yep, course thatâ€™s how all casual games get you. They make you feel superior, the master of the casual game domain, then they ratchet up the difficulty, throw in some new moves, and then BANG you are sucked in and canâ€™t stop. The board is setup like a giant triangle, and instead of pieces falling straight down and settling perfectly straight, instead pieces will tumble down the sides of the boards and the sides of the pieces themselves until they settle into place, smack dab between other pieces; now sometimes that piece will fall next to others of the same color, other times it wonâ€™t, meaning you just lost a chance for a good connection. Typically, youâ€™d have to make pieces fall into matches by matching other colors below it, for example, which would hopefully trigger a chain reaction and make some pieces land into a combo possibility. Though falling combos like that are still possible and the norm, TriJinx features something that makes it unique â€“ boards you can rotate.
At the bottom of each board are two arrows, one that will turn the board clockwise and the other that will turn the board counterclockwise. So now if pieces falling from the sky donâ€™t land where you need them, you can hopefully change the game in your favor by turning the board over, hoping that by letting the physics of the once resting triangles fall into new places, theyâ€™ll land into positions more favorable to you getting the matches you need. Itâ€™s a very interesting gameplay mechanic, that completely spins the matching dynamic of the game into whole new areas.
Stages come in all sizes with various obstacles to get in your way. Sometimes youâ€™ll get a board with large pieces, others youâ€™ll get a board with normal sized pieces, and other times youâ€™ll get a board with smaller pieces. The object of each level is that above the board youâ€™ll see colored urns that match those (or some of those) that are playable on your board. You must then match up the colors (such as red matches for the red urn) and then once it is filled youâ€™ll move to the next urn. Unlike many games where collecting colors is left up to you in whatever order you want to do them, here you must complete the urns in the order they appear, so if you see a blue urn but youâ€™re still on a red, donâ€™t go thinking the blue matches will go to your blue total; instead it will only get pieces out of your way so you can hopefully get around to making the red matches. Levels are lost by either not filling up all the urns before the timer runs out, or by having pieces stack up beyond your level (here youâ€™ll get nice warning beeps to tell you that you need to hurry or flip the board so you donâ€™t end up losing that way).
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To help you out along the way, youâ€™ll have such powerup helpers as bombs that will explode pieces near it and things like scarabs, which you create in a manner of speaking by matching up color after color. If youâ€™ve created a blue scarab, by activating it all the blue triangles on the board will disappear â€“ the good news is that if you are working on building up your blue urn, each one that scarab eliminates goes into that urn color total.
TriJinx is also stacked with game modes, which is a huge plus, though many times â€“ especially in regards to puzzle games â€“ there will maybe be only one youâ€™ll really like playing. In TriJinx, the first mode up is the Adventure mode, which is the story mode of the game. The story of TriJinx is an installment in the Kristine Kross series, who is a puzzle investigator. Kristine has just got a message from her father, who went to investigate a tomb. By matching up pieces and completing levels, you hope to get to the mystery of the tomb and find your father. The scattering of cartoon cutscenes are rather nice, though far from beautiful works of art like that in a comic. I was very surprised by the voice work, however, which amazed me with how well it was; specifically, the voice of Kristine Kross. There isnâ€™t too much story, but what there is was nice.
The next mode up is the Arcade mode, which plays like the Adventure mode, though with a few added changes. For one thing, the countdown timer moves a lot quicker, and you have to react even quicker. Another change is that unlike the three way triangle pieces of the Adventure mode, which you can attach to any color you want to make a match, instead here youâ€™ve got blinking eyes, which randomly change colors on a whim. The Arcade mode comes in Easy, Medium, and Hard flavors.
The final mode is the Puzzle mode, which offers up two different gaming scenarios all by itself. Youâ€™ve got the Shape match mode, that has you searching the board, trying to find the one single possible match that they give you at the top of the screen. In order to beat the level and keep moving on, you must match all the required shape matches before time runs out. The second puzzle mode has you analyzing the board, trying to eliminate every single piece on the board. Should you remove every single piece, good for you, but chances are if you didnâ€™t plan ahead, youâ€™ll at least leave one piece behind. If you leave just even one piece, your totem will lose a piece, meaning you are even closer to losing out in the game and having to stop.
Iâ€™ve already said I enjoyed the voice work aspect of the game and touched on a little the cartoon cutscenes, but letâ€™s round out the rest of the package. The boards are nothing more than shapes and the pieces are nothing more than colors, but they look solid and nice. The backgrounds are nicer though, typically featuring slowly revealing Egyptian deities as you move through the levels. The music â€“ Egyptian sounding of course â€“ is pleasant and manages to both lull you into a sense of calm while still making you feel antsy and worried that you might find yourself cornered any minute and find your game over. The sound of the falling and tumbling pieces, as well as the powerups being activated, were nice as well.
Overall, TriJinx is a pleasantly well rounded package, featuring simple gameplay mechanics that are made more interesting by twists such as the ability to turn boards over, and plenty of game modes that should have you left mouse clicking the days away (and/or left and right arrow keys to turn boards if you will). Though not the most addicting puzzle game Iâ€™ve ever played, I really enjoyed the new mechanics, and would definitely recommend you check it out and have it a go.