Curtis says: I usually don’t like match-3s – they don’t move enough to interest me. But this one has so many different symbols and the whole screen moves with lots of action. The graphics are also very bright and mommy call out the symbols to me and points to them. I can watch this one for 20 minutes at a time.

Match-3’s are a dime a dozen: maybe they don’t cost a dime a dozen, but there are certainly lots and lots of them around, each with their own generic power-ups with cosmetic changes, and seemingly endless amount of levels. Clayside is a good example of a well-done match 3, but it really didn’t do too much to change the genre.

Clayside is what I’d call a “drag-3.” Instead of clicking on two adjacent symbols to swap them to make matches, a drag-3 lets you drag entire rows tr columns in order to make matches. This allows for much greater flexibility in setting up combos – you could set up a whole row of them going off at once! It isn’t new, per say, but I’m surprised there aren’t more drag-3 games in the match-3 genre. The only other game I’ve played before that was a drag-3 was Barnyard Invasion (which is a worthwhile play as well; fun and humorous.)

There isn’t really a pretense of a story at all. As you go through the stages, you get to choose between two different power-ups you can level up, and you get zoomed around different parts of the map for different stages, then after some stages you get to see your house being built. The tagline “build your own house” isn’t really accurate; you’re just watching improvements being done to this plot of land without any of your intervention whatsoever. There really isn’t anything new here on the rewards side.

The graphics in Clayside is based on “clay” art. So everything looks like it’s made of clay. Really perfect looking clay, so to speak. Each “area” also has different looking symbols to match so you won’t be staring at the same thing the entire game. The sound is a bit different than the chimes you hear in the other match-3 games – when the pieces explode, you hear more of a “plop” than a “ching.” It’s pretty satisfying, and Curtis doesn’t find it annoying, which is nice.

Clayside has some great obstacles and power-ups. I especially like the key and lock; when you match something over a key, all the locked pieces of the same kind opens up, which makes for some awesome looking combos. The whole screen starts exploding away and it’s just immensely satisfying. The rockets, bombs, lighning, firebombs – all sorts of destructive power-ups we have here combined with the drag-3 mechanism makes a fast-moving and fun game. It only takes a minute to play, very short load time, and saves mid-level.