One can accomplish many things matching 3 things. You can find treasures, build a fashion empire, save a candy factory, and so on and so forth. In this case, matching 3 things leads to the building of the (new) 7 Wonders of the world.

Gameplay is the typical swap-3 to break walls, with a twist. Instead of these walls being “obstacles,” they’re the building stones of your chosen bonus. The workers who are responsible for picking up these stones will bring them to the left side of the screen to boost your bonus. Every level also has a “keystone” that you have to bring down from the top of the screen; once they’re down, you win the level. On the right side is a time bar, and once that runs out, you’re doomed to restart the level.

7 Wonders II builds upon the basic mechanic just described that were basically the same as the original in a couple of ways. There are the bonus puzzle levels that can be played once you collect all the map pieces, which in turn are gained by doing special matches on the game board. These are essentially mini-games the turns the match-3 board into a puzzle – drop the key piece down to the bottom is a limited number of movies – and are definitely a nice diversion. Secondly, the stones that you gain during the levels can be used to “build” the 7 Wonders by dragging them onto the construction site, which reveals a number of bonuses that can be used in the next level.

As you go through these secret levels, you will gain special power-ups that can be used during your levels. You can only set one of them at a time for the entire level, and sometimes it makes or breaks your chance of winning a level. There are a total of 12 of them, and they run the gamut from point multipliers to the symbol breakers. None of the are powerful enough to make the game too easy, but they definitely help to move things along when you’re seemingly stuck.

Speaking of stuck, 7 Wonders II has a wonderful new feature: a shuffle button. How I wished for a shuffle button in the original 7 Wonders! It would’ve saved me a lot of time staring at the screen trying to find one last thing that needs to be matched before the screen auto-shuffled.

Each chapter is accompanied by a well-written article on each of the “new” 7 Wonders. Granted, these aren’t exactly the list of new 7 Wonders we are used to, but they do come from the big list. Each of these are beautifully drawn. Speaking of beautiful, 7 Wonders II is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of graphics from its original. The effects are prettier, the music is comparable, and all the tiles and animation has had a rehaul.

7 Wonders II is not especially long for a Match-3 game. With 7 Wonders to build and a secret location to head to at the end, it will keep you playing. Unlike other Match-3s that you might wish were shorter halfway through the game, 7 Wonders II is just long enough, and the power-ups spread out enough, to keep you interested until the end. A very good diversion all around.

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