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Chain Factor is a new kind of puzzle game where you drop numbered/gray discs onto a game board, where it sticks, disappears, explodes, causes chain reactions, and all kinds of other exciting things. The game rules are like none I’ve seen before, and there’s three different modes plus a leaderboard already, even though it’s technically pre-BETA.

Chain Factor is looking for play testers to prepare for a BETA launch – give it ago. Math can be strangely addictive.

Play The Chain Factor.

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Magic Shop is very much a clone of Glyph; from the shapes of the pieces to the power-ups, as well as the fact that only certain pieces are effective while some are not, the core of the game is very much a Glyph-clone. But Magic Shop does this so well, and with so much additional depth that it goes beyond a straight copy. It is, in many ways, what Glyph should have been.

The excuse to match 3 things in this case is to combine magical elements into magical items. Each item has a specific recipe that requires a certain number of each color, and when you combine enough of them, an item is created. The entire game spans out over 25 days, and each day you will be asked to serve between 2 to 8 customers. Customers will only wait so long for their items, and thankfully their patience can be lengthened by the use of potions, which you can buy with rubies that sometimes appear on top of the elements.

On top of that, you have two kinds of power-ups. There are on-board power-ups, which activates as soon as you click on them, that can change surrounded elements to the same color as the one you just clicked on, destroys all elements of the same color, destroys surrounding  elements, etc. Then there are the major power-ups that you can “power-up” with combining more elements. Again, if you’ve played Glyph before, this sounds very much familiar.

There are the familiar obstacles of blocks and stones as well, and they pretty much act the same way. Stones obscure the path of falling elements, so if you don’t get rid of them quickly by destroying elements next to them, you could end up with a very sparse board. There are no diseased stones – thank the heavens – and the gameplay is further smoothed along by one simple mechanic that Glyph didn’t include: the mo-more-moves. One you can’t make anymore moves, the board shuffles itsel.

It gets even more interesting when you throw in the additional element of the shop screen. In between days, you can buy more items that gives you more points, or potions to extend your customers’ patience. Granted, since you have a goal to meet at the end of each stage, this is an illusion of choice – you’ll have to eventually buy everything anyway, but it’s a nice way to spend rubies you find each day.

Every few stages will bring you to a memory mini-game, where you can match flashcards for points. If you find enough points, you can invite a famous magician to your shop, and while they’re shopping, they’ll also grant you bonuses. Some will break your stones for you, while others will gives you rubies if you serve them quickly. This is a nice touch, and really rounds out the game well.

You can play Magic Shop with a custom cursor to get the overall look, and it’s stunning. Sparkling effects follow your every move, and the character portraits as well as other in-game elements are beautifully drawn. The only complaint is that all the on-board power-ups are quite similar – white outline with a sparkling edge? White outline with a deckled edge? I can’t tell them apart. The music is lovely, as are the magical sound effects.

Magic Shop is a must have for any collapse fan, and even for those who are just used to playing match-3’s. It saves mid-game, loads quickly, and is a definite quick diversion. Some days are extremely hard, however, so feel free to search for a cheat, which is also on this site. When you finish the 25 days (which takes much longer than you’d think) you don’t have to start over. When you click on “continue,” you’ll go back to the first day and lose all your shop progress (you’ll be back to the first 3 artifacts and no potions) but you’ll keep your score and the number of master magicians you have invited to your shop. Customers will also get a little bit more impatient than you remember them. In other words, you can keep playing – and it’s still fun.

When I first took a look at Secrets of Olympus, my thoughts were: not ANOTHER match-3! Not another one that’s based on Greek/Roman mythology with a dash of Zeus thrown in! Once I started, however, I realized that this game is much more than the theme. Secrets of Olympus is 4 games in one – Collapse, match-3, hangman, and good old shape match.

At the beginning you’d be faced with the normal mode, which everyone should be familiar with, and the relax mode, which has no timer. Then when a level start you’d be faced with more choices: “Switch” or “Click” which means “switching tiles” or “clicking tiles” – match-3 or collapse. These maps are not identical in each level; they’re designed to play well as either match-3 or collapse. Whichever mode you choose also has different power-ups. Either one you play, the objective is to clear all the stone tiles on the board.

The usual “chain” tiles that you have seen since Big Kahuna Reef still applies. Double chains require double effort, and sometimes you will see tiles that has a key in it. Unlocking 3 of these will land you a new power-up to use. Instead of the “match this object to gain a specific power-up,” Secrets of Olympus has opted for “match anything.” Doing successive stone breaking will also net you stars, and five stars will gain you access to a bonus level of shape match. Question marks will also be present in some levels, and when you break a tile next to those, you can play a game of hangman for bonus points.

What will strike you about Secrets of Olympus is how well everything runs. There is zero load time at the beginning of the game, and everything runs smooth as butter. From the falling of the tiles, to the punch of a power-up, the sound of a letter being chosen wrong in a game of Hangman, there’s never a feel that this game was rushed to production. The mini-games do a lot to alleviate the increasingly boring – mind you, brainlessly addictive – nature of match-3’s. These are also well-done and almost feel like games of their own, which is saying quite a lot for a mini-game in a match-3 of all things.

Definitely worth a download, and most likely, you’d be buying it. This is a game for keeps.