MSRP: Free, optional DLC available for purchase
Platforms: Windows, Android
I know, I just said I didn’t want to talk about too many Early Access games, but I figure since this one is a free download, it’s not like I’m advocating paying for an unfinished product. That said, the game play of Force of Elements feels like it’s complete; it’s the other elements that seem like they need a little more work.
For people familiar with Puzzle Quest, this game plays pretty similar to that one. For those of you who aren’t, I’ll go into a little more detail. You have a hero character who has four abilities. Those abilities charge up by making matches on a Bejeweled style match-3 board. There are four colors of mana gems, plus sword tiles, that do direct damage to your opponent. Your first three abilities require a single color of mana; your ultimate (fourth) ability requires all four colors.
There are two different game modes, time based and move based. In timed, you have 10 seconds to make all the moves you can. In move based, you get a set number of moves and then your opponent gets to make the same set number of moves. If you are going to play time based, make sure you get comfortable with the hotkeys for your abilities (QWER from left to right) because you lose a lot of time bringing the mouse over to click them.
As you play, you will gain a currency called shards. Shards can be used to unlock other heroes, purchase cosmetic skins, and unlock auras. The game does a poor job of explaining auras, and the in-game store is currently very awkward. I really hope this gets some attention as the beta progresses.
I highly recommend going through the tutorial – it’s decently in depth, and will help you understand the nuances of the game. Trials are the PvE content, and do contribute both to player level and hero level. I even tried out a game of moves and got summarily obliterated by my PvP competition.
I’m apprehensive about putting any money into Force of Elements at this time. However, I do plan to keep an eye on how it evolves during early access. It’s an interesting spin on online competitive PvP gaming – with FPS, MOBAs and CCGs everywhere you look, I appreciate the attempt to make a casual puzzle-based game.
The only other minor concern is that, upon opening the game, I get a message that the site’s security certificate is expired. Hopefully, this is something that will be addressed sooner rather than later.
ETA: Wicked Fun Inc., the developers of Force of Elements, were unaware of the issues with the security certificate. They fixed it in pretty much record time! https://twitter.com/WickedFun/status/733451610966265857