The indie mobile market is currently flooded.
The vast majority of games are either
A) Flashy major releases offering minimal gameplay for maximum profit
B) Cheap, ugly clones of those releases.
It’s sad. But it’s so satisfying to wade through a shallow sea of mobile garbage and find a gem floating on top.
Is Matter Meltdown such a gem? Read on to find out!
Matter Meltdown is an original strategic puzzler by Eternal Studios. The graphics are sharp and smart, but not terribly flashy. Eternal seems to have spent much more time developing the gameplay itself, rather than the visuals. That’s good.
This game has elements of the classic block-matching game, but has brought it into the space age. There is plenty of depth here, but the difficulty ramps up fairly, with tutorials that hold your hand for only a moment before leaving you on your own to poke, tap and discover Meltdown’s depth of elemental combos.
While the gameplay is not tied to the plot, the plot is the reason for the game’s theme. It is consistent without being distracting.
You are an alien named Carlos who, heading out to pick up some groceries, has an accident and finds himself stranded on Earth. He must travel to different areas (constellations) to gather elements to power his ship. Carlos is cute and his ship is oh-so customizable!
The goal of this game is classic with a kick: create combos of matching blocks to destroy them. The rest of the blocks collapse. When a combo is made, the screen shakes and satisfaction occurs. Sweet, sweet satisfaction.
Unlike classic block matching games, the blocks in this game represent different elements such as earth, water and fire, which can be combined for different effects. For example, water and ice elements can be combined to create a snow element. Earth and fire combine to create magma.
Beyond the mixing of new elements for the purpose of matching existing ones, the elements affect one another on the ground. For example, if the life element touches a water element, the life elements will expand. But if life touches fire, the life elements are eaten by fire.
Further, the gameplay takes place in real time, against a clock. That means that timing also affects gameplay. Fire spreads over time, as does life. Acid elements will slowly dissolve your hard work as you race to collect elements.
Is all this starting to sound cray-cray? Don’t worry. The devs had the foresight to include an in-game encyclopedia to explain all the terms and elements of this quirky release.
Another thing to note is that, while there are ads in Matter Meltdown, a single purchase in their in-game store will make them go away. As far as I can tell, success in this game is not reliant on making purchases. You can advance on your own without spending money.
The play feels familiar and new at the same time. It’s fresh and challenging. Want. More.
The graphics look a bit dated, but they have a unique style that somehow makes them feel right. This game doesn’t look like anything else I’ve seen.
Eternal Studios has decided to simply do their own thing, rather than trying to make a game that looks like other games. And the time they’ve spent on this makes it clear that they are passionate about what they do.
My biggest fear is that the muted color palette will vanish in the pile of flashy, grindy cookie-cutter games in the GooglePlay Store. Scrolling through the onslaught of eye-catching Android offerings, this little gem will be easy to miss.
That said, I really hope my review will bring some awareness to this indie title and get people pokin’ and tappin’.
Aside from a few aesthetic choices — such as the palette choices and Garfield-style font — there’s not much I can suggest about this game. It’s hard to critique the graphics style because it is so unlike anything else I’ve seen.
I wonder about your Matter Meltdown’s ability to stand out in the Play Store given it’s muted palette. But then again, it will probably stand out better in a market dominated by garish, cartoon-candy colors.
So will Matter Meltdown be successful? Will Eternal sell a million copies? That all depends on their marketing choices. I like this game and give it two Ghetto thumbs up. And for the $0.00 price tag, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try it too.
I’m of the opinion that, while this game may not be a mega hit, Matter Meltdown II is going to be huge.