The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Glyph Quest

This week was kind of a strange release week in that there weren't any big name, highly-anticipated, blockbuster titles released. However, there was a respectable list of lesser-known and quirky games to dive into, and I've definitely been surprised by some of the gems that have come from that list. However, one game which was not on that list but has captured my attention the most since the moment I fired it up is Alex Trowers' Glyph Quest [Free]. It's no secret that we're huge fans of game like Dungeon Raid and Puzzle Quest, and in general if you can take an already solid game mechanic and toss in a bunch of RPG elements on top, you may just have a hit on your hands. Well, Glyph Quest does just that but with its own twist.

As you might expect, you'll partake in quests and engage in combat with enemies by making matches on a board. But, it's not simply a matching game, as there are all sorts of strategic mechanics layered on top. The board is made up of different kinds of elements, like Water, Air and Fire, and you can create all kinds of different attacks based on how and what you match up. There are also items on the board as well as standard weapons you can buy in the shop to further add variety to the formula. Seriously, though, the whole elemental matching system is deep. One big drawback to Glyph Quest however is that it isn't the best about fully explaining the ins and outs of the gameplay. Thankfully, our forums come to the rescue again and this post in particular lays out how the combo system works in detail.

Once you do become familiar with the mechanics, Glyph Quest really opens up and digs its hooks into you. Definitely take some time to read through that forum thread if you're struggling to understand something, and the developers are already working on making a more informative tutorial to add to the game. The most important thing though is that you check out Glyph Quest if you're into these sorts of games, as it's already one of my very favorites. It's free to try too, and if you like what you see then a one-time purchase of $1.99 for the "Mage License" will unlock the entire game for you. Give the free content a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  • Ramaz1234

    Downloading now :D

  • Tim

    Reminded me of Glypha, a joust clone on iOS that's just awesome.

  • Ramaz1234

    I have played alittle of the game and I'm loving it. Really fantastic match 3 game. I will probaly purchase the full game.

  • pinpoint007

    My game doesn't sync between devices...why make a universal version then?

  • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

    Just installed, played, & deleted.
    Not a horrible game, but I'll play DungeonRaid any day over this game.

    It's just another dull 'take me to the shop' game where you buy virtual stuff. Meh

    Why not make a game where I spend hours of matching irrelevant icons and eventually *PAY ME* with a real IRL coupon I can spend somewhere?
    Bc this is freakin' work!!

    Music 4
    Sound FX 2
    Graphics 2
    Gameplay 2

    (@TA, this was your 'game of the week'???? Was it a really weak week, or what?)

    • Bill Do

      What game gives you coupons for playing?

      • Ramaz1234

        None lol because it's a stupid idea.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Any game that makes you watch ads & do meaningless chores should also give you $. Work is work.

    • xx99

      You've really got to play this one until you have a bigger board and can make matches of 4. The game is a tiny bit slow to build up, but that gives you room to learn the mechanics. It really has a lot of strategic depth once you make it that far in the game, which is probably a bit less than halfway through. Eventually, the board gets much larger and you can make matches of 5. If you like match threes at all, this is easily among the best of the genre.

    • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

      I respectfully disagree my friend. I can see where you may be coming from, I've been enjoying this game since unlocking it though. I recommend giving it a second chance. It only having one IAP which unlocks the game is a plus alone but matching and combining different elements for extra damage really adds to the depth of the game play. Give it another go man!

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        @scotd:disqus - thanks for the response. I rely on your viewpoints.
        I played a bunch of DungeonRaid & had all the match3 I want.
        I do believe you (& others) that this game can be fun later on. Problem was I got bored & moved on... (Also have a cold & not much energy, so we can blame the bacteria?)

        So would you give different stats to this game besides my 4/2/2/2?

      • xx99

        The presentation might be rough but the gameplay is definitely a 4 at the very least, I'd personally give it a 5. If you like match-three-type games at all, the late game strategy is some of the best I've ever seen in the genre.

        Many have complained that the game is too easy right until the final bosses, but balancing and an Endless Mode is coming very soon in the next update.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        I hear ya on that, match 3 can only be done so many ways. If you got bored right away, I won't try and sway you. I'll admit I've been thirsty for a match 3 RPG. As for a rating out of 5 I guess I'd give it:

        Game Play: 4
        Difficulty: 3
        Graphics: 3 - I really dig the different spell animations.
        Music: 2

        All that said, its definitely not Puzzle Quest. I haven't played Dungeon Raid yet though..

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        You haven't played Dungeon Raid? @scotd:disqus - well, you owe me on that one!
        I doubt it'll go on sale anytime again, it's been fixed at the same price for awhile now -- but I'd give it the following ratings:
        Gameplay: 5
        Difficulty: 3
        Graphics: 3
        Music <-- I don't even know if it has music anymore, I muted that years ago.
        Replayabilty: 10

        And IMO that's the clincher -- I've had DR for years, have replayed it a bunch of times, and it's always a great game with new things to discover. And it's small.

        Not a lot in the 'animations' dept in that game, but it's all about the gameplay.

        Lemme know (when you get around to it) your fav IOS game. :D

        (I liked Puzzle Quest, btw. Played it quite a lot, but eventually deleted it too.)

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        Indeed, I definitely owe you that. Dungeon Raid it is then. I've had it on my wish list but I was concerned if it would work on iOS7 since upgraded my phone a few months back. I think there's a lite version though so I'll see if that works first.

        As far as my favorite iOS game... that's a super tough question! I'm terrible at that. BUT I'll give it a bit of thought. I will say though that roguelikes are high on my list. I think RL work really well on this platform. I'm not a fan of overly complicated games on iOS. What I mean by that is when a developer tries to fit too much into a touch device. An example of this is Order and Chaos by Gameloft. It's as if they developed it just to see if they could.

        In my opinion, simplicity is bliss as long as the game play is tight and executed well. A good example would be Hoplite or 868-Hack.

  • Jake7905

    Hard to argue this pick, even though match 3 games turn me into a narcoleptic. After all, what else came out this week?

  • dancj

    This looks suspiciously like a match 3 game.

  • Steven Lewis

    Folks, as the article says, the game becomes really special when you understand and can cast glyph combos. Stick with it until then, but I do believe that will only be after you have unlocked the full game. It is well worth it. This is not just another match 3 game.

    • xx99

      Exactly. There's a surprising amount of strategic depth in this little gem, but you need to progress in the game for it to really shine. Eventually, the board gets much larger and you can make matches up to 5 instead of up to 2. Stick with it at least until you can make matches of 4.

  • xx99

    Just finished the game this morning. Probably put about 4 hours into it.

    The game is a little slow to start. The board starts tiny and you can only make matches of 2. The depth doesn't really start shining until you upgrade the board size a couple times and upgrade your match length to 4 (it maxes at 5). Stick with it though — this is a really special match-three game.

    I'm a huge Puzzle Quest fan, but I think this game's combat system is both deeper and more satisfying.

  • Tonk Montana

    Loved this game. Finished it too. I want more content!! Bosses...endless...leaderboards...new areas...anything. ;)

    Thanks for the great game.

  • RichardC

    Agreed. Much more depth than your typical match 3. My favorite game from this week as well.

  • Papa Deuce

    Not bad, but far from GOTW material if you ask me.

  • DemoEvolved

    Starting out as a match 2 does a disservice to this game. All the fun is in 2x2 spells and chaining which come way later in the campaign.

    Worth the money

  • falco

    I went to lvl 4 and could not go foward in the game. I think its not worth It, I have deleted it.

    • Von Strubel

      Yeah, to get the whole content you have to make one single purchase. Sorry for those that you only play free games, as this game is very good, albeit a bit short for my taste.

      Very nice package with funny descriptions of monsters and quests, deep gameplay and beautiful art. Well worth the money, but obviously not for you.

      • falco

        Huh no, I prefer buying a game then playing it for free and have ads and IAP so no I'm not the guy you think!

      • falco

        Its because I have turned off my IAP for good.

  • Goggles789

    I noticed that while I'm in the middle of a chain, if I match items without dealing damage it doesn't break my chain. Also, using an item from your pouch does not break your chain. I also really like reversals. It took me a second to figure out how to do it, but I learned that in order to use a reversal you must have a chain going. Reversals do not work if there is no chain. The reason I put this is because reversals deal way more damage, even at lower chains. I love this game, and while I bought the only IAP, I wish it would have described what I was buying. Truly a deep game. It really makes you think, and the battles are really intense!

    • xx99

      You can also submit any glyphs that don't form a spell to clear the board and keep your chain going (e.g., Fire-Earth-Earth-Fire-Light isn't a spell, so it won't ruin your chain. It will replace those five tiles though).

  • http://twitter.com/BeRad_Ent Be-Rad

    The end of the free portion kind of turned me off from buying the full game. It has a sly way to get you to put in your apple p/w - it doesn't tell you you're clicking on a button that wants you to spend money. Nice and polished game so far, but the game felt broken because I couldn't level up past level 4 (I'm guessing the IAP mage license opens this up).

    From all the comments saying the game picks up once you get 2x2 combos I'd highly recommend making the free portion end once you've experienced that meaty part of the game.

    • xx99

      The dev has stated that the next update will make it clear what you are buying for how much before you press the button.

  • smilespray

    TouchArcade editors: It would be nice if you would openly state if you are getting paid or otherwise compensated to make these picks or not.

    I'm trying to not be cynical, but the opening paragraphs sound a little defensive.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      None of our editorial content is ever paid or sponsored in any way. The opening paragraph is boilerplate for all GotW posts and is meant to mitigate people arguing in the comments over which game we picked and how wrong our opinions are :)

      • smilespray

        Thanks for that — refreshing.

    • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

      They added the opening paragraphs when people like you started flinging baseless accusations after failing to cope with the thought that it's all subjective. In the above case, many people agree with the pick. It's not all conspiracy theories!

      • smilespray

        I guess this guy has become a little jaded after being exposed to so much payola crap on other web sites... :-)

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        I visit two iOS websites. TA and Pocket Tactics. I've visited 148apps and found their reviews way too forgiving. I can't speak about other websites.

        If you want no nonsense reviews, go to PT. It's usually my first choice for reviews and news on tactical and RPG games.

  • shadax

    This is a fantastic game. I really really really wish it had game center support for leaderboards, challenge sending, and achievements.

    Can anyone explain to me the element combinations? These usually seem much weaker, or do no damage at all. Is it better to just choose two elements instead of combining them with two others in the case there is nothing else better on the board?

    Music is awesome too, though I wish there was a little bit more.

    Regardless, totally awesome innovated game in the stale match 3 genre. Immediately purchased the Mage license to support the dev, though I don't quite know what it does. I have a bad habit of not reading finer details :x

    • xx99

      You have to upgrade your spell book to get new spell formats, but they are as follows:
      AA
      AAA
      AAAA
      ABAB (non-opposite elements)
      AAAAA.

      5-of-a-kind spells dish out huge damage, but ABAB spells (combos) have secondary effects like stunning your opponent or healing you.

      The best way to dish out huge damage is building a huge chain. For example, play a bunch of Fire spells. Say you get up to a +5 chain but there are no more Fire spells on the board. You can cast a Water spell as a Reversal since it is the opposite element. A Reversal will keep your chain (+5 in this case) but will not increase it. You are now chaining with Water, and new Water spells will raise your chain. Say you get it up to +9. You can now cast a Fire spell as a Reversal to keep your chain going. Hopefully all those Water spells you cast put some more Fire tiles on the board.

      Oh, and the Mage License lets you go past level 5.

    • xx99

      Forgot to mention, Endless Mode with GC leaderboards is coming soon via update.

  • ejfarraro

    I want to like this; it sounds like I might just need to get over that initial hump.

    I don't feel the game adequately explains the spells/element combinations. It's also odd that there's no way to access my spellbook during battle (I assume there are complex spell combos later?) or way to exit a battle that is an obvious loss.

  • gmattergames

    Don't normally disagree with TA's GotW, and I can't point to a release last week that I feel was overlooked, however, overall, I was underwhelmed by the game. Then again, it was free, but based on the 30 min or so I did play, I felt no compulsion to purchase. Based on the general enthusiasm for the game, it appears I missed something others have found so endearing.

  • Nycteris

    Purchased on the strength of this review & dying badly in the end game, Arrgh!