Back in December of 2015, Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99] developer Rayark released a teaser trailer for a new game called Sdorica, and although that teaser didn't really explain what sort of game it was what it did show was that Sdorica had an absolutely stunning art style and extremely fluid animations. And that's pretty much all it took to rocket the game towards the top of my most anticipated games list. Well, last week Rayark sneakily soft-launched Sdorica into several regions of App Store and equipped with my trusty New Zealand account I've finally been able to take the game for a brief spin.

To my surprise, Sdorica is a puzzle RPG that has you matching blocks in order to produce attacks from your party. Not totally unlike games like Puzzle Quest or Hero Emblems, but the matching portion isn't your typical match-3. During battle you have two rows of colored blocks in the lower part of the screen. There are 3 colors of block, one for each member of your party. You can only match in groups of 1, 2, or 4 and that will determine the strength of your attack. Obviously you typically want to go for matches of 4 whenever possible for the strongest attacks, but this can be tricky to set up and you'll also need to strategically make 1 and 2 matches in order to have the new blocks that slide in from the right when other blocks are cleared set up the bigger 4 block matches.

I'm not terribly deep into Sdorica, so I'm not sure if there's more to the matching that what I've just described, but so far I'd say it definitely does the trick as a way to facilitate battling and the real draw of the game is in its story and characters. There's quite a bit of dialogue and the characters each have very different personalities that are all endearing in their own way. There also appears to be some extensive character progression in terms of upgrading your team's skills and abilities. This is a free to play game so that progression looks tied to amassing the different in-game currencies and buying IAP if you wish to speed up that process, but it doesn't seem there's any sort of energy system that will limit your ability to play, which is nice.

There's plenty more to learn about the ins and outs of Sdorica as I continue on my quest, but so far it looks like it'll be a winner for fans of these types of games. It's also even more beautiful in person than even the very stunning trailers released so far, which you can scope out on Rayark's YouTube channel. Until we have a date for the game's global launch, definitely give Sdorica an early spin if you have an account in one of the soft-launch regions (NZ, AU, SG and possibly more) and be sure to check out the game's forum thread for some discussion.

iTunes App Store Soft-Launch Link: Sdorica -sunset-, Free (By Rayark International Limited)

Google Play Soft-Launch Link: Sdorica -sunset-, Free (By Rayark International Limited)

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  • chfuji

    This game is giving me all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings akin to Odin Sphere or other Vanillaware creations, minus the sometimes problematic character design choices. The combat feels good and I can't wait to make my characters stronger!

  • RinoaHeartily

    It's quite an easy game to pick up but difficult to master. Not your usual match 3 puzzle. The mechanics are simple. U either clear 1 box, 2 or 4. Each box represent a skill which u can read from character profile.
    The game is your typical side scrolling rpg which u can swipe left and right to move forward and backward. I have not found out what's the purpose of backward movements yet.
    From the developer of implosion so no matter what's your initial opinion of the game you should try it out

  • Big Huge Nerd

    Would have bought this game straight up if it were premium. IAP? Pass.

    • Tychaeus

      Thats pretty close minded. I prefer premium as well, but SOME ftp games are getting really good. With this mind set you are missing out on games like Valiant Force and WILL miss out on Exiles of Embermark.

    • Doby Gillis

      Blah, blah, blah, another dimwitted elitist

      • Tychaeus

        Lmao...troll much? Elitist? I don't think you understand the meaning of the word....I wasn't trying to insult ya...just because I say something like "close minded," or ignorant....granted easily mistaken for insults...does not mean I am attempting to do such. I just use words quite literally sometimes.

      • Tychaeus

        Sigh...the reply function here is kinda confusing I just realized...not very clear which reply is referring to whom...anyway.

  • sndwave

    This is an amazing game! Well done Rayark. Note that there is a gacha element, but its not hardcore Japanese-esque style gacha. Units can be obtained easily, but I do see myself playing this game with my kids. You can pay for premium currency to fast-forward to obtain / enhance your units, but that's about it. F2P done right.

  • Tonk Montana

    OMG. I've been waiting for this for ages. I will get back with impressions soon. So far everything Rayark has done has been quality, even though I was not a particular fan of the VOEZ online design. Happy happy.

  • Tychaeus

    Yeah this seems promising, looks really nice and stages don't seem to be the typical 10 second BS you might see with a game like this...ACTUAL story elements and beautiful artwork..with Rayark..of course this is what we get 🤓👍

  • Conrad

    I am loving this so far; beautiful art; great spin on the match dynamic. I like it so much I'm going to share with my wife.

  • Serotonin

    Hmmm...time to see if I remember my password for my old NZ account.

    • GUILTIE

      I had the same thought!

  • Onikage725

    This company, I swear. They always surprise! And they are amazing at whatever genre they step into. One of my top mobile devs for sure. I've bought Implosion on iOS, android, and Switch just to show them love lol.

  • Tonk Montana

    Wow.
    While this game is like many social RPG's, it just does everything right. It is amazingly beautiful, there is a great story, characters are interesting and unique, and there is plenty to do.

    From first look and the quick first few minutes this appears to be a match-3. It is not. It has a very deep and tactical system that rewards careful play and planning. The 1,2 or 4 matches activate different skills that are no more or less powerful than the others and must be used in the right circumstances. Then there is the lane dynamic of front characters blocking back and needing skills to reach others; debuffs, enhancements....it is super rewarding.

    The best part is it is not time-gated. There is no 'energy' mechanic so you can play as little or as much as you would like. This is refreshing. Great game. Great company. I can't wait to see where this one goes as I am thoroughly enjoying it.