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…
If you can pull your head up from the Pokemania that’s currently gripping our planet, you’d see that this was a particularly strong week for new iOS games, which makes the task of picking just one for our Game of the Week all the more difficult. But, much like the Highlander, there can be only one. This week, the game I found myself coming back to over and over and one which I thought was just downright clever is Hero Slide (Free) from solo developer Jean-Christophe Guyot, aka Gozock.
The easiest way to explain Hero Slide is that it’s like Threes! ($5.99) meets Dungeon Raid ($0.99). It’s a slide puzzle like Threes! in that each time you swipe a direction you slide all the pieces on the board at the same time, assuming there’s a space for them to move to. It’s like Dungeon Raid because the pieces you’re sliding and combining on the board have RPG-ish implications. You start out with a set number of hearts in your inventory, and every move you make diminishes your stock of hearts. So, obviously, a main goal is to combine hearts on the board to add to your stock.
Then there are coins to match, which go towards your inventory of coins and can be used on a healthy list of incremental permanent upgrades post-game. There are brick blocks to combine, which only really add to your score and mostly serve just to get up in your way. There are bomb blocks which will destroy all adjacent blocks when combined, clearing up a bit of board space for you (and possibly destroying something you need in the process, so be careful). Finally, there are skull blocks, which are huge jerks and should not be combined if at all possible, as they will cause a curse that has various effects depending on the situation on the board.
Every 10,000 points you score you proceed to the next “floor" of the dungeon, and a boss dragon appears that must be dealt with. You take out a dragon by combining a bomb near him, but as you’re busy doing that he’ll be busy doing jerk things like shooting fire at various blocks on the board. Usually for things you really like and/or need like heart and coin blocks. If you happen to activate a curse with a dragon on the board, that dragon will become an even bigger jerk and spout fire at your blocks twice as fast. My takeaway from all this is that dragons are just plain jerks.
It all sounds fairly mundane when writing it out like this, but let me assure you that Hero Slide combines all these previously seen elements in a way that feels completely fresh and unique. I mean, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in Threes! and Dungeon Raid clones over the years, and despite borrowing aspects from both, it feels like a completely new type of game. A completely new type of game that I’ve been playing obsessively for the past couple of days. The kicker? Gozock makes games for fun in his spare time, and as such Hero Slide is completely free and devoid of any type of ads or IAP. It’s just a free game for free game’s sake.
Beyond the mechanics explained above which are also gone over in the game’s tutorial, there are many more elements to Hero Slide that purposely remain secret so that players can discover and divine what they mean on their own. I love that sort of thing. So, be sure to check out all the awesome games released this week as there were plenty of gems, but definitely take my advice and grab the 100% free and 100% fun Hero Slide for your matching and dungeon crawling fix, and be sure to check out what folks are saying about it in the forums.