Ketchapp’s Ballz (Free) is the number one free game on the App Store, and for good reason: it’s a clever take on the brick breaker. But it’s a rather spartan visual experience. What if it was cute, instead? That’s what Mighty Games has delivered with Charming Runes (Free), their take on Ballz but with cute characters from Charming Keep (Free). Charming Keep was called that because it was about Princes Charming, but also because it was the most sickeningly adorable idle game made yet. Charming Runes uses the same core concept as Ballz. That is, it’s a combination of Breakout and Puzzle Bobble, where you launch a ball from the bottom, and have it bounce around to break the bricks that descend with each turn, each block requiring a certain number of hits to be destroyed, with additional balls to be picked up to make each shot have more balls behind it.
Charming Keep seems to add not just some visual flair, with a more colorful experience and a red witch throwing hammers, but also elements such as powerups to help give you a leg up. Oh, and they can be bought, as well. There’s also a lives system, which seems like an odd addition to a game where the clear original inspiration for this game didn’t have them. You can use the lives as continues as well, but I’d still like to see an unlimited lives IAP at the very least. Also, while it’s a matter of taste, the launching mechanism being where you point upward instead of pulling downward to aim as in Ballz doesn’t feel as good. But, again, that’s an issue for your personal taste. If you haven’t checked out Ballz and/or want a more…charming take on it, Charming Runes is a well-made take on a genre sure to see many, many imitators really soon. Kudos to Mighty Games for jumping on the bandwagon with a well-produced version so quickly.